The best way to begin smoking a cigar is to buy a cigar and smoke it right away. This can be done either at a local tobacconist, a cigar lounge or in the company of friends or family who already enjoy smoking. Ideally, just as you learn to crawl before you walk, it’s wise to procure a mellow to medium bodied cigar. Selecting one that’s too strong can either result in a poor experience thanks to a palate not accustomed to its richness, or worse, becoming intoxicated from the cigar which replicates the symptoms of alcohol intoxication but without the buzz.
The second most important step in selecting a cigar is to choose one that’s well made. Inexpensive machine-made cigars won’t give you the same experience as a finely aged hand-rolled cigar. Many of the cheaper sticks use chemical agents and the risk of becoming sick is far greater than if you choose one from a reputable brand.
If you’re purchasing the cigar at a tobacconist or lounge, be upfront with the purveyor and tell them you’re brand new to cigar smoking. Ask for their advice, but be clear you want a milder cigar that you can smoke in about 30 minutes and has been in the humidor for a while and therefore ready to smoke. Keep in mind that each cigar, like a fine wine, will have its own flavor profile. Just because you didn’t enjoy one, doesn’t mean you won’t like the next.
Once you’ve selected the cigar, ask them if you can borrow a guillotine cutter. Most cigar establishments will be happy to lend you a cutter.