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Remedial Cigars 101 (aka no question to goofy)


MurphyDawg
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Alright I am sure there are other people out there looking for a friendly primer in the art of cigar appreciation, I for sure would like to know. I was searching around the web before it struck me: I have a friendly, knowledgeable group I can ask already. So I am gonna fire away with all the questions I have been wanting to ask, and please feel free to pitch in and help me where you can.

1) Where did the term "herf" come from?

2)Though I am looking for a punch cutter all I have at the moment is a give-away guillotine. So my question is, where is the proper point to make the cut?? I think I may have cut my (only,heh) cigar to far in, and it may have hindered the experience.

3) Is there an alternative to a humidor for someone who may only want to have 3-4 cigars around, but doesnt smoke often enough to use them quickly/doesnt have a good smoke shop locally??

4) Are all the sizes of a line (e.g. The Punch Gran Puro Line) the same (like as in makeup) except for the size?

5) What do natural & maduro refer to, and what is the difference between them?

6) Can you suggest any good online cigar retailers, as I am in a bit of a bind, being there are no good smoke shopes within 40 miles (I have searches)??

I am sure I will think of more questions as the day progresses but this is a good start. Thank you all in advance. I am sure you will be a big help.

Tom (Cigar Newbie) C

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1) Where did the term "herf" come from?

No idea, but it can be used as a noun, synonymous with the word cigar, or as a verb, usually to describe some cigar get-together.

2)Though I am looking for a punch cutter all I have at the moment is a give-away guillotine. So my question is, where is the proper point to make the cut?? I think I may have cut my (only,heh) cigar to far in, and it may have hindered the experience.

Cut it just above the end of the cap, about 1/8" from the end of the cigar, to keep the wrapper from unwinding on you. I use a punch cutter most of the time as it is almost fool-proof.

) Is there an alternative to a humidor for someone who may only want to have 3-4 cigars around, but doesnt smoke often enough to use them quickly/doesnt have a good smoke shop locally??

Well, humidors come in all shapes and sizes, even for 10 or fewer cigars. That said, you can use something as simple as a piece of tupperware with a humidifier inside. Be sure to open it every week or so to allow the air to exchange. This helps to prevent mold.

4) Are all the sizes of a line (e.g. The Punch Gran Puro Line) the same (like as in makeup) except for the size?

For the most part yes, but some manufacturers will play with the blends of tobacco slightly for different sizes of the same cigar line.

5) What do natural & maduro refer to, and what is the difference between them?

Natural and Maduro are words that describe the style of wrapper your cigar has. In general, natural wrappers are a light to medium brown color, while maduros are more of a dark-chocolate color. This is by no means universal, but generally your maduros will be the heavier, more full-bodied smokes.

6) Can you suggest any good online cigar retailers, as I am in a bit of a bind, being there are no good smoke shopes within 40 miles (I have searches)??

Try the following:

www.cigar.com

www.cigarsinternational.com

www.thompsonscigars.com

www.cigarbid.com - A cigar auction site. Sometimes you can pick up great deals on boxes and 5-packs. Beware, as it is quite addictive and you could soon end up with more cigars than you have room to keep. Time to build a coolerdor wink.gif

Hope that helps some.

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1) Where did the term "herf" come from?

No idea, but it can be used as a noun, synonymous with the word cigar, or as a verb, usually to describe some cigar get-together.

I thought I'd be a wise-ass and come up with the definitive answer via a Google search. Little did I know...

I tried searching on "cigar herf origin". The first hit (of 33) convinced me that I was in over my head. (Esp., see ref. to "Herf Alpert and the Tijuana Brass".)

Yours truly,

Dave Morefield

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Natural and Maduro are words that describe the style of wrapper your cigar has.

Can one assume that this applies to the sun-grown and sumatran designations as well?

TomC

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Not really, as I believe you can make any wrapper into a maduro, you just have to ferment it longer. I'll look this up in a couple cigar books I have and post more info.

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Okay good deal. It feels like the first day on the bourbon forum all over again:

<font color="orange"> What does it all mean?!?!? </font>

LOL

TomC

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Beware, as it is quite addictive and you could soon end up with more cigars than you have room to keep. Time to build a coolerdor

The one thing that I know will help keep the cigar spending for sure in check is that a large part of my leisure budget is already devoted to something else I am enthusiastic about (hmmmm. . . I wonder that THAT is. . .), and with upcoming releases of Stagg, ER17 (yay there will be more, and fall Bday bourbon (not to mention eventually FR SB) I dont see spending on that front curtailing anytime soon. . . .

Tom (crazy.gif$$$ crazy.gif) C

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Okay a couple more questions I thought of:

1) What should I look for not make sure the cigar I want is in the proper condition at the retail outlet?? I'd rather not pay for duds.

2) Althought I seemed to do alright in my limited experience, is there a "proper" way to smoke a cigar, to get the most of the experience?

Thanx kindly for the knowledge,

TomC

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Hello MD.....go to the cigarafficionado website. They have lots of info on cigars, ie ratings, etc that I have found to be very informative. This past summer they ran a series of acticles called "Cigars 101". Go on their site and do a search for Cigars 101. It answers questions about terminology, how to properly light a cigar, etc. Better yet, come out to Vegas for this years annual cigar show sponsered by Cigar Afficionado magazine. They give out lots of great cigars and pour great whisky (ey). Hope this helps.

Doubleblank

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Okay a couple more questions I thought of:

1) What should I look for not make sure the cigar I want is in the proper condition at the retail outlet?? I'd rather not pay for duds.

That's a tough one. I would suggest find a reputable dealer and stick with him. Its really about how the cigars have been stored. Since the cigar craze has died down, it seems more likely to run into a retailer who doesn't care well for the cigars. They aren't selling as many, so many cigars are still around from the mid-90's -- not a problem unless improperly stored.

Squeezing cigars don't tell you much, (unless they "crunch"!) But at minimum they should look good without any blue or green moldy stuff. Beyond that, you've got to trust your tobacconist.

I bought at a well known place recently (not my regular vendor) that was grossly over-humidified. Hard to light and never did get it to burn well. And they even had a wooden indian outside. Thems the breaks.

The moral: Avoid dime-stores and many liquor stores. Look for a real smoke-shop, preferably one that was in business before the fad. Failing that, there are several good online retailers -- my favorite is two guys smokeshop.

www.2guyssmokeshop.com

I'm sure others will have recommendations.

I hope this helps.

-AJ

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1)I noticed that "perfecto" cigars (like Hemingways) are closed at both ends. are you supposed to trim both ends before lighting or leave the head as is?

2)I am new to this, so I ask, what are they basic varieties I should try (for example in Bourbon its good to try a wheater if possible and a rye from each distillery: Beam, Brown Forman, HH, BT, Four Roses, Wild Turkey etc etc)? I figure there is an equivalent in Cigars, I am just not sure what it is. I figure this could serve as a jumping off point for further explorations.

3) What are the cat & dog brands (pretending to be fancy) I should avoid? I have a rather limited cigar budget and really dont want to be duped into inferior product. . .

Thanx yet again,

TomC

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Tom,

When lighting a perfecto, simply light the foot, no trimming needed. They are called perfectos because they light perfectly every time. This has been my experience as well. I'll try to help you on brands in another post when I have more time to think about it. bandit.gif

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Now that the cigar shortage is largely over, most of the "cats and dogs" have disappeared or are in the "close out" bin. Your idea of trying several cigars from each important producer is a good one. I'd include each of the following in my comparison list. Some are from the Domincan Republic (known for milder cigars) and some from Nicaragua and Honduras (known for fuller bodied smokes).

A. Fuente - makes mild to bold cigars

H. Upmann - mostly medium bodied

Macanudo - mild to medium

Padron - stronger smokes...be sure and splurge for a "1964 Aniversary"

Romeo y Julieta - get a regular and one of their Vintage line

Hoyo de Monterey - get a regular and an Excalibur

This would give you a nice mix of flavor profiles from which you could determine your own likes and dislikes. Personally, when I want a milder smoke, its a Romeo y Julietta Vintage V....for a stronger smoke, its the Padron 1964 Aniversary. Larger cigars produce a cooler, more flavorful smoke. I like coronas and larger sizes.

I'm going out to watch the pros play today at the Tour Chanpionship here in Houston. After talking cigars....I'll have to stop on the way there and pick up a smoke.

DoubleBlank

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Much Obliged. I didnt want to ask for a suggestions outright (you know, "I am a newbie, what should I try. . ." type post) but I know that a good selection would make for a nice primer so I would understand wht I am looking for at least.

TomC

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Alright one more trimming question before I drop THAT subject. Where do you trim a torpedo? If you were to trim it where the cigar starts to straighten out, you would lose 1/2 your herf! I figure about 1/2 way up the incline, but would someone clarify!

TomC

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On torpedo's (pyramids, perfectos, etc.) I usually sacrifice about 1/4" - 1/2" for my cut. Be aware that, if your final opening is to small, tar will quickly collect there and alter the flavor. I know some guys who will recut their cigar about half-way through just to remove the build up.

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Tom, I cut torpedos about 1/8 to 1/4" from the point. It is a smaller opening, but if it is a decent cigar you shouldn't notice and draw problems (backs? lol.gif get it...draw-backs lol.giflol.giffalling.gif)

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I agree with jeff 1/8 to 1/4 inch. I haven't found a torpedo that i didn't enjoy. I believe if a company decides to go through the trouble of making this type of cigar they usually do it right. With this size cutting you should have no problem with draw, but hell if you want more flow cut it bigger wink.gif Anyway just enjoy it. That is the whole point isn't it?

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Cigarbid is a very good source for anyone that wants to buy a hand full of domestic cigars. They are usually in good shape and a good variety is always available. They offer samplers that have a nice mix of different cigars, so you can discover what you like without breaking your Bourbon bank. If you are curious about a certain brand you can always ask the experienced folks you trust here before you buy. There are methods to truely enhancing the pleasure of smoking a good cigar but it's really all about what YOU enjoy. I can tell you without doubt that a great Bourbon and a great cigar are near flavor/sensory perfection for a member of the human species. I will be glad to help anyone with cigars and I hope you can do the same for me with Bourbon. It would be my pleasure.

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I was gonna smoke a CAO gold robusto today but I screwed up the cut and it unraveled a little bit at the end. Is this going to affect the enjoyment of the smoke terribly?? My replacement smoke was such a dog rocket that I didnt even get halfway through it, so if the CAO wont suck, I may have it yet today.

TomC

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B_Dub___Cigar_Ambassador

Sometimes you can reaffix the unraveling wrapper.

Lick the underside of the wrapper near the cap where it is beginning to unravel. Use your finger to "paste" it back on. After lighting the foot, try to keep the head of the cigar wet with your lips throughout the smoke. With any luck, the wrapper will stay in place.

On the other hand, if the wrapper begins to unravel near the foot, it's a whole different ballgame. You don't want to be trying to lick something that is on fire, heheheh. If the foot comes undone, just keep smoking if that's possible. Oftentimes, you will smoke through it with very little consequence. But if it ends up looking like a bomb exploded in the end of your cigar, you might want to chuck it and get another.

Hope this helps.

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B_Dub___Cigar_Ambassador

1)I noticed that "perfecto" cigars (like Hemingways) are closed at both ends. are you supposed to trim both ends before lighting or leave the head as is?

I just want to clarify your terminology a little bit. The "head" is near the "cap" at the top, where it goes into your mouth. The "foot" is near the bottom, where you light the cigar.

Having said that, I will reply to your question.

You would clip the cap of a perfecto or figurado just like any other cigar. But clipping the closed foot is not necessary. In fact, you don't want to clip off all that yummy excess premium wrapper tobacco at the end anyway... it really starts the cigar off on a good note! Just put it to a flame, and away you go!

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Yep, not only did that Hemingway Signature I bought taste great, but it was a cinch to light. I wondr why there arent more perfectos on the market (I did notice the Partgas Series S has a perfecto in its line)?

TomC

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