A Closer Look at Cigars, by Michael W. Asimos
To the uninitiated, finding the right cigar can be intimidating. Understanding the regional differences between cigars can help you find the perfect one to suit your tastes. No two are alike, and can differ in wrappers, fillers, and even in the way it was rolled. While Cuban cigars are certainly the most famous, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you ignored the countless offerings of countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, and even the United States.
Strong, well-defined flavors are the hallmark of a Honduran cigar, but they may not be great for a first cigar. Cigarette smokers, however, may find the full-bodied tastes and earthy tones to be like a familiar friend. Cigars from this region may range in price from 4 dollars to 26 dollars, making it affordable to the beginner smoker.
The extremely fertile soil of Nicaragua has allowed it to produce some of the finest tobacco in the world, as well as some interesting flavors. Many experienced cigar smokers have compared the taste of Nicaraguan tobacco to its Cuban cousin, and with the current embargo on Cuba still in effect for the United States, American smokers can get almost the same experience without having to delve into the black market. Amateur cigar enthusiasts will benefit from their low price points.
While Brazilian made cigars are a rare sight in many US shops, their tobacco is another story. When used as wrappers they give the cigar a sweeter taste and darker color, and when used as filler it gives off a great aroma. Many cigars using blended tobacco leave have some Brazilian tobacco mixed in, but finding one straight from the source can be more difficult, and their prices reflect that.
Cigarettes tend to be the number one choice for smokers in the Philippines, but there is still a strong cigar market. Their tobaccos tend to be smooth and full flavored, with a spicy aftertaste from the wrapper. Filipino tobacco burns very consistently, leaving a white ash that will stay in the shape of the cigar. Prices are relatively low, especially when bought by the box.
When people picture cigars they tend to think of Cuba. However, look a bit closer to home and you will find a wide variety of aromas and tastes made right here in the US. Some of the best tobacco in the world is grown in places like Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, and Louisiana. Of course, cigars made here are most often not handmade, such as Swisher Sweets, but there is still a growing community of hand-rollers in Miami, Florida.
Finding the right cigar for the beginning smoker is an overwhelming process, but do not let it discourage you. Simply keep in mind what sorts of flavors and aromas you want to get from a cigar and compare those to the huge variety of tobaccos from around the globe. You do not need to resort to the black market to get what is considered a great cigar. Many fine cigars can be bought from the comfort of your own home. Check out Cigars International, here.
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