If you’ve taken an interest in smoking a cigar and want to try it for the first time, the sheer volume of choice can be overwhelming. Furthermore, selecting the right cigar is fundamental as the beginner’s palate may not be accustomed to certain flavours.
Therefore, this particular guide will provide you with the Best First Cigars For Beginners:
- Davidoff Aniversario Special R
- Ramon Allones Superiores LCDH
- Nub Connecticut
- JC Newman Brick House Double Connecticut
- Macanudo Gold Label
- La Aurora 1903 Emerald
- Quai d’Orsay Claro
- Camacho Connecticut
- Davidoff Winston Churchill
- Avo South America Syncro Ritmo
You can use the links above to jump ahead. You can also use the menu below to see what else is covered in this guide.
What Are The Best First Cigars For Beginners?
Before reading about the best cigars for beginners, please note that the ones featured here are listed in no particular order of preference. Each cigar has its own unique identity and particular benefits identity for it to be worth your consideration.
Furthermore, leave a comment if you have any of your own personal favourites that you feel that we’ve missed out!
Discover The Best Cigars Of The Year
Although the most expensive cigar on this list, Davidoff is renowned for producing high-quality and harmonious blends. Their meticulous quality control ensures a consistently reliable construction of their premium cigars so there is no fear of being let down by a plugged cigar.
Despite having a reputation for mild cigars, Davidoff does still have a wide range that caters to various palates. If you’re looking to try your first cigar, their longstanding Aniversario Special R is a beautifully balanced robusto-sized vitola with rounded flavours with a hint of spice. Indeed, it’s a great brand when looking for cigars for beginners.
"What better way to be introduced to cigars than with a premium Davidoff experience? While the Signature may be better suited to milder palates, the Aniversario offers a wonderfully balanced experience."
Many first-time cigar smokers will often leap on Cubans due to their reputation. While we would be reluctant to say that they offer the best cigars in the world, their blends are unmistakable and unique compared to their neighbours.
Rather than jump on the Cohiba bandwagon, we suggest a lesser-known brand instead. The Ramon Allones Superiores is a beautifully crafted medium-bodied cigar with consistent construction. Indeed, it offers the characteristic flavours that hail from the celebrated island south of Miami with additional complexity.
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Preferred Vitola: 4 x 60 Gordito
- Assembly: Oliva [Estelí, Nicaragua]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Mild
- Smoking Time: 50 Minutes
- Pricing: $8 / Single
A longtime favourite at Bespoke Unit, the Nub Connecticut is a cigar that we’ve recommended to many novices who have gone on to become passionate enthusiasts. With its thick gauge and short length, it’s designed to provide the full flavours of a cigar from the moment that you light it.
Thanks to its construction and vitola, the Connecticut is very forgiving to first-time smokers. Smoking to hard or too fast can result in hot smoke, burning issues, and even nicotine poisoning. However, the wide gauge curbs this so you can enjoy its mild creaminess with hints of toasted brioche.
Indeed, this cigar is one of several with a Connecticut wrapper, which is an excellent choice of tobacco when choosing cigars for beginners. A Connecticut shade wrapper will often provide creamy and mild flavours that are mild but flavoursome.
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Binder: Connecticut
- Wrapper: Connecticut
- Preferred Vitola: 6 x 52 Toro
- Assembly: PENSA [Estelí, Nicaragua]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Mild – Medium
- Smoking Time: 70 Minutes
- Pricing: $6.60 / Single
A similar Connecticut wrapper blend to the Nub above, JC Newman’s creation is somewhat more complex with a richer bouquet of flavour. Produced by the American brand at the Nicaraguan PENSA factory, it’s an exquisite and mouthwatering cigar that’s very versatile.
If you’re looking for a mild and creamy experience with a conventionally-sized vitola, the JC Newman Double Connecticut is an excellent choice.
- Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Mexican
- Binder: San Andrea Mexican
- Wrapper: Golden Connecticut
- Preferred Vitola: 5.2 x 54 Robusto
- Assembly: General Cigar Company [Dominican Republic]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Mild – Medium
- Smoking Time: 60 Minutes
- Pricing: $9 / Single
Macanudo’s Gold Label is less creamy but much more aromatic on the palate. While it’s still rather mild, it’s quite a different experience from the two previous entries. It earns its name thanks to its “capa especial”, which is a wrapper sourced from only 1st and 2nd primings of US Connecticut volado leaf.
The result is arguably much more refined than the first two with delicate, wispy smoke. Although many experienced cigar enthusiasts prefer thick smoke, this may be overwhelming for a first cigar. Therefore, the Macanudo is indeed a safe choice.
- Filler: Barrel-aged Dominican Cibao Valley, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua
- Binder: Barrel-aged Dominican Cibao Valley
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown Sumatra
- Preferred Vitola: 5 x 54 Perfecto
- Assembly: La Aurora [Dominican Republic]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Medium
- Smoking Time: 50 Minutes
- Pricing: $21 / Single [Buy Now]
Although it’s usually recommended that beginners start with a mild cigar, we have seen some people actually prefer something with a little more body. Indeed, some people have found mild cigars a little too light!
For this reason, we suggested the Aniversario Special R, which is on the higher end of the mild category. However, if you would prefer a distinctively medium-bodied cigar, we would highly recommend the 1903 Emerald from La Aurora.
The historical Dominican brand produces this unique multi-territory blend, which is composed of tobaccos from Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Brazil, as well as its homeland, the Dominican Republic.
Its figurado shape will also be fun and exciting for newcomers. Nevertheless, bear in mind that it also represents a century of the brand’s heritage given that it was inspired by its original blends.
- Filler: Cuban Puro
- Binder: Cuban Puro
- Wrapper: Cuban Puro
- Preferred Vitola: 5⅝ x 42 Corona
- Assembly: Partagás [Havana Vieja, Cuba]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Mild
- Smoking Time: 45 Minutes
- Pricing: $10.30 / Single
Produced for the supposedly milder tastes of the French, Quai d’Orsay is named after the Seine river bank that hosts the Foreign Ministry in Paris. Initially, the project was a failure and nearly ceased altogether. However, Quai d’Orsay has since found a place in the market.
The brand is mostly famous for its more luxurious vitolas. However, the original Corona Claro still offers a lot to even the experienced cigar smoker. If you want to start with the mildest cigar possible, we highly recommend the Quai d’Orsay Corona Claro.
Camacho prides itself in loud and bold flavours. Nevertheless, their Connecticut is surprisingly mild and perfectly suitable for first-time cigar smokers. Like the other Connecticut wrapper cigars above, it’s quite creamy too.
We prefer the box-pressed vitola over the regular parejo as the addition of American broadleaf offer some additional complexity. It’s also a very cool and easy smoke, which is a great option for being initiated into cigars.
Although we were reluctant to add two cigars from the same brand, we would be amiss to overlook the Davidoff Winston Churchill. Indeed, the Winston Churchill range has been the culprit for many developing a passion for premium cigars.
Named after the iconic cigar smoker, the Winston Churchill actually features a slightly heavier body than the other options listed above. Given its intensity, it may not be suitable for everyone as a first cigar. However, it’s a complex and luxurious experience that can seduce even the weakest palates.
- Filler: Nicaraguan, Peruvian, Brazilian, Honduran & Dominican Republic
- Binder: Mexico
- Wrapper: Ecuador
- Assembly: OK Cigar Corp [Dominican Republic]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Mild – Medium
- Smoking Time: 80 Minutes
- Pricing: $12 / Single [Buy Now]
What we find particularly fascinating with the Ritmo is that is crafted from tobacco sourced from seven different countries! A relatively mild experience that occasionally borders on medium-bodied, the Ritmo is a wonderful hommage to Latin America’s tobacco heritage.
If you want to experience something that’s a little different with lively spicy notes, the Ritmo is well-worth considering.
What Sort Of Cigars Are Good For Beginners?
As mentioned in the introduction of this guide, the variety of cigars for beginnings available can be overwhelming. This is especially the case when it comes to your first cigar. If you’re a beginner, it’s unlikely that you know much about tobacco or cigars so how can you choose the right one?
Sometimes it can even become challenging for experienced cigar enthusiasts. As their palates have become accustomed to certain flavours and levels of intensity, they may also struggle to recommend something that is appropriate for a veritable novice.
Nevertheless, your first cigar is more important than you realise. Most people remember their very first cigar and the experience often shapes their tastes in the future. Unfortunately, few people actually enjoy it to the cigar’s full potential either because they received bad advice or chose at random.
Before we go further, bear in mind that there is no ultimate best cigar for beginners. Indeed, there are lots of options from New World cigars featuring a Connecticut shade wrapper to Cuban blends. Finding the right one will depend on the person’s personal tastes.
Take Care When Choosing Your First Cigar
When selecting your first cigar, we would ask that you refrain from making an impulse decision. Reading guides like this can really help in making an informed decision beforehand. After all, there are so many cigars in the world, it can be hard to get started!
Bespoke Unit offers a wide variety of guides that cater to both novice and experienced cigars smokers. However, we appreciate that it isn’t quite the same as speaking to somebody in person.
Fortunately, most professional tobacco and cigar shops are often run by passionate enthusiasts with a pedagogical streak. Although there are lots of places where you can buy cigars, we highly recommend talking to a professional who can guide you on making your first purchase.
Finally, you can also use our guide on how to choose a cigar to help you know on what to look out for. Additionally, we also have guides on how to cut a cigar, how to light a cigar, as well as how to smoke a cigar, which can help ensure that you truly benefit from the experience.
Opt For Handmade & High Quality
To get started, we must stress the importance of selecting a handmade cigar. Some people occasionally make the mistake of first trying a machine-made cigar. As they are often made from homogenised tobacco and can be chemically treated, they don’t offer the same experience whatsoever.
Instead, aim for your first cigar to be a premium handmade blend from a reputable manufacturer. Indeed, premium cigars will offer you a superior experience. As mentioned earlier, a professional tobacconist will be able to guide you in the right direction.
Opt For Mild Cigars
Even if you generally prefer bold flavours such as peated whisky or spicy food, we would still highly recommend that you begin with a mild cigar. Just because is a cigar is mild, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it lacks in flavour or complexity.
In fact, mild cigars are often overlooked by seasoned enthusiasts for what they can offer. Indeed, milder cigars are often made from incredibly aromatic leaves that produce lavish and tantalising aromas.
Those somewhat familiar with cigars will often associate mild flavours with a Connecticut shade wrapper, which is the outermost leaf. These leaves are harvested from plants that are shade-grown either under natural cloud cover or physical nets.
This is partly true as Connecticut shade wrapper leaves are renowned for their mild and creamy mouthfeel. However, cigars are blended in a similar way to coffee. Therefore, it’s the overall blend that plays the deciding factor on the cigar’s body and intensity.
As you’ll learn in our tobacco anatomy guide, leaves are harvested in stages that are known as primings.
The youngest primings are harvest first from the bottom of the plant and are often referred to as Volado. Volado tobacco leaves are normally very large but quite thin. As their nicotine content is much lower, they aren’t as intense but they’re very aromatic.
Additionally, some countries like Nicaragua simply discard the volado and use only the seco since it’s considered to be too lacking in flavour. However, it is often used in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Meanwhile, later primings such as the Ligero are thick and heavy in oils. As a result, they’re particularly strong but may not be quite as flavoursome as earlier primings. These are often used to make medium-bodied and full-bodied cigars.
Therefore, milder blends will tend to consist of a greater quantity of earlier primings compared to their stronger counterparts and will make more suitable cigars for beginners. Nevertheless, they will usually feature some full-bodied leaves in order to produce a harmonious blend.
Opt For Corona Or Robusto Vitolas
Cigars come in many shapes and sizes, which are known as vitolas. Some can be enormous and take hours to finish while others can be pretty small and last less than 20 minutes. When it comes to your first cigar, we suggest aiming for something that is relatively short.
If you’re not accustomed to cigars, a larger one may tire you and even make you feel unwell. Furthermore, larger cigars cost more so you risk not being able to finish it and throwing it away.
Nevertheless, avoid also choosing a cigar that’s too small. Particularly small cigars may not always reach the blend’s full potential and the resulting experience can be underwhelming.
Similarly, thin cigars like panatelas are known to burn hotter than wider ones. As a result, they can become unpleasant and somewhat harsh if smoked too quickly.
For the reasons listed above, we would generally recommend robusto sizes as cigars for beginners. Robusto tend to have a sufficiently wide gauge to provide a cool smoke while being long enough to develop a certain level of complexity.
If no robusto cigars are available in the blend that you want, a corona is slightly thinner but is a reliable vitola to begin with. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes and shapes.
What To Pair With Your First Cigar
While we often take the time to offer pairing suggestions, we firmly believe that there is no wrong way to enjoy a cigar at Bespoke Unit. If you enjoy an unconventional pairing with a cigar, that is your choice and nobody should stop.
Most people will immediately leap for whisky as it’s the most familiar pairing. That said, it isn’t always the best one, especially when smoking a mild cigar. Furthermore, whisky will often introduce its own bold flavours to your palate, which can distract from the initial experience.
Similarly, we would refrain from accompanying the cigar with wine. Although there are many great wine and cigar accords that can be achieved, it’s much trickier to marry than alcoholic spirits.
Instead, we would urge you to choose something simple for your very first cigar. Most cigar sommeliers actually encourage cigar smokers to enjoy their cigars with sparkling water as it stimulates the palate without interfering with its flavours.
Otherwise, coffee is a popular choice and for good reason. Its flavours marry well with tobacco and it can also help clean your palate. In fact, many of the best cigars to smoke with coffee are featured in this particular guide.
If you’re not fond of coffee, you can potentially opt for Coca-Cola. Bear in mind, however, that either coffee or Coca-Cola may affect the cigar’s flavour.
Finally, we wouldn’t recommend that you smoked your first cigar alone as you could quickly become dehydrated. If none of the options suit your tastes, you can accompany it with a glass of still mineral water to prevent your palate from becoming dry.
How Did We Rank These Cigars?
This guide only features cigars for beginners that we’ve formally reviewed or at least had the opportunity to sample in a professional environment. Each entry has been evaluated using our Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula, which is a system that we have been developing since 2017.
Frustrated with the seemingly arbitrary scoring used by some publications, we sought to create a quantifiable review matrix. This would allow us to evaluate cigars as accurately and as fairly as possible in a way that we could easily demonstrate to our readers.
After consulting several leading cigar industry professionals, we launched the Formula with our Avo Nicaragua review in August 2019. Its present in all of our recent cigar reviews but we have an internal database for those where it isn’t visible.
We now use our scoring system as a baseline when putting together guides like this one. Therefore, you can be confident that the cigars featured on this list were assembled by conviction and not by random.
Firstly, did we miss anything out? Feel free to let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, now that you’ve seen the best cigars for beginners, why don’t you also check out our related guides below?