Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em: Part II

New and experienced cigar smokers alike are eager to share their hobby with friends. However, a couple of questions are bound to arise the first time you decide to bring a stash of cigars to your next tailgate party. What to bring and how much to spend? While the choices and costs are practically endless, cigar experts agree on one thing: don’t over-think it.

Part II of IV. Click for Part I and Part III

“I think one mistake people make is they think they have to spend a lot of money to enjoy cigars,” says Anthony Armeno, owner of Grand Prix Cigars in Southbury, Connecticut. “I incorporate the three P’s—Pedrone, Perdomo or Petin. If you go with the three P’s, in my opinion, those are the finest cigars, bar none.” All three are brands from Nicaragua, widely considered currently the best cigar region in the world, with entry-level cigars starting at $4.

"A popular cigar I give out is the Arturo Fuente 858,” says Michael Powers, a graduate student at Clemson University and a graduate of the University of Florida. “It’s a mild but complex smoke.”

During each episode of his podcast, the Blowing Smoke Podcast, Rob Henning, who is also referred to by the moniker El Freako de Fuma, and his regular cast of miscreants sample a variety of cigars. However he often sings the praises of lines offered by 262 Cigars. “Their Paradigm line is a medium- to full-bodied smoke that is rich on flavors of chocolate and coffee,” Henning says. “It is not very spicy, so it won’t offend the newer cigar smokers, while their Ideology line is mild with tons of creamy, buttery, tobacco flavors.”

Henning’s point about not offending new cigar smokers is a good one to reiterate. Since many of the people you’ll be handing out cigars to will likely be newbies, it’s important to avoid full-bodied and spicy “pepper bombs.”

Harris Saunders, general manager of Cigars & More in Birmingham, Alabama, says he sees an uptick in business when football season kicks off, with many of his customers picking up relatively inexpensive brands that appeal to a variety of palates. “Most of the guys that buy for their tailgates get something that’s kind of mild to medium and somewhere in the six to nine dollar range, such as Ashton Classic and Rome y Julieta,” says Saunders.

Bottom line is this: if you’re heading to a tailgate this weekend and want to give a few cigars as a show of gratitude, go for a mild to medium smoke and don’t worry too much about the price tag. Remember, gifted cigar is an appreciated cigar.