Tuesday, 16 September 2014

How to Become a Cigar Connoisseur

Be it apparel, food, automobiles or any other consumable, each individual’s palette differs. What may appeal to one may be a complete dislike for another. Similarly cigar preferences too differ from one individual to the other. While some like full bodied cigars, others prefer mild variants. But, if you wish to be a cigar connoisseur you’ll have to move beyond the realm of likes and dislikes to try everything that’s available. Only then will you be experienced enough to be able to share opinions and reviews with others and eventually become a cigar connoisseur.

Reading up is the key

Having grown up in places where cigars are manufactured or where tobacco is grown can certainly be an advantage, making the process of becoming a cigar connoisseur easier, due to the ready access to the rich history of cigars. Knowledge forms the building blocks in the process of becoming a true cigar connoisseur, not merely smoking a large variety of cigars. The more you know about cigars the better you get at being an expert.


Having said that knowledge is the biggest stepping stone to being a cigar connoisseur, there are a number of resources an aspirant can leverage.

  • Libraries
  • Online materials
  • Tobacconists
  • Online Cigar forums
  • Cigar shows

While these are only a few means, there can be many more ways to discover and know about cigars. Even speaking to a cigar connoisseur you know can give you insight into a lot about cigars. So always stay on the lookout for any kind of information about cigars that comes your way.

What to read?

Cigars have a fascinating and rich history behind them be it a Padron or a Camacho. Beginning from where and how they are grown to how they are manufactured to how they are smoked, there are lots to know. Study about the eminent figures who smoked cigars, their personalities, their lifestyles, their preferences and the brands that they relished. Read about the different kinds of tobacco leaves that are produced around the world, which places are famous for tobacco leaves, how cigars were developed and grew into a cult of its own. Know what cigar wrapper colors say about cigars and what different varieties of Camacho Cigars mean.

It’s interesting to know about the families who have been into manufacturing the most relished and famous brands of cigars. Even minuscule things about cigars such what different kinds of veins on them indicate about their properties can be valuable in enhancing your knowledge.  You should also know which drinks or food can complement different kinds of cigars and what can be the best times of the year you can best relish different kinds of cigars.

Experiment to Experience

To be a cigar connoisseur you cant be choosy about what you want to smoke. You should try everything that’s available. Different brands from different countries, different prices, different blends, different lengths, different sizes and different ages.

Also, ensure you document each kind of cigar you smoke with details of where you purchased it from, the price, the brand, the blend, its features, the taste, the thought that arose when smoking it, what you complemented that cigar with and so on so forth. You can always refer back to it in future to relive your cigar smoking experience.

Share your Knowledge

Now that you have considerable knowledge and experience, it’s time to share it with others. This is the best part of being a cigar connoisseur and if you’ve truly aspired to be one, you’ll enjoy every bit of it. Join a cigar board or spend time at your local tobacconist to share your knowledge with the visitors there.

Do you aspire to be a cigar connoisseur? How many varieties of cigars have you smoked till date? Share your thoughts and experiences with us.

Pairing Cigars to Drinks: Top Pairings

Pairing cigars with drinks have been a topic of debate among cigar smokers and connoisseurs since decades and continues till date. So, how do you know which drink to pair with your cigar of choice? Is there an equation for a perfect pairing?

Honestly, there is no equation to perfect cigar and drink pairing. Neither is there a bible to get your dilemma sorted. Cigar and drink pairings is a mystery that remains unsolved till date and even the most seasoned experts and long time connoisseurs of cigars and wines find themselves at loss when it comes to pairing cigars with drinks.

Cigar and Drink Pairing – It’s in the TongueTaste is the role player when it comes to pairing a drink with your cigar. There can be multiple kinds of drinks that can pair with a cigar and the combination choices may differ from person to person. So combinations are more of a personal choice which is probably why cigar and drink pairings remains a mystery.

Common Pairings

Tastes for wines and cigars develop over time and the same goes for pairing cigars with drinks. The more tastes you experience, the more refined your choices become. However, the rule book says that pairs should always be made by matching the body type of cigars. No cigar should overpower a drink and vice versa.

For instance, a light-bodied cigar will pair well with blended scotches, young red wines and some white wines too. A medium-bodied cigar can best be accompanied with Speysides, Lowland whiskeys, rums, ports, Irish whiskeys, bourbons, and ryes. A full-bodied cigar however best complements heavy Highland single malts and Peaty Islay.

While pairing cigars with alcoholic drinks is common, cigars can be paired with non-alcoholic drinks such as coffee and mocktails as well for instance cappuccino, coffee with Irish cream, Sangria (alcohol-free), etc. However, most cigar connoisseurs believe that alcoholic drinks best complement the smoke of Partagas cigars.

Insignia, a popular lifestyle boutique lists top 10 cigar and spirit combinations suggested by Maurizio Zatti, a cigar concierge for Cigars at No. Ten. The purpose of highlighting the combinations is because these combinations are actually great and should be tried by every cigar connoisseur.
  • Partagas lusitania Gran Reserva ‘cosecha 2007’ & Remy Martin xo
  • Montecristo no. 2 Grand Reserva ‘cosecha 2006′ & Ron Zacapa Centenario xo
  • Cohiba Behike 56 & Johnnie Walker Blue Label
  • Romeo y Julietta Churchill Reserva ‘cosecha 2008’&  Jack Daniels Single Barrel
  • Montecristo 520 & Macallan ‘Triple cask matured’ 21 yo
  • Hoyo de Monterray Grand Epicure L.E. 2013 & Tattinger Brut Reserve
  • Romeo y Julietta de Luxe L.E. 2013 & Havana Club 15 yo Gran Reserva
  • Bolivar Petit Bellicosos L.E. 2009 & Lagavulin 16 yo
  • Cohiba Piramides Extra & Hibiki Single Malt
  • H. Uppman Robusto L.E. 2012 & Hibiki Suntory 17 yo
Which are your favorite cigar and drink combinations? Share your opinions and experiences with us; we’d love to hear from you as well.