When one walks into a well stocked humidor it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of different brands and facings that line the walls. If you are fortunate to be in the shop of a reputable retailer then you can count on receiving some sound advice in choosing the perfect cigar to fit the occasion or mood. If not, then these suggestions may help you find a great cigar anyway.
Ignore number ratings. In general, number ratings can be misleading. If you enjoy lighter cigars and you see that the Bahia Trinidad is rated a 91 and you try it, you will find that you may give it a completely different number! Stick to reviews that describe flavor, strength, and characteristics. This will help you make more informed choices.
Go by what you like. Instead of asking the tobacconist about what he likes, describe the flavors you enjoy and then ask him what he has that is along those lines. Murphy’s law dictates that every Macanudo smoker that asks another smoker what cigars he likes will find a Te-Amo enthusiast that swears that those maduro churchills are mild.
Consider the country of origin. Because tobacco gets its flavor from the soil and climate from which they are grown, other cigars from that country of origin are more likely to appeal to your tastes. This is of course not always the case but when you are playing percentages you are more likely to enjoy a different Honduran verses a new Jamaican.
Size does matter! The bigger around the cigar is the cooler it will smoke. The longer the cigar, the cleaner the flavor is as tobacco will also act as its own filter. On the other hand if you feel uncomfortable with a large cigar then keep to a smaller size that you enjoy.
When all else fails stick to brands you know. If you walk into a humidor filled with strange brands that are unknown to you, then unless you are feeling adventurous, you should stick to brands that you have at least heard of. Off brands tend to have major consistency problems that can lead to frustration and unraveling wrappers.