Max Foulkes thinks back on his life before cigars and regrets nothing, he (the rest of us too) want you to join us, so he gives us the best cigars to begin the journey.
The key to relaxation is the abundantly flavourful blue smoke of a fine Havana cigar. As mentioned previously, after coming to this conclusion, regression to my previous smoke-free life was no longer an option. Discovery of Cuba’s main export has improved the quality of my existence and I intend to aid people in the discovery of equal enjoyment. To follow are what I believe to be the five best Havana cigars to indulge in the ignition of upon the realisation that life can be improved with the acquisition of these seemingly simple, although far from it, cylinders of matured tobacco leaf.
The Hoyo de Monterrey du Deputé, a Trabuco size cigar sharing the dimensions of the Montecristo Open Junior, is a light strength, medium flavour, 35-minute smoke. This handmade, long filler cigar hides within its willowy profile a delicate blend of leaves sure to excite the palate and relax the body. A cigar I often say can undergo intense examination or be smoked without giving a thought to. Construction is far from perfect but more consistent than other Puros of equal enjoyment times, take for example the Cohiba Siglo I or Montecristo No.5, and remains one of my favourite cigars years after my first experience with the blend. This I believe to be a cigar suitable for inexperienced smokers as well as a smoke forever present between my lips.
The Rafael Gonzales Perla (40x102) comprises of one of the lightest Cuban blends and is anything but bland. An ‘oakiness’ prevails as a saltiness subsides. A toasted quality remains present throughout the smoke with a pepper that can easily be circumvented if a leisurely smoking pace is resumed upon its detection. A superb smoke that remains readily available and for a reasonable price. Examples in packs of five from outers of 25 dated 2015 can also be found, almost as easily as current production.
The H.Upmann Regalias is a smooth, aromatic Petit Corona that can be enjoyed for over 45 minutes with a pleasant aftertaste that continues to occupy the palate longer after the cigar has been extinguished. A linear smoke lacking development but a cigar that will remain enjoyable until the very end. A staple in most cigar shops and very much at home between the blades of my cutter.
The Partagas Short, a Minuto, is a full-strength blend with a unique flavour present even within excessively youthful examples. Despite its robustness, this is an approachable smoke with notes of honey on the dry draw and the sweetness of liquorice upon ignition. For a novice smoker, I would advise the cigar best be enjoyed after a dinner in order to avoid the torpor that, on occasion, one can find oneself in as a result of consumption on an empty stomach. An expressive smoke worth taking your time with.
A cigar of a lighter profile that can provide in excess of an hour of relaxation time is the H.Upmann Connoisseur No.1. An Hermoso No.4 that is no longer as popular as it once was, leaving more for me and those that take the time out of their busy schedule to read this piece. So grassy it brings on my hay fever and so woody it leaves splinters in my lips. A solid medium flavour cigar despite its light to medium strength that deserves your undivided attention throughout the entirety of its burn time. I remain loyal to the No.1 as others have defected to the Connoisseur A, B and the Magnum 54 (all good cigars in their own right).
I hope these recommendations of mine can, in the first place, be appreciated and also help to hone your palate. I doubt all of the aforementioned cigars will be to your taste but I firmly believe that at least one of these fine smokes will provide you with the enjoyment that you most certainly deserve.