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How to Build a Cigar Collection: A Buying Guide

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

You’ve finally taken the plunge and picked up your first humidor. Now it’s time to fill it up. Starting a cigar collection is exciting. There are many excellent cigars to consider today. Take your time and figure out what brands and sizes stand out to you the most.

It’s good to sample a range of different cigars before you blow your budget on a full box. You don’t have to build your cigar collection all at once. Buying single cigars or samplers makes sense to expose your palate to the blends that will inevitably become your favorites. Follow our Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Starting Your Cigar Collection.


Keep Track of What You Smoke

When you’re firing up a new cigar for the first time, take out your phone and snap a picture of the band. Record a few notes about its region, tasting notes, and whether or not you liked it. Rely on cigars that you’ve smoked in the past to guide your future selections. Knowing a cigar’s brand, its cigar-maker, and where its tobaccos come from can lead to other options you will also enjoy.

Premium handmade cigars are available in many varieties today. Key tobacco-growing regions include the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, and more. Wrapper leaves are cultivated in Connecticut, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Mexico’s prized San Andrés region, and others. Each territory imparts a different flavor profile. Ultimately, though, the cigar-maker is responsible for aging and blending the many tobaccos that make up the cigar you taste.

Get Different Cigars for Different Occasions

Some cigars are creamy and mild, while others are spicy, earthy, and intense. You might prefer one kind of cigar in the morning and another after dinner. It’s good to have a mix of cigars in your collection. Get different brands, strengths, and shapes. Get some cigars you can chomp on while you do yard work or relax on the golf course. Save some special occasion cigars for milestones like graduations, promotions, birthdays, and anniversaries.

Keep Some Handouts On Hand

Once your pals get word you’ve got a cigar collection going, there’s always a potential for cigar-pilferers to come crawling out of the woodwork. Keep a few cigar bundles tucked away. They don’t have to be bad cigars; they just have to be cheap.

Decide On a Budget

Handcrafted cigars range in price from less than a buck apiece to $20, $30, or more for one cigar. Get a calculator out and do some quick math to figure out how much it will cost to fill up your humidor with cigars that you want to smoke. There are amazing everyday cigars for $5-10, pricier limited editions for $15-20 or more, and everything in between. The best cigars on a budget will likely become part of your regular smoking rotation.

10 Great Cigars to Buy to Start Your Collection

If you’re still learning the basics, here are ten excellent cigars to curate your first cigar collection. Our suggestions include an array of popular cigar-makers, wrapper varietals, and growing regions.

#1 - Arturo Fuente Hemingway

Arturo Fuente Hemingway belongs in every cigar collection. It’s among the highest-quality cigars to feature a Cameroon wrapper. Renowned cigar-maker Carlito Fuente has been blending Hemingway for decades. A luscious profile of cinnamon, coffee beans, and baking spices culminates in an impeccable series of Figurado formats like the Short Story and Signature.

Strength: Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon

Arturo Fuente Hemingway

#2 - Ashton Cabinet Selection

Ashton Cabinet Selection is legendary for its creamy and approachable profile as well as its age. The blend makes an excellent addition to a new cigar collection because few mild cigars are as rich and complex as Ashton Cabinet Selection. You can enjoy it any time of the day and appreciate the vintage taste and aroma it produces with notes of cedar, almonds, and spices with a touch of honey.

Strength: Mild-Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade

Ashton Cabinet Selection

#3 - La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor

Celebrated cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia blends La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor to an award-winning standard. A lustrous San Andrés wrapper leaf embraces an intricate core of vintage Nicaraguan long-fillers. Tasting notes include espresso beans, hickory, black pepper, nougat, and nuts in a marvelous transition of flavors. It’s easy to understand why an overwhelming demand for San Andrés wrappers exists with the rich flavor created in Mi Amor.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: San Andres

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor

#4 - San Cristobal Revelation

San Cristobal Revelation presents an excellent marriage of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos beneath a milk-chocolate-hued Ecuador Sumatra wrapper leaf. Notes of caramel, black pepper, oak, and cocoa converge in a tangy, earthy finish. The blend is superb right off the shelf or with a bit of extra age if you choose to age it for a while.

Strength: Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra

San Cristobal Revelation

#5 - Flor de las Antillas

Pepin Garcia and his son, Jaime Garcia, scored their first ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ title with Flor de las Antillas. Add it to your collection as an example of an exceptional Nicaraguan Puro. A balanced profile of cayenne, cedar, pepper, and baking spices concludes in a cool and easy-drawing box-pressed shape.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

Flor de las Antillas

#6 - Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro

The top-rated taste of Padron blossoms with notes of cocoa, coffee beans, cinnamon, cedar, and cayenne in a traditional assortment of box-pressed shapes. A rich recipe of all-Nicaraguan tobaccos has set the brand apart for years and earned a steady stream of ‘Top 10 Cigars of the Year’ appearances in Cigar Aficionado. Padron belongs in every serious connoisseur’s collection.

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

Padron 1964 Anniversary

#7 - Oliva Master Blends 3

Oliva Master Blends 3 hails from the brand’s award-winning factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Originally conceived as a limited edition, Master Blends 3 commands a tremendous audience with a bold but balanced taste throughout a sweet and spicy finish. A gorgeous Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper enrobes a well-aged recipe of Nicaraguan tobaccos in a profile of dark chocolate, leather, earth, and black pepper.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Oliva Master Blends 3

#8 - Montecristo

You can’t ignore the classic appeal of a famous Cuban-legacy label like Montecristo. The creamy Dominican-made cigar is crafted from a golden Connecticut Shade wrapper and a mellow amalgam of Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. Notes of coffee with cream, buttered toast, and cedar harbor a touch of spice.

Strength: Mild
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade


#9 - Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne

Brand founder Nick Perdomo satisfies aficionados and newcomers with Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne. A light-tan Ecuador Connecticut wrapper leaf conceals a nutty core of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. White pepper and coffee bean notes emerge in a collection of bigger ring gauge cigars. Add a consistent Nicaraguan handmade to your stash for a great value.

Strength: Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut

Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne

#10 - Rocky Patel Renaissance

Rocky Patel Renaissance combines a big name brand with budget-loving prices in a reliable 20-count bundle. Fortify your collection with 90-rated Honduran-made gems you can proudly pass out to your pals on poker night knowing the construction, taste, and room note will go over glowingly. Fresh pepper, earth, wood, and coffee beans surface in chewy profile from celebrity cigar-maker Rocky Patel.

Strength: Medium
Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra

Rocky Patel Renaissance


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