Cigars

9 Best Cigars for Beginners (All Tastes and Budgets)

Everyone starts somewhere, and I can definitely remember feeling overwhelmed when I first got into cigars.

So many sizes, shapes, flavors, and blends. It’s a lot to take in.

I’ve guided several friends of mine through their first few stogies, and have picked up a few insights on the best cigars for beginners that I felt it was only fair to share.

If you’re starting out, there are three main factors you’re going to want to consider:

Strength and Tobacco Blend – New smokers should prioritize mellow and mild blends. You don’t want to be bombarded by heavy smoke and overly-complicated flavor palates. It’s better to choose something lighter that presents 2 or 3 main notes simply and cleanly.

Size (Length and Ring-gauge) – Pick something modest. A standard size like a 5-inch Robusto is fine, but I’d probably recommend something more slender like a Petit Corona for a 30-minute smoke that won’t leave you feeling unwell.

Price – As a beginner, there is absolutely no reason why you should be buying any smokes that cost more than $15 a stick. Believe me, there are plenty of quality options out there in the sub $10 category. Tobacconists who pressure you into expensive stogies don’t have your best interests at heart.

Also – one thing I can’t emphasize enough – make sure you’re choosing handmade cigars. 

Machine-made cigars are normally chemically treated, and it robs the smoke of a lot of its natural flavor. This is not the first impression of cigars you deserve.

 
Top Pick
Pack of 10
4.5
4.5
4.4
Check Price
Check Price
$20.79
Pros:
  • A thick and creamy smoke that is mellow without being boring.
  • Top-tier construction with firm ash and an even burn.
Pros:
  • Sweeter notes of cocoa and vanilla on an earthy green base.
  • Amazing value for money at just $3.50 per cigar.
Pros:
  • Soft accords of fresh hay, creamed coffee, and subtle cedarwood.
  • A 30-minute smoke that is perfect for a coffee break.
4.5
Check Price
Pros:
  • A thick and creamy smoke that is mellow without being boring.
  • Top-tier construction with firm ash and an even burn.
Top Pick
4.5
Check Price
Pros:
  • Sweeter notes of cocoa and vanilla on an earthy green base.
  • Amazing value for money at just $3.50 per cigar.
Pack of 10
4.4
$20.79
Pros:
  • Soft accords of fresh hay, creamed coffee, and subtle cedarwood.
  • A 30-minute smoke that is perfect for a coffee break.

My top pick for rookies is the Arturo Fuente Chateau Natural. From one of the best brands on the planet, these mild smokes bring touches of cocoa and vanilla to a slightly earthy base. 

And they only cost $3.50 each. If you’re here for value for money, this is the way to go.

I’ll also give a quick shout out the Macanudo Cafe Ascots. These slender, mellow sticks bring plenty of creaminess and are perfect for when you’re on the move.

So, let’s get into it.

TOP PICKS

9 Best Cigars for Beginners

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente: Best Cigar for Beginners Overall

Davidoff Grand Cru Series No.3: Best Mild Cigar for Beginners

Macanudo Cafe Ascots: Best Small Cigar for Beginners

CAO Gold Robusto: Best Beginners Cigar with More Complexity

Fat Bottom Betty Drew Estate: Best Sweet Cigar for Beginners

Factory Smokes Maduro Robusto Drew Estate: Best Maduro Cigar for Beginners

Padrón Damaso: Another Excellent Padron Cigar for Beginners

Drew Estate Tabak Especial: Best Coffee Flavored Cigar for Beginners

Padron Series Londres: Best Padron Cigar for Beginners

9 Best Cigars for Beginners

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente – Best Cigar for Beginners Overall

Chateau Fuente is one of the harder Arturo Fuente cigars to find, but if you can get hold of a box you certainly get the rewards.

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente
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Sweeter notes of cocoa and vanilla on an earthy green base.

Amazing value for money at just $3.50 per cigar.

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This smooth and aromatic smoke is a memorable blend that draws upon natural accords of hay and greenery, with evocative hints of leather and crushed black pepper.

As the smoke develops, sweeter notes of cocoa and vanilla arrive to lend Chateau Fuentes a gourmand quality and brighten up the earthiness.

This beautifully wrapped cigar burns evenly, and holds ash very well – it lasted almost half the cigar for me, and that was in the garden with a breeze.

This is the perfect cigar to buy a box of to dish out to rookies – they will think you’re gifting them much more than a $3.50 cigar.

Each cigar comes beautifully presented in a sleeve of Spanish cedar, and opening them feels like a real “event” – perfect for capturing the imagination of beginners.

StrengthMedium
ShapeRothschild
Size4 1/2 x 50
CountryDominican Republic
ColorNatural
Wrapper OriginEcuadorian
Wrapper LeafConnecticut Shade
Arturo Fuente Chateau Natural Stats

Davidoff Grand Cru Series No.3 – Best Mild Cigar for Beginners

If I had to introduce a beginner to Davidoff cigars, this is where I would start. With thick and creamy smoke, this mellow smoke is accessible without being boring.

Davidoff Grand Cru Series No. 3 Davidoff Grand Cru Series No. 3
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Ever-so-slight inflections of spice and sweetness in this thick and creamy smoke.

An easy smoke with firm ash and zero touch-ups required.

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There are ever-so-slight inflections of spice and sweetness that will give you and the rookie something to notice and talk about, but you can be pretty sure they’ll be able to finish their smoke without feeling overpowered.

As you’ll find common across Davidoff cigars, the Grand Cru Series benefits from top-tier construction. The burn doesn’t require maintenance, the ash is firm, and the whole experience is hassle-free. 

The only drawback worth noting is that this stogie can get a little harsh toward the end – but I’m really only talking about the last few hits. As long as you’re not trying to smoke it down to the nub, you’ll be absolutely fine.

StrengthMellow
ShapeCorona
Size5 x 43
CountryDominican Republic
ColorNatural
Wrapper OriginEcuadorian
Wrapper LeafConnecticut Shade
Davidoff Grand Cru Series No.3 Stats

Macanudo Cafe Ascots – Best Small Cigar for Beginners

Macanudo Cafes Ascots are a creamy and mild cigar perfect for rookies. There’s enough complexity to keep things interesting, but without overwhelming you in terms of harshness or nicotine. 

Pack of 10
Macanudo Cafe Ascots Macanudo Cafe Ascots
$20.79

30 – 40 minutes of smoking time – convenient for a lunch break or quick catch-up over a coffee.

Easy-going, smooth smoking with high-quality tobacco.



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Instead, you have got soft accords of fresh hay, creamed coffee, and subtle cedarwood. The overall flavor is slightly sweet –  but in a natural way.

The smokes have a golden brown, silky smooth Connecticut Shade wrapper and come in pocket-sized tins of ten. They do a great job of protecting your cigars from getting squashed, as well as keeping them fresh by retaining humidity. 

Macanudo Cafe Ascosts take around 30 minutes to smoke. This is not a gas station cigarillo that evaporates in a few drags, but it’s still perfect for a shorter session with morning coffee or with an aperitif after dinner.

I like Cafes for when I’m on the move and don’t have time to plonk myself down for a long leisurely smoke. Situations like road trips, for example.

The Dominican and Mexican fillers are a beautiful representation of rich tobacco, but with shades of toasted marshmallow thrown in for good measure.

It’s very easy to smoke. Smooth, relaxing, and – most importantly – delicious.

I was really impressed by the construction and the consistency of the burn and draw throughout the smoke. I sometimes find that smaller cigars can suffer from an annoyingly tight draw, but was pleased to find that was decidedly not the case here.

StrengthMellow
ShapeCigarillo
Size4 3/16 x 32
CountryDominican Republic
ColorNatural
Wrapper OriginConnecticut
Wrapper LeafConnecticut Shade
Macanudo Cafe Ascots Stats

CAO Gold Robusto – Best Beginners Cigar with More Complexity

For beginners, CAO Golds are a great step up from mellow cigars to something a little more flavorful.

CAO Gold Robusto CAO Gold Robusto
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A great step up from mellow cigars to something a little more flavorful.

Pairs perfectly with a coffee in the morning.

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Their velvety smoke brings creamy notes of vanilla and nutmeg, helped along by a touch of delicate spice and cedar to keep things tasting serious. The balance here is excellent, with just the right amount of each element in a cigar that tastes far more expensive than it is.

It’s one of my go-to’s to pair with a morning coffee when I’m looking for something mellow and flavorful – or just as a solid bet when I don’t exactly know what I feel like smoking

These handmade cigars look pretty impressive, too. The golden Ecuadorian wrapper looks incredibly clean and adds to the sense that you’re smoking a premium product

The quality wrapper helps with the slow, even burn that tastes consistently smooth for the full hour. In terms of sizing, just know that Robusto is definitely the play to make. The CAO Gold Corona is slightly cheaper, but the draw is too tight in my experience.

StrengthMellow
ShapeCorona
Size5 1/2 x 42
CountryNicaragua
ColorNatural
Wrapper OriginEcuadorian
Wrapper LeafConnecticut Shade
CAO Gold Robusto Stats

Fat Bottom Betty Drew Estate – Best Sweet Cigar for Beginners

The Fat Bottom Betty is a great pick for beginners looking to graduate from gas station cigars to something a little heftier. The sweetened tip will divide opinion, but this is a top-tier smoke that ebbs and evolves throughout the 45-minute session.

Box of 10
Fat Bottom Betty Fat Bottom Betty
$81.99

A medium-bodied cigar that packs plenty of flavor without being aggressive.

Ideal for people ready to move on from mild beginner cigars to something more substantial.

Takes around 45 minutes to smoke, which is a convenient session time.

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They’re also chunky. Each cigar comes in at 5” and weighs 54 grams, so the fat bottom reputation certainly isn’t plucked out of thin air.

The Connecticut Maduro leaf wrapper is a beautiful dark brown tone. It’s sleek and smooth, harboring the oils from the tobacco leaf which lend a sheen to the exterior.

When you put a Fat Bottom Betty to your lips, you’ll get a sense of what it’s all about – before you even light it. They use a characteristic sweetened tip, similar to the one Drew Estate use in their Acid line. 

The tip had basically worn off by the time I was a third of the way through the cigar. The blend itself is incredibly warm and creamy, with notes of coffee and earthiness interspersed with dark chocolate sweetness. It’s wonderfully balanced with touches of incense and florals that add some sophisticated nuance

Nicaraguan pepper and nutmeg emerge towards the end of the smoke, for a spiced final act that newcomers and veterans alike will appreciate.

StrengthMellow
ShapeRobusto
Size5 x 54
CountryNicaragua
ColorMaduro
Wrapper OriginConnecticut
Wrapper LeafBroadleaf
Fat Bottom Betty Drew Estate Stats

Factory Smokes Maduro Robusto Drew Estate – Best Maduro Cigar for Beginners

This is an excellent Maduro for the price. This Nicaraguan treat delivers shades of cocoa and suede in a medium-bodied blend, with just a hint of sweetness to mellow things out.

Factory Smokes Maduro Robusto Factory Smokes Maduro Robusto
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For the price, this is a five-star cigar. Shockingly good.

A medium-bodied blend with shades of cocoa and suede.

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It burns with a beautiful aroma that even non-smokers seem to enjoy, too.

The guys at Drew Estate know how to make expertly constructed budget cigars, and the construction and burn here are familiarly impeccable. To the draw, this thing feels like something from Padron or Davidoff.


There are obviously better Maduros out there – but for the price, this is a five-star cigar. Shockingly good.

I only have one complaint – I’ve found that one or two of these have had a tight draw as a fluke. Nothing a little fit of finger rolling doesn’t fix, though.

Check out my full guide to the best Maduro cigars for more.

StrengthFull
ShapeGordo
Size6 x 60
CountryNicaragua
ColorMaduro
Wrapper OriginProprietary
Wrapper LeafMaduro
Factory Smokes Maduro Robusto Drew Estate Stats

Padrón Damaso – Another Excellent Padron Cigar for Beginners

Personally, I find Damaso’s a little too mild most of the time – but this is a great cigar for friends or clients who are only smoking because everyone else is.

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A great cigar for clients who are smoking only because everyone else is. Easy to handle, deliciously sweet through the middle, with zero maintenance or touch-ups required. Razor-sharp burn line in this Vitola.

It will never overpower you, so it suits the height of the day in summer where a thick Maduro is going to be too much. 

Damasos would be a staple of my humidor if they were just a little bit cheaper – but if you prefer milder cigars, you’ll find these represent good value. I just prefer something fuller, personally.

StrengthMellow
ShapeToro
Size6 x 52
CountryNicaragua
ColorNatural
Wrapper OriginEcuadorian
Wrapper LeafConnecticut Shade
Padrón Damaso Stats

Drew Estate Tabak Especial – Best Coffee Flavored Cigar for Beginners

Another coffee-infused cigar, but this time without the chocolate dimension. This is pure espresso-y goodness resting on a bed of Sumatra and Nicaraguan smoky goddess.

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The sort of stogie that makes you think you’re smoking a cup of coffee. They’re perfect for the morning as you’re waking up and plotting your day.

This smoke comes with a choice of two wrappers – but I’d recommend the Dulce variant for beginners looking for something smooth and mild.

It’s a bronze, light Connecticut wrapper that delivers an uncomplicated, medium-bodied smoke.

The famous Drew Estate sweep cap grabs your attention from the second it touches your lips and adds just the right amount of sweetness to the dominant coffee accord.

Tabaks last for between 20 and 30 minutes, which makes them a great on-the-go option. A cool, easy draw that never gets hot or prickly – even down to the nub.

I also really appreciate the two-way humidity packages these arrived with. They felt factory fresh, and it means you can store these stogies without a humidor for at least a couple of months.

The only downside is that these smokes only come in packs of 10 – so you’ll have to buy a couple at a time because you will get through them.

StrengthMedium
ShapeRobusto
Size5 x 54
CountryNicaragua
ColorNatural
Wrapper OriginConnecticut
Wrapper LeafConnecticut Shade
Drew Estate Tabak Especial Stats

Padron Series Londres – Best Padron Cigar for Beginners

The Londres series is probably my favorite day-to-day smoke from Padron. The classic Nicaraguan tobacco I’ve grown to love from Padron is allowed to speak for itself in this uncomplicated, creamy stogie.

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Compared to other Padrons it’s a little milder, and the best pick for anyone looking to get a baseline for the world of Padron cigars. It’s as smooth as a mild cigar with hints of sweet honey, but with enough prickly pepper and earthy leather to keep things interesting

Construction is top-notch, with firm ash and consistent for the whole duration. Okay, maybe the last inch gets a little sharp, but you get the idea

Londres is inexpensive, but still brings out the quality you expect from a brand like Padron. You really could charge 3 – 4 times as much for a cigar like this.

StrengthFull
ShapeCorona
Size5 1/2 x 42
CountryNicaragua
ColorNatural
Wrapper OriginNicaraguan
Wrapper LeafHabano
Padron Series Londres Stats

Famous Smokes Easy-Smoking Sampler –  Best Cigar Sampler for Beginners

Cigar samplers are a great way to try a range of smokes before committing to a box. That way, you can find out which notes suit your plate best and get closer to your signature stogie more quickly.

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This Easy Smoking bundle from Famous Smoke Shop comes with 8 sticks, so you and a buddy can work 4 of the most popular mellow cigars on the market.

It includes:

  • Montecristo White Rothchilde: Buttery, woodsy goodness.
  • Avo Classic Robusto: A mellow Dominican blend with a touch of white pepper.
  • Oliva Connecticut Robusto: Earthy sweetness that never overpowers.
  • Cohiba Blue Robusto: Caramel, dried fruit, and black coffee. A true finger burner.

Plus, buying these cigars together in a bundle lets you save 39% on the retail price – so it’s a no-brainer for any rookie looking to fill out their humidor.


 
Top Pick
Pack of 10
4.5
4.5
4.4
Check Price
Check Price
$20.79
Pros:
  • A thick and creamy smoke that is mellow without being boring.
  • Top-tier construction with firm ash and an even burn.
Pros:
  • Sweeter notes of cocoa and vanilla on an earthy green base.
  • Amazing value for money at just $3.50 per cigar.
Pros:
  • Soft accords of fresh hay, creamed coffee, and subtle cedarwood.
  • A 30-minute smoke that is perfect for a coffee break.
4.5
Check Price
Pros:
  • A thick and creamy smoke that is mellow without being boring.
  • Top-tier construction with firm ash and an even burn.
Top Pick
4.5
Check Price
Pros:
  • Sweeter notes of cocoa and vanilla on an earthy green base.
  • Amazing value for money at just $3.50 per cigar.
Pack of 10
4.4
$20.79
Pros:
  • Soft accords of fresh hay, creamed coffee, and subtle cedarwood.
  • A 30-minute smoke that is perfect for a coffee break.

How to Smoke a Cigar for the First Time

Smoking a cigar can be a little intimidating for rookies, but once you strip it back, it’s not that complicated: 

How to light a cigar properly

We have a full guide on how to light a cigar the right way, but here are the main points:

Toast the Foot

You can toast the foot by holding your cigar at a 45-degree angle and gently warming it with your flame. Do this instead of holding the cigar straight up to avoid burning all of the filler tobacco inside. Toasting the foot ensures an even burn and prevents charring the tobacco

Use the right lighter – or matches

A blue flame is much hotter than a soft yellow flame, so if you’re using a blue flame just make sure it never touches the rim or the filler tobacco. Just hold the cigar above the flame and let the heat rise. Be patient, or you’ll risk charring the tobacco and tasting a bitter flavor.

Lighters are alright, but my preference is to use a match since that would denote a soft yellow flame. I feel that tradition is tied into the ritual of lighting a cigar and using matches just feels more gentlemanly. 

It’s best to buy cigar matches because they don’t contain sulfur or emit any odor. Also, cigar matches are a bit longer, meaning they can maintain the flame a little longer. 

Smoking a Cigar

Cigars contain a lot of nicotine. If you want to avoid getting too much of a buzz, you need to make sure you don’t inhale.

Hold the smoke in your mouth, allow it to swirl around, and then gently exhale. Take between 45 seconds and a minute between draws to fully appreciate the flavor and keep the burn nice and consistent.

Most beginners might instinctively pair their cigar with a coffee or whiskey, but those bold flavors can mask the taste of the cigar itself – particularly if you’re starting out with something mild.

Instead, I recommend taking sips of sparkling water along with your smoke to cleanse your palate without corrupting the flavor of the cigar.

How Much Should You Spend on a Beginner Cigar?

You can get hold of plenty of top-quality beginner cigars for between 10 and 15 dollars per stick.

There’s really no reason to pay any more than that unless you’re trying to show off. You’re generally paying for complexity and nuance, which beginners are unlikely to be able to fully appreciate anyway.

It’s far better to go for a simple, mellow smoke that presents 2 – 3 main notes well.

Conversely, steer clear of any cigars that are too cheap. Stogies that cost a couple of dollars are likely to be of poor quality and taste too harsh to enjoy. 

What’s the Best Size Cigar for a Beginner?

Cigar newbies should start with something relatively short and manageable like a 5-inch Robusto, or a slender Petit Corona.

Anything too large is likely to overwhelm you, or you might not even finish it. Either way, it’s not going to be a pleasant experience if you bite off more than you can chew.

Large cigars are generally more expensive too, and it would be better to buy a variety of smaller cigars so you can begin to taste a few different flavors and find what is best for you.

What’s the Best Place to Buy Beginner Cigars Online?

It’s hard to believe with over 17 million cigar smokers just in the US that there are little more than a dozen quality online cigar stores. Now of course there are small shops all over that sell online cigars, but just don’t come up on any broad google search.

Most will let you down somewhere – if they have good shipping, they’re expensive. If they’re the right price, you’ll lack a proper guarantee.

My favorite online cigar store – Famous Smoke Shop -strikes a great balance, and most importantly – they’re reliable.

There’s nothing worse than your cigars arriving late, not showing up at all, or receiving dried-out stogies in terrible condition.

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