The Ultimate Beginner Cigar Sampler

May 4, 2022

Being a beginner in any new hobby can be daunting, especially in something as complex and diverse as handmade premium cigars. With thousands of options to choose from, it is hard to know where to start. There are certain recommendations out there for beginner cigars, however, we want to go the extra mile.

To go along with our specially curated Beginner Cigar Sampler, we have developed a comprehensive guide to walking you through each vitola, from where it came from, what it is made of, and what flavors you might expect throughout each stage of your smoke.

This will not only give you a greater appreciation and understanding of your experience with these cigars but also help you to develop your palate and know what to look for when you want to grow your collection!


Buy Now

The Breakdown

For each of the four cigars in the Beginners Cigar Sampler, we will fill you in on the country of origin, the blend, the strength, body, and flavor profile over the first, second, and final thirds, smoking time, and potential pairing options.

The flavors you experience from a top-quality cigar are directly related to its blending. A cigar is made up of three parts, the fillers, binder, and wrapper, which is called the blend. These parts are meticulously selected to complement each other, meld together, and create a cohesive flavor profile. Most of the flavor comes from the wrapper, but the binder and fillers provide some of the flavors as well.

Sometimes, a cigar’s flavor profile will evolve as the smoke progresses, which is why many cigar reviews are separated into thirds. You might not experience significant flavor changes with every cigar, however, having a steady and consistent flavor throughout a cigar is what many aficionados want out of their smoking experience.

A cigar’s strength and body are also dependent on the blending. Leaf from different countries, of different varietals, and even different parts of the plant can have an impact not only on the strength but also on the flavor and body. People often mistake the strength, which is the nicotine content, for the body, which is the boldness and richness of the flavors.

Flavor, body, and strength can also be affected by a cigar’s dimensions. Cigars are measured by their length and thickness. The length is measured in inches, while the thickness is measured by the ring gauge. The unit for the ring gauge is 1/64th of an inch, so a cigar with a 64-ring gauge will have a 1-inch diameter thickness.

Cigars can vary in body, strength, and flavor, so if you want to pair your cigar with an adult beverage it is important to keep this in mind. Just like how different beers and wines have varying flavor profiles and bodies, so do cigars. You want the flavors to complement each other, not drown out one or the other. Pairing mellow cigars with mellow drinks, and full-bodied cigars with bolder drinks is a general rule of thumb.

Also, keep in mind that flavors are somewhat subjective; we might say a smoke has more leather-dominant notes, while you may pick up more hints of earth. However, it is expected that we agree on basic flavor profiles like sweetness, spices, nuts, earthiness, or woodiness from a given cigar. When you are smoking your sticks, try to engage with your palate and nose to identify the flavors you experience!

Smoking time is a subjective suggestion as well. While it is wise to take your time and savor a cigar over an extended period of time to prevent burn issues and the smoke from getting too hot, it’s your smoke to enjoy however you like.

Now that you know exactly what we will be looking at for each cigar, let’s get into the thick of it!

Macanudo Hyde Park

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Connecticut

Binder: Mexican

Filler: Dominican Republic, Mexican

Cigar Strength: Medium

Kicking off the Beginner Sampler is the Macanudo Hyde Park, one of the most popular cigars in the country. Rolled in the Dominican Republic as a 5.5×49 vitola, the Hyde Park features a blend of Dominican Piloto Cubano and Mexican fillers, a Mexican binder, and a Connecticut Shade wrapper.

Connecticut Shade wrappers often have subtle, mellow flavors, so the binder and fillers need to be blended to match the intensity. You can expect a mellow-bodied smoke from this tried-and-true vitola.

From the first spark, you can expect flavors of wood and black pepper at the forefront. As the first third progresses, the black pepper eases a bit to let the wood flavor flourish into a more distinguished cedar note. You will also experience some hints of leather and milk chocolate.

The second third introduces some sweet baking spice into the mix along with a creamy nuttiness. There are still hints of black pepper behind the core flavors of cedar, chocolate, and leather from the first third.

The final third sees more of the same, with the cedar and milk chocolate continuing to be the more dominant flavors. The nuttiness and spice should be a bit richer, yet still smooth and creamy on the palate all the way to the nub. You can expect this stick to last you about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.

With its mellow body and creamy, inviting flavors with a touch of spice, we suggest you pair the Macanudo Hyde Park with an equally mellow beverage. A pilsner or blonde ale, or a light red wine like pinot noir will complement the Hyde Park instead of overpowering its flavors. If you are enjoying your Hyde Park in the morning hours, it is hard to beat a cup of creamed coffee to go along with it.


Montecristo Classic Toro

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Connecticut Shade

Binder: Dominican Republic

Filler: Dominican Republic

Cigar Strength: Medium

Montecristo is famous around the world for its refined, luxury flavors, and after one puff of the Montecristo Classic Toro, you will understand why. Founded in 1935 Cuba and inspired by Alexander Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo, after the Cuban revolution and US embargo, Montecristo found a new home in the Dominican Republic, where its cigars are produced to this day.

To provide you with a top-shelf smoking experience that lives up to its lofty name, the Montecristo Classic Toro is rolled in a 6×52 size with finely aged Dominican long filler and binder leaf that are seamlessly dressed in a stunning Connecticut Shade wrapper.

Like the Macanudo Hyde Park, you can expect mellow-bodied smoke from the Montecristo Classic Toro. Dominican tobaccos are famous for the diverse flavors and strengths that can be coaxed from them, making Dominican leaf an excellent partner to accompany a creamy Connecticut Shade wrapper.

Montecristo Classic Toro provides plenty of flavor notes right out of the gate. With a smooth mellow-bodied profile, you will experience a medley of chocolate, cedar, and a grassy note that is typical with many Connecticut-wrapped cigars. There is also an underlying sweetness reminiscent of marshmallows along with hints of baking spice.

Coming into the second third, flavors of graham cracker and leather enter the mix. The grassiness transitions to more of an earthy note, and the cedar, chocolate, and marshmallow-like sweetness remain the primary flavors. There are also hints of black pepper starting to make its way into the profile joining the baking spice.

Reaching the final third brings with it even more growth in the presence of black pepper however it is incredibly easy on the palate and balances with the rest of the flavors of chocolate, leather, cedar, earth, and sweetness. The body has increased slightly with some coffee notes on the finish. As a longer stick, the smoking time should be around an hour and a half, give or take 15 minutes.

Since the Montecristo Classic Toro has a mellow body, it is an ideal morning smoke for many aficionados to pair with an espresso or black coffee. For a more evening-oriented pairing, a good American lager or a glass of buttery chardonnay will accentuate the creamy and sweet flavors of the Montecristo Classic Toro.

Cohiba Black

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf

Filler: Dominican Republic

Cigar Strength: Medium-Full

Cohiba cigars date back to when they originated in Cuba in 1966. Established as a limited-production private brand, which was made exclusively for Fidel Castro, the Cohiba brand gradually developed a “cult” status as soon as it was released to the public in 1982.

The US Cohiba brand that we know and love is produced by the General Cigar Company, which is home to some of the most popular Cuban heritage brands on the American market. If you notice the delectable tobaccos from the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua featured in most Cohibas, that’s in part to the state-of-the-art factories that reside in those countries.

The one reason we had the Cohiba Black on a Beginner’s Cigar Guide Sampler is that not only aficionados can enjoy it, but newcomers can appreciate the luxurious experience Cohiba has to offer. Introduced in 2006 in Las Vegas, the Cohiba Black is one of the most super-premium cigars on the market seventeen years later. Cigar master, Daniel Núñez collaborated with Cohiba to create the captivating Cohiba Black. This Medium-Full Bodied dark Dominican cigar is cloaked in a scrumptious Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a Dominican binder and filler. 

Some flavor notes you may detect while smoking the Cohiba Black are raisins, char, oak, and a touch of syrup, which gives a  balanced performance throughout all three-thirds of the cigar. Cohiba is a bit on the expensive side, but totally worth the investment if you’re going to get a single, box of 8, a Pack of 10, or a box of 25 in one of the nine sizes.

Buy Now

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Connecticut Shade

Binder: Dominican Republic

Filler: Dominican Republic

Cigar Strength: Medium

Last but not least, we have a classic cigar from one of the most legendary and iconic brands to ever grace the cigar industry. First founded in 1912, Arturo Fuente Cigars has over a century of experience with crafting handmade premium cigars, and that experience and passion can be tasted in every puff. Today, almost 25 million cigars are made at Tabacalera Arturo Fuente each year with tobaccos grown on its prestigious Dominican farms.

Arturo Fuente cigars will certainly enhance your smoking experience with each puff. The core line of Arturo Fuente’s has famous brands such as the Hemingway and Opus X, but today we’re talking about the ever-so-popular Chateau Fuente.

This 4.50 x 50 medium-bodied gem has vintage Dominican Republic tobacco that makes up the binder and filler. For the wrapper, a golden Connecticut Shade wrapper cloaks over this Robusto-sized gem. Some flavor notes you’ll detect while smoking the Chateau Fuente are cedar, oak, cocoa, and cream on the backend.

Buy Now

Closing Thoughts

With a deep understanding of these beginner cigars and the cigar accessories it came with, you are well on your way to growing from a beginner to a seasoned connoisseur. After learning what you like, what you don’t, and why, you are well-prepared to dive head-first into our massive portfolio of the world’s best brands. Welcome to the world of premium handmade cigars!

Buy Now

Other Quick Tips for Beginners


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What's trending now...