The Gift of Cigars

As the holidays sneak up on us once again, you may find yourself searching for last-minute gifts that don’t seem like last-minute gifts. If there’s a man on your list who enjoys an occasional cigar, you’ll be pleased with the options you have, both in price range and selection. Good cigars can range from $5 to $25, making them an ideal gift for either a professional colleague or personal acquaintance. This article will raise your cigar IQ while also helping you find a memorable gift for that discriminating man.

Size Matters
Cigars come in many shapes and sizes and are commonly classified by their length and their diameter. When looking to find the right size of cigar, you must know that, in general, the larger the cigar, the longer the smoke. The most common sizes are Corona, Robusto, Toro and Churchhill.

When gifting cigars, bigger does not always mean better. When gifting to an occasional smoker, a Churchill, which is usually around 7 inches in length, may not be the right choice.

Coat Of Many Colors
Once you find the size of cigar you want, you must now consider the flavor. The wrapper is responsible for at least 60 percent of the cigar’s flavor but you should remember that just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a cigar by its wrapper. Generally, lighter wrappers will have a more mild and sweeter taste. The most common cigar colors from lightest to darkest are Double Claro, Claro, Natural, Colorado, Colorado Maduro, Maduro and Oscuro.

Also keep in mind that just because the wrapper is light does not mean the cigar will also be light — this is a common misconception. The filler of a cigar is much more rich in flavor and taste, often causing cigars with light wrappers to sometimes have an overall bold taste in the end.

When in doubt, it’s probably best to stay in the mild and medium range, especially for a novice smoker. It’s always best to seek the recommendations of other cigar smokers or the tobacconist in a respected cigar store. Cigars purchased in gas stations and grocery stores are rarely of a quality worth smoking.

A Cigar For Every Occasion
When selecting the right cigar, it’s a good idea to look at when the recipient typically enjoys smoking cigars. Whether walking a dog or celebrating a business deal, there are cigars to match every occasion. One cigar maker even created a cigar nicknamed the “Dog Walker” because he wanted a mild, short cigar that he could smoke in the amount of time that it would take to walk his dog.

Conversely, for an after-dinner smoke, a bolder, longer cigar may be the right choice to aid digestion. For special occasions, some smokers prefer a longer cigar. Some men will also choose to pair their cigar with a cognac, scotch or apertif. Pairing certain flavors and sizes is not a prerequisite for smoking cigars but worth considering when picking your gift.

The Elusive “Cuban” Cigar
When searching for a cigar, don’t be fooled by cigars that claim to be Cuban. Although the embargo on Cuban cigars has recently been lifted, U.S. restrictions do not allow Cuban cigars to be sold in the states. The only way you will find a genuine Cuban cigar is if it is from someone who recently visited Cuba and brought them back in their carry-on baggage.

With this embargo lifted, a rise in fake Cuban cigars sold in Cuba has also increased. With this being said, many people claim to have Cuban cigars but they are very likely misguided — so if you hear Cuban, it might be best to steer clear.

Cigar Accessories
There are many accessories available that can elevate the cigar smoking experience. For the occasional smoker, I highly recommend including a basic cutter. If you are unsure whether the recipient already has a cutter, get one just in case. It’s always nice to have an extra cutter in your car, travel kit or near your outdoor living spaces. You can find cigar cutters in most places that sell cigars and a basic cutter is relatively cheap.

There are three types of cutters you may consider: the guillotine, the v-cut and the punch cut. The most popular of these is the guillotine. Although a razor blade, knife or scissors can cut a cigar, it’s hard to achieve a clean cut, which is essential in order to avoid your wrapper falling off mid-smoke.

Another accessory I recommend is a torch-style lighter or just a box of wooden matches. You have to be careful when buying lighters because some use fluids that may affect the taste of the cigar. Torch lighters are ideal  because they are wind resistant and are available for as little as $10.

Whether smoking on a golf course, back patio or on a walk, cigars are a great gift. For $5 to $25 dollars a stick, you’ll avoid the awkwardness of giving another cordless drill or necktie and give him something you know he will enjoy. You don’t need to be an aficionado to enjoy a cigar, and that’s why it’s  the perfect gift for the discriminating man on your list.