What Is A Good Evening Cigar?
First of all, the definition of when the evening starts and finishes can be at somewhat vague at times. As it’s sandwiched between the afternoon and nighttime, its actual times can vary from country to country.
Usually, the evening begins just before the sun begins to set, which coincides with dinnertime for most cultures. It then ends shortly after a brief twilight period before night fully descends.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ve defined the evening from 6pm up until 10pm. While this may seem quite late, the night tends to still be quite young at this time for a cigar smoker!
Furthermore, our definition of nighttime is already the longest period, which stretches from 10pm all the way until 5am. After all, we cigar smokers tend to be night owls if Winston Churchill is anything of a reference.
There are a number of situations where you may find yourself enjoying a cigar in the evening. Firstly, it may be following dinner as a digestif before turning in. Alternatively, you may be spending an evening out with friends at a dinner or social gathering.
Traditionally, cigars are smoked much later after the dinner but this may fall into the evening in some cases.
Medium To Full-Bodied Cigars In The Evening
As we have detailed in our other guides, people tend to opt for milder cigars in the morning and increase the intensity throughout the day. Indeed, there is logical and even some science to this approach.
When we wake, our senses and olfactory nerves are at their most sensitive. As you progress through the day, they’ve been subjected to various stimuli that dulls their perception. As a result, we tend to prefer stronger flavours towards the evening, which is also reflected in our drinking and eating habits.
In our guide to afternoon cigars, we mostly recommend a medium-bodied experience. However, once the sun begins to set, we would suggest reaching for something stronger.
While you could indeed choose the fullest bodied available, we still believe that a compromise between the two is best at this time. This is especially the case if you’re planning on having more throughout the night.
However, if it’s your last cigar, by all means choose something intense. You can even jump to our guide to the best cigars at night for some inspiration if you need it.
What Are Medium To Full-Bodied Cigars?
Defining the “medium to full” category is somewhat difficult as it is both a grey and subjective area. In fact, each classification is far from standardised and is fully dependent on the smoker and their frames of reference.
As a general rule, though, you can describe a medium to full-bodied cigar as something that is just teetering on the edge of fullness but is still restrained in character.
There are several ways a cigar will be relatively full in body. Firstly, the varieties of tobacco used in the blend have their own natural properties and flavours. For instance, Mexican San Andrés and Dominican Piloto are both quite rich varieties.
Yet, their opulence are subject to the fermentation process and the primings used for the blend. However, not all tobacco will increase in intensity with age and in some cases they instead mellow out by developing complexity. Therefore, it’s up to the blender to select the right ones to achieve the desired effect.
Meanwhile, a priming is the leaf’s position on a plant when it is cultivated. This is undertaken in stages from bottom to the top, which takes several weeks. The first leaves at the bottom are thin and aromatic. By the time you reach the top, they become thick and heavy in oils.
As you may guess, the latter tends to be the strongest in both nicotine and intensity. Nevertheless, it doesn’t always have much flavour, which is why it will be blended with other varieties to produce some complexity.
Evening Cigar Pairings
The evening is an exciting time to choose what to pair with your cigar. Normally, the day is over and the chores are done. Therefore, you can reach into the spirits cabinet and kick back with a favourite libation and a cigar.
That said, you may not always choose the same thing as later in the night unless it’s your last cigar and you’ll be heading to bed afterwards. After all, some of us are early risers as opposed to night owls.
Given that an evening cigar usually follows dinner, this will be the opportunity to select a digestif unless you are still finishing a glass (or bottle) of wine. Pairing wine with cigars is a challenging task but it is often overlooked too.
Indeed, it’s a little more complicated as the contrast of flavours can be nuanced and delicate. However, the result can be remarkably satisfying.
Alternatively, there are plethora of options available such as rum and whisky or even port and cognac. Each one has its benefits and can produce a harmonious accord by marrying with the cigar’s aromas.
Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule on what spirit to choose. Our best advice is to start with the one with the fewest options. In other words, if you have a large whisky collection but only a few cigars, begin with the cigar and then choose a whisky to accord it and vice versa.
You can then use this to find the most suitable pairing available. Continuing with the same example, you can smell the cigar’s foot and imagine its flavours. From this point on, you can compare the whiskies and their aromas to easily select the best match.
How Did We Rank These Cigars?
Since 2017, the Bespoke Unit team had been developing the Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula, a unique concept that we were proud to launch. After years of research and discussions with cigar industry leaders, it was first live with our review of the Avo Nicaragua in August 2019.
This formula is essentially a review matrix, which allows us to conduct our cigar reviews with a relatively scientific approach. Our scores are quantifiable and clearly explained rather than just producing arbitrary numbers.
Although it was published in 2019, we run all the cigars we test through the Cigar Formula in order to quickly assess and record it. This then serves as a basis for our guides and lists as well as the cigars we want to formally review in the future.
Firstly, did we miss anything out? Feel free to let us know your favourites in the comments below! Otherwise, now that you’ve seen the best cigars for the evening, why don’t you also check out our related guides below?