Here are the tips from Mountchuck - the winner of our tips contest. You will most probably agree that he deserved the prize as the quality of the following tips is very high. As there are too many tips to put them in a single post, we've broken them down in 2 parts. Here is the first part and the second will be published next Thursday.
Tip #1: Aging the cigars. Some cigars smoke better with age, even the much adored Fuente Opus X. Since you can only acquire them in small batches, but want to mark them with the time you put them in the humidor, do what I do. Take the ribbon that comes in a lot of cigar boxes, write the date on it, and wrap the ribbon around your small batch of cigars and put them to rest for a while. No problem remembering when you bought them!
Tip #2: B&M vs Web. If you are a new smoker, avoid the temptation of mega-deals on the web, and visit your local cigar store, and put yourself in the hands of the tobacconist there. They are an invaluable resource, and can put you well on your way to enjoying cigars to the fullest.
Tip #3: Keeping track of your cigars. If you find yourself having a hard time remembering the cigars you really like, save the cigar bands of the ones you really like, and keep them in your wallet. If they are large enough, you can write on the back of them, which comes in handy if you like, say, the maduro version of the cigar more than the natural and the band doesn’t distinguish between the two. Next time you visit your tobacconist, pull it out and you’ll have an instant reminder. And if they don’t have it, they will be able to pick out something similar or maybe even something you’ll like more.
Tip #4: Ring gauge / Power. Most inexperienced smokers confuse thickness of the cigar with power and strength and harshness. However, the thicker ring gauge can help you get a smoother, easier smoke. Smaller ring gauge cigars concentrate the heat, and produce more carbon which leads to harshness and the feeling that your tongue is coated in fiberglass the next morning. The larger ring gauge smoke spread out the heat, and don’t burn so hot. Don’t be afraid to reach for that robusto instead of your usual corona.
Tip #5: Ash. The ash of the cigar can tell you as much about it as the appearance before it is lit. Is the ash a nice white? Better nutrients in the soil. Does the ash stay tight, with small thin lines rather than large, flaky pieces? Then the roller did a good job, and rolled the cigar nice and tight. Does your ash “cone” at the end? You might be smoking too fast. Is it concave at the end? The cigar might have been underfilled.
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