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Best Cigars for Beginners

Holt's Staff Cigar's picture

Holt's Staff

Seasoned cigar aficionados often entertain strong preferences for their favorite cigars, the result of years of experimentation and exposure to numerous brands and blends in a variety of formats. However, newcomers who are still developing a palate for premium cigars often appreciate a bit of guidance as they seek out good cigars for beginners from the many choices available today. We’ve compiled a list of six high quality cigars that display accessible flavor and aroma, perfect for encouraging your palate with a handful of popular brands, growing regions and wrapper varietals. Broaden your horizons for taste with the following selections. All of our recommendations are readily available here at Holt's and in most premium cigar retailers in the U.S.


Quick Smoking Tips for Beginners

Cutting and lighting your cigar correctly is essential to smoking it. Make sure you’ve got a proper cigar cutter and that you light your cigar evenly around the entire circumference of the foot. We’ve outlined the process for how smoke a cigar in detail, and remember do not inhale your cigar.

#1 - Ashton Classic

An ideal starting point for cigar novices is with a tasteful, mild choice of cigar. Ashton Classic is extraordinarily popular, recognized as a ‘Top 5’ premium cigar in the U.S. market and is sold in 60 countries around the world. Ashton Classic boasts a velvety smoothness, perfect for the new cigar enthusiast with a magnificent blend of aged Dominican tobaccos encased in a golden-blond Connecticut Shade wrapper. Notes of cedar, almonds and crème brulée meld perfectly with creamy Dominican spices in a deliciously flavorful profile. Ashton Classic starts out at $7.50 for a smaller format, like the Cordial and goes up to $13.50 for a Crystal Belicoso.  

Strength: Mild
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade

Ashton Classic

#2 - Macanudo Cafe

Perhaps among the most readily available mild cigars in the market, Macanudo Cafe is sold in nearly every traditional retail cigar shop, as well as a number of national chains likely to carry cigars in any capacity. An iconic mild cigar, Macanudo is a common first brand for a number of connoisseurs, due to its ubiquity and its approachable Dominican taste. Mellow flavors of coffee with cream and nutmeg deliver a profile ideally suited for those looking to acquire a taste for fine cigars in the subtlest way possible. Macanudo starts out at $6.39 for a Petit Corona and goes up to $9.99 for an 8 x 52 Prince of Wales.

Strength: Mild
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade

Macanudo Cafe

#3 - La Aroma de Cuba

Nicaragua is known for producing many of the most sought-after and Cubanesque cigars today. Legendary cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia has reimagined the profile of a famous Cuban release from the 1800s, La Aroma de Cuba, in a magnificent light. Judged the ‘#1 Cigar Industry Best Buy in the World’ by Cigar Aficionado, La Aroma de Cuba pleases with seamless, medium-bodied flavors of cedar, earth, brown sugar and nuts with a cool spice. A delightful chocolate-hued Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper embraces a tasteful amalgam of aged binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, poised to introduce a wealth of regional influences with marvelous resonance. La Aroma de Cuba is an exceptional value beginning at $5 for a 5 x 50 Rothschild and just $7.45 for a 7 x 58 El Jefe.

Strength: Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

La Aroma de Cuba

#4 - Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real

Getting acquainted with Cuban-legacy cigars (brands that originated in Cuba, even though they are presently manufactured in other regions) is bound to occur sooner than later in any formidable introduction to premium tobaccos. Among the most notable is the Romeo y Julieta brand, and the Rerserva Real blend is an excellent introduction to the Ecuador Connecticut wrapper varietal, which covers an eventful combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos. A distinctive toasty and nutty flavor is complimented by a hint of spice to offer a pleasurable and thoroughly satisfying smoke. The Reserva Real is $6.85 for a Corona. You can try a 52-ring-gauge #2 Belicoso for $8.76.

Strength: Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real

#5 - Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva

Arturo Fuente is considered the premier brand of Dominican cigars in the world. Revered cigar-makers Carlito Fuente and his father, Carlos Fuente Sr., have drafted a number of cigars over the years that not only merit a try, but have set tremendous benchmarks for flavor and aroma. The original Arturo Fuente blend delivers the brand’s rich Dominican signature for a great value. A number of formats are handcrafted in both Natural and Maduro wrapper varieties. Consistently rich notes of cedar, coffee beans, chocolate, and nuts deliver a memorable introduction to the Dominican Republic. Arturo Fuente starts out in the $5 to $6 range in its ultra-popular original Gran Reserva blend. Also consider the Chateau Series for a similar price, or the Hemingway line if you don’t mind spending $7 to $15. The brand is also responsible for a number of very rare exclusives like Fuente Fuente Opus X and Anejo, but we recommend starting with out with a milder and more readily available Fuente blend.   

Strength: Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva

#6 - Padron

If you’re a new cigar smoker who prefers a cigar with a bit more body or spice, Padron delivers a perfect jumping-off point and a considerable reputation. A medium to full-bodied profile is crafted around a rich, earthy base that is accentuated by a broad palette of flavors, including cedar, nuts, leather, and cocoa. This stellar blend of taste and texture has established Padron as one of the world’s finest Nicaraguan cigar brands year after year, making it a perfect choice for those who want to graduate from milder cigars. You can smoke the original Padron in a 5.5 x 42 Londres for $5 per cigar. The biggest shape costs $10.40 for an oversized 9 x 49 Magnum, but lasts for well over an hour.

Strength: Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua


While these six choices are simply a snapshot of high-quality cigars that newcomers can indulge in, they represent the best cigars for beginners, due to their consistency, value, and taste. Keep track of the cigars you try. Keep the bands in a cigar journal, or snap a photo of the cigars you’ve smoked on your smartphone. Remembering the blends you do and don’t like provides a reference point for what to try next.

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