Compared to the selection available a century ago, the present wealth of cigars on the market now is extremely intimidating, and it's not inaccurate to say that we're presently experiencing something of a cigar renaissance within the industry. Given the magnitude of the brands and blends now available, a blossoming cigar smoker can feel some decision paralysis or at least a slight sense of being lost within its enormity. We here at Smokingpipes seek to ease a bit of the burden that new smokers face by presenting our choices for the best cigars for beginners, focusing on a range of different wrapper varietals and strengths that offer a diverse selection with plenty of opportunity for exploration.
One of the most time-consuming wrappers to produce, Connecticut Shade leaf is grown entirely under cheesecloth, limiting the amount of sunlight that reaches the plant before the tobacco undergoes fermentation, and resulting in a light leaf with a generally milder flavor. Not all cigars that use shade-grown wrappers are mild, however, depending on the contents of the binder and filler, and many showcase complex, engaging flavors.Ashton Cabinet Selection
Coming to us from the experienced blenders at Ashton, the Cabinet Selection is similar to their Classic line, though slightly more complex, with notes of leather, cedar, and a slightly sweet creaminess. It's a rather mild cigar overall, but it projects plenty of character and a distinct richness that makes it compelling for both novices and experienced smokers alike.Black Label Trading Company Deliverance Porcelain
The most robust of the Connecticut Shades on this list, the Deliverance Porcelain features the same internal blend of Black Label's Deliverance Nocturne cigar, though it's wrapped in shade-grown leaf, introducing a silky smoothness to the otherwise full-bodied blend. Outside of that creamy smoothness, this cigar also showcases a hint of sweetness, and notes of black pepper, leather, and toast, all while keeping the strength around medium.Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta
A bit of an odd duck in this category, Joya de Nicaragua's Cabinetta line is one of the few dual-wrapper cigars on this list, featuring Connecticut Shade leaf over the first two thirds of the cigar, and Maduro over the last third. The shade-grown leaf here offers more of that desired creaminess, all while maintaining a good bit of body that lends hints of pepper and baking spices, and flavors of cedar and hay, while the final third introduces some sweetness and hints of cocoa.
Habano leaf has something of a pedigree in the cigar world, existing as an extension of genuine Cuban-seed tobacco hybridized with other varietals to better resist disease, and is quite prolific across many blends, wrapping a great many beloved cigars. Habano is generally a spicier leaf that showcases hints of sweetness and cocoa, and, despite its richer flavor profile, is still easily approachable for newcomers given the right blend.
Cavalier White Series
An instantly recognizable cigar, the White Series from Cavalier is adorned with an elegant diamond of genuine gold leaf across the final third, though what makes it so compelling is both its flavor and accessibility. Presenting a rich, well-rounded profile that includes notes of cedar, sweet hay, earth, and spice, this cigar is full of complexity, but is still mild enough to be appreciated by smokers of all experience levels.Crowned Heads Mil Dias
On the more robust side, the Mil Días from Crowned Heads offers a smoking experience that is deeply flavorful and extremely consistent from smoke to smoke. Translating into English as "1000 Days," the Mil Días is the result of 1000 days of blending, planning, and preparation, its medium-full profile presenting with notes of earthy richness, dark chocolate sweetness, and spice, making it perfect for beginners wishing to explore a cigar with a bit more potency.Serino Elenor Rose
Part of the artistically inclined Studio Serino project, the Elenor Rose debuted in 2021 and features a medium-bodied strength and flavor profile that lends itself well to everyday smoking, regardless of experience level. The flavors here include notes of citrus and earth, and there is a rich spiciness to the blend that makes it quite intriguing, all with underlying notes of nuttiness, and all at a reasonable price.
Corojo is another Cuban hybrid leaf resistant to disease, as the original "pure" Corojo was too susceptible to these maladies and was almost wiped out before the last of it was planted in 1997. This is a varietal that's prized for its spiciness, so these cigars benefit from a palate that's appreciative of zesty, pronounced flavors, and that's open to more medium-full profiles.
Aganorsa Leaf Guardian of the Farm
A blend that pays tribute to the working dogs that guard Aganorsa's tobacco farms, the aptly named Guardian of the Farm is a Nicaraguan puro co-blended by Kyle Gellis of Warped Cigars. A wonderfully medium-bodied smoke, this cigar is well rounded not only in its flavors, but in its strength, not being too strong to deter beginners and not so mild that it affects the taste, presenting notes of grain, coffee, cocoa, and vanilla, all with the signature spice of its Corojo wrapper.Foundation Cigar Company El Gueguense
Another Nicaraguan puro, El Güegüense, translating into English as "The Wise Man," was the first cigar released by Foundation Cigar Company. It debuted in 2015 to widespread acclaim, and for good reason, as it is both consistent and delicious. Its flavor profile includes notes of subtle sweetness, cedar, spice, leather, and rich earth, and its medium-full body keeps things robust but reasonably accessible for those who wish to explore.Rojas Bluebonnets
Debuting in 2019, the Bluebonnets cigar from Rojas boasts an all-Corojo construction, with the leaf making up its wrapper, binder, and filler, and a rich, flavorful smoke that takes full advantage of its medium-full body. On top of this, it's quite consistent, presenting a bouquet of notes which include berry sweetness, coffee, cream, leather, earth, and spice, making for a thoroughly complex blend that's extremely satisfying, sure to engage newcomers and experienced smokers alike.
One of the most pervasive myths within the realm of cigar smoking is that the darker a cigar's wrapper is, the stronger it is. This is simply untrue, and has led many a newcomer and experienced smoker alike astray from delving into the massively flavorful world of Maduro-wrapped cigars. Maduro tobacco is produced from leaf taken near the top of the plant, and usually from certain specific varietals of said plant, such as Connecticut Broadleaf, as these are heartier and able to better withstand the fermentation process which gives this leaf its dark, oily complexion. Though not necessarily a strong tobacco with regard to nicotine content, it certainly does have a distinctive flavor profile which lends it to being used in fuller-bodied cigars.
Ashton Aged Maduro
This cigar is extant proof that a smoke wrapped in Maduro leaf need not be strong, as Ashton's Aged Maduro presents with a mild-medium strength and flavor profile that puts the richness of its wrapper on full display, tempered by fillers arranged by Ashton's experienced blenders. Flavor-wise, this cigar presents with notes of spice and earth, as well as a nutty dark cocoa that makes it quite a compelling option for entering the realm of Maduros.Southern Draw Kudzu
The debut cigar from Southern Draw, the Kudzu utilizes an Oscuro wrapper, a type of Maduro that comes from the highest primings available on the plant and goes through a slightly different fermentation process. As such, these wrappers may not necessarily have the same degree of darkness to them as standard Maduros, but are immensely flavorful. A more full-bodied smoke overall, the Kudzu presents with a rich bouquet that includes notes of oak, dark fruit, dark cocoa, spice, and leather, making it a blend that's best suited for those who've experienced the more potent side of cigars.Aganorsa Leaf Maduro
An exceptionally well-balanced smoke, Aganorsa Leaf's Maduro blend toes the line between medium and medium-full, offering a wonderful richness of flavor and a beautiful consistency from smoke to smoke that is sure to keep fans coming back for more. The profile here presents a robust earthiness laden with spice and espresso, all tempered by a cocoa sweetness and a sumptuous umami note which elevates its complexity appreciably.
There are quite a few different types of wrappers out there, so many that exploring all of them individually would take hours, though they are well worth mentioning here, not only for the value they have as wrapper leaves, but because exploration allows for full engagement of the palate, and the potential to find new favorites in blends you may not have thought to sample otherwise.
SumatraLuciano Fiat Lux
Ranking first on our Top Cigars of 2021 list, Luciano's Fiat Lux is, unsurprisingly, excellent. Featuring an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Nicaraguan binders and fillers, it's a medium-bodied cigar that boasts a complex flavor profile while keeping its strength relatively low. Tasting notes include creamy spice, smoky sweetness, and espresso, with hints of nuttiness rounding things out and making for a pleasurable, accessible smoke.
CandelaLa Palina Fuego Verde
Candela is a very different wrapper from many of the rest in the cigar world, if for nothing else because it's green. This vibrant green coloration is the result of a specialized curing process that is shorter than the usual, taking only a few days to complete as opposed to weeks, which keeps the leaf at a higher temperature than normal in order to lock in the leaf's chlorophyll, giving it its iconic hue. This wrapper is generally very mild in flavor, with notes of grassy sweetness and hay, and this is something the Fuego Verde from La Palina uses to its advantage, introducing flavors of floral pepper, spice, and leather, making for a complex and singular smoke that appeals to smokers of all experience levels.
Connecticut BroadleafDrew Estate Nica Rustica
Not all Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco is used to make Maduro cigars, and this is a great thing, as the hearty, toothy leaf lends the cigars that use it a rich, spicy, earthy flavor profile that is demonstrated extremely well by Drew Estate's Nica Rustica. Living up to its name, this rugged, rustic-looking cigar is not only a fantastic smoke, but an excellent value, offering the flavor notes that Broadleaf is known for but adding a deep leather aroma, as well as notes of dark cocoa and a hearty umami flavor that make it perfect for those wishing to delve into more full-bodied smokes.
CameroonOliva Serie G Cameroon
Originating from the Central African nation of Cameroon, this eponymous tobacco varietal is highly regarded for its toothy appearance and elegant sweetness, making it a prized option for a fair few cigar manufacturers. Oliva's Serie G Cameroon showcases this leaf as a wrapper and is a low-cost way to dive into blends that showcase the leaf, offering a mild-medium profile that maintains that same elegant sweetness the wrapper is known for, but adds buttery notes of nuts, toast, and light spice, making it accessible for newcomers.
CriolloBlackbird Cigars Unkind
Criollo translates into English as "native leaf" and, in the Cuban tradition, refers to Cuban-seed tobacco grown in Cuba, though now refers to tobaccos that are native to a country and grown in that country, meaning you can find Criollo leaf in most any tobacco-producing country, though most commonly this leaf is grown in Honduras and Nicaragua. Blackbird's Unkind utilizes Brazilian Criollo for its wrapper, with binders and fillers from several countries, including the United States. This specialized blend results in a flavor profile that is rich and medium bodied, with creamy notes of dark cocoa, espresso, earth, and peppery sweetness, making it perfect for newcomers who want to experience a complex depth of flavor without too much added strength.
Tagged in: Aganorsa Leaf Ashton Blackbird Cigars Black Label Trading Company Cigar Basics Cigars Crowned Heads Drew Estate Foundation Cigar Company Joya de Nicaragua Luciano Oliva Rojas Cigars Southern Draw