As in any situation where personal taste is a factor, there are no rules for selecting a cigar. The wide variety of styles, brands and sizes make delineating a set of rules an impossible task. However, there are a few very general guiding principles which may be of some help.

Wrapper color: Filler blend contributes the majority of a cigar’s flavor, but the color of the wrapper can offer a clue. Lighter wrappers generally indicate a milder flavor.

Ring gauge: As apprentices learn their craft on smaller cigars, the larger ones tend to be the best constructed. In addition, their thicker girth allows more ligero tobacco to be used in the filler, yielding a richer, fuller taste.

It is suggested that those new to the pleasures of cigar smoking emulate the cigar-rolling apprentices and start with smaller cigars. A panatela in a laro wrapper is a good beginner’s choice. By starting slowly, the novice smoker can grow into a deeper appreciation of the artistry of a fine cigar.

Most connoisseurs have a particular favorite, but variety provides spice to each of life’s occasions. A fine cigar provides a satisfying finish to a fine meal, and matching smoke to cuisine enriches the experience. A light lunch would call for a light cigar; a rich dinner settles well as a Churchill or double corona is savored. A similar consideration impels the smoker to choose lighter cigars earlier in the day, saving the bigger, fuller- bodied choice for the relaxation of an evening.

As we said, personal taste should be the smoker’s guide. Personal taste can only be developed through experience. Fortunately, this is a very enjoyable process.