Cigar recommendations
May 5, 2009 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Cigar recommendations?

Hello all. I am trying to purchase a cigar or two as a small token gift for a friend. I have no idea what his tastes are, but I gather they probably run pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to tobacco choices. I'm looking to purchase something average- to slightly-high end that has enough unique flair to be considered a nice gift. There are a few local convenience stores that have a small humidor selection, so please keep recommendations within those will most likely be in a small-selection stock. I already had someone recommend light-colored Arturo Fuentes, but that was one opinion from a stranger and I would like more. Assume I know nothing at all about cigars.
posted by greta simone to Shopping (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
When I smoked cigars I always enjoyed CAOs, particularly the Cameroon. Hoyo de Monterrey was another mid-priced cigar that I had good luck with. I don't know if you'll be able to find these in a convenience store, but another option might be a liquor store. Some of the larger places have small walk-in humidors.
posted by 6and12 at 8:59 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I know this was not the question you asked, but I would say that you have to be extremely careful with convenience store cigars. Often, the cigars are of mediocre quality to begin with, and are kept at a humidity level that is not great. A basic test of whether a cigar has been kept at the correct humidity: Inspect the outside of the cigar (the wrapper) for any cracks or holes. Take a finger and thumb and squeeze gently in the center of the cigar. It should give to your fingers a little, but not much. The wrapper should not split when you do this. Look around for a hygrometer in the store's humidor. It's small, and will be either digital or look something like a speedometer. You want the humidity to be somewhere between 65 and 75%.

Arturo Fuente Hemingways are really good cigars that you can get at a moderate price, and they should be somewhat easy to find. Many people also enjoy Nub. They're a smaller cigar, but great quality. Oliva Serie O or Oliva Serie G are good choices as well. Stay away from flavored cigars (some people like infused cigars, but flavored cigars are almost always poor quality, and not something most men tend to like). If you find one that has a shape other than a cylinder, like pointed on one or both ends, take that into consideration. Many people prefer these shapes, as it gives greater range of flavor throughout the cigar. If you can't find a cigar that seems of decent quality locally, You might look for a cigar store in the area or check out They have good prices and a wide selection, as well as a gift option.
posted by Night_owl at 9:04 AM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I asked my chum who is a true cigar afficiando, with the magazine to back up the claim. Here's what he recommended:

Arturo Fuente Hemingways are nice and great conversation pieces, and you can't beat their Opus X line.

Other than that, I'm on a Tatuaje kick right now, the Ashton VSGs are great, and you can't go wrong with Padron 1964 line.

(so a second on the Arturo Fuente Hemingways from Night Owl!) Hope this helps!
posted by indiebass at 9:11 AM on May 5, 2009

Best answer: What you buy from a convenience store humidor, even if it's a good brand, is likely to have been poorly kept by people who don't know anything about cigars. I also doubt you'll find anything with "enough unique flair to be considered a nice gift." You're better off finding a good local tobacconist, which a serious selection of cigars, and buying from them. According to your profile, you live in Carrboro, NC. This is the place I'd go to nearest there for a good cigar. They'll have some knowledgeable people working there who hopefully won't mind giving you some advice.

Now, as for brands...

* Arturo Fuente has always been one of my standbys. I really like the Hemingways, though they can be hard to find. The Chateau Fuente is also cool, it comes wrapped in a bit of cedar bark that you can use to light the cigar. Kind of a classy gimmick.
* Padron has been a more recent preference of mine. I've been trying different ones in the "thousand" line (2000, 4000, 5000, etc) and they've all been great.

Hoyo de Monterrey and CAO are also known to be good. I've only had each of them once, and my memory of the CAO was tainted by the fact that I got sick later in the night I smoked it (I'm sure the cigar didn't make me sick but it has a bad association for me now). The Hoyo was great, I just don't remember which type it was.

At any rate, stick with one of these brands and then aim for something in the $10-$15 price range and you'll have bought something nice for your friend. Of course I always stick around the $7 price point and enjoy my choices immensely, so don't sweat it too much.
posted by autojack at 9:11 AM on May 5, 2009

I second the CAO. They have one I believe it has a green ribbon? that is a white chocolate mint flavor to it. I'm not a cigar smoking expert but I likes that one dipped in Cognac
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:12 AM on May 5, 2009

Romeo y Julieta Robusto are excellent.
posted by batmonkey at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

My favourite was always the Macanudo Maduro. I also suggest that you go a bit out of your way to find a tobacconist, or if that's not possible order online. I'm sorry to not really answer your question, but I cannot in good conscience recommend purchasing a cigar from a convenience store.
posted by Alex Voyd at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2009

This is almost impossible to answer because of the small size of most convenience store selections; they could carry any of a thousand brands. I've noticed that convenience stores tend to have 1 or 2 decent labels, and a whole bunch of overpriced crap. And others here are right about the general quality of storage in a convenience store.

If you have enough time, I recommend a gift from an online site. I generally get my best prices from This page (and those near it) has some nice boxed samplers that aren't too expensive. Both Ashtons are CAOs are good cigars.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:44 AM on May 5, 2009

Best answer: Oh, man. It's been years since I used to smoke cigars regularly. Arturo Fuente Hemingways are great. I used to pay $4 a piece for them in the mid 90's. You'll be lucky to find them for less than $10. I also enjoyed Macanudos, Partegas, and Romeo y Julietas. Rubusto is a good size to buy. It's the perfect size for a "special occasion" smoke. Judging by where you live, you should be able to find a decent tobacconist nearby.

Don't pay more than $12 a cigar, no matter what the dude says. You may want to pick up some good matches, too.

(Oh, and this is just my taste so YMMV, but used to love the pyramid-tipped Te Amo torpedos. It was a great mid-afternoon smoke.)
posted by ColdChef at 11:52 AM on May 5, 2009

FWIW, I never cared for "flavored" cigars or ones with dark wrappers.
posted by ColdChef at 11:52 AM on May 5, 2009

Also like most CAO cigars, with the exception of the flavored ones. The America series has a dual wrapper of Connecticut leaf that presents a kind of pinstripe effect, that's pretty unique. I've smoked the Potomacs and like them a lot. A little heavier than a middle-of-the-road smoke.
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2009

Oh, damn, this is taking me back. I also enjoyed smoking H. Upmann's and Punch cigars. Montecristos are good, but I wouldn't pay more than $10 for them.
posted by ColdChef at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2009

Best answer: For quality, most anything made by H. Upman, Arturo Fuente, and Romeo Y Julieta will be just fine. These makers also sell "slightly high end" brands that may accomplish what you are trying to accomplish. But these 3 are my go-to cigar brands and they never disappoint.

One mistake newbies make is to buy a big, huge cigar because they think that is what cigar smokers like. That is nonsense.

I recommend a robusto, as the size to buy.
posted by PsuDab93 at 12:44 PM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hey all. I went for the Hemingways, as they seem to be the more popular suggestion. Thanks!
posted by greta simone at 1:20 PM on May 5, 2009

PsuDab93, you and I should share a smoke sometime. You apparently have my tastes copied to a "T" in cigars; how about pipes (wardens), pipe tobacco (Burley Light), scotch (any single malt, or the Dimple Pinch), bourbon (Booker's Cask Strength, watered), cognac (no thank you; an armagnac, please?), etc...

posted by IAmBroom at 9:32 PM on May 5, 2009

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