What are the best cigars to give a new cigar smoker?

We have all been in the dilemma right? You are a cigar aficionado, in fact you rarely bat an eye spending up to $20 on a single cigar. Yet now you have some friends visiting and it’s time to break out the cigars and your cigar newbie friends would like to partake in the festivities. What do you do?

The dilemma…

The problem is… if you pass out $100 worth of Padron Anniversarios it’s likely your friends may not appreciate the delicacy of such a complex and expensive smoke, yet at the same time you want you friends to enjoy a fine cigar so you certainly don’t want to give them some cheap $1 stick that might have a horrible draw and harsh flavors. As a cigar lover you certainly don’t want to be the reason that all of your friends end up hating cigars, it’s your responsibility to provide new cigar smokers with a pleasant cigar smoking experience. Keep in mind most folks think a fine cigar can be purchased at the grocery store, therefore your task in gifting just the right cigar can be a tricky one. Just imagine the horror of seeing some cigar newbie smoking just a half inch of your Tatuaje Black Label, losing interest and leaving it stranded in the ash tray. Or even worse handing out such cheap cigars that all your friends are coughing, hacking, and questioning why you like these horrible things.

Cigars that are good for new cigar smokers

That’s why every cigar smoker should have a selection of cigars in their humidor that are affordable yet tasty and interesting for a new smoker for just this occasion. Lets set some rules here, and lets determine the things we need to look for in a cigar that is targeted for a new cigar smoker:

  1. Inexpensive. A inexpensive cigar should fall under $5 per stick mark. Any cigar over $5 might be a waste since it’s likely a newer smoker may not enjoy smoking in the first place so why risk a super premium on a new smoker?
  2. Easy draw. A cigar for a new smoker needs to have an easy draw, the last thing you want is to have a new smoker huffing and puffing just to find flavor. Furthermore, new cigar smokers tend to smoke too quickly heating up the cigar so if you are there to coach them to slow down you want the cigar they are smoking to be easy to draw so they can work less for the flavor.
  3. Quality construction. A good cigar for a newbie should have a good burn, you really want to avoid having your friends worrying more about relighting the cigar than the flavors they are trying to appreciate. Smoking a good cigar shouldn’t require much effort.
  4. Interesting flavors. New cigar smokers want to be blown away by interesting flavors. After all, the very fact that they are smoking means they probably feel like they are secretly taking a walk on the wild side. Give them something to remember, something with flavor.
  5. Size matters. For a new cigar smoker choose a robusto size stick. Robustos are easy to cut, light, handle, and smoke. A new cigar smoker doesn’t want to feel overwhelmed by the cigar smoking experience and a robusto is a great size to “ease” them into the hobby.
  6. Middle ground. I wouldn’t pick a cigar too mild, nor too strong in either flavor or nicotine kick. Cigars that are too mild might not be interesting enough to grab a new cigar smokers attention yet something too strong might have them barfing in the bathroom which is never a good way to introduce someone to cigar smoking.

Therefore with those things in mind below are my picks for the best cigars to give to a new cigar smoker. Any of the following cigars are smokable even for the most experienced cigar smoker so it’s not as if by having these stocked in your humidor you can’t enjoy them just as much as the the new smoker. In fact I recommend smoking the same cigar you give to your friends, nothing says “cigar snob” more than when you smoke a different cigar than the one you pass out to your buddies.

#5 – CAO MX2

The CAO MX2 is a great starter stick it produces a excellent amount of nice white smoke and the burn is nearly perfect no relights will be required for your new cigar smoking friend. The taste of the tobacco on the tongue is subdued but still very pleasant and the draw is snug but not in a bad way. The is a great cigar to have on hand to pass out to friends and it’s also nice to smoke in the morning paired with a cup of coffee.

CAO MX2 Rating and Review

#4 – Cubao No. 2

The Cubao No. 2 is a Cuban styled cigar therefore you can explain to your newbie cigar friends that “hey this is a lot what a Cuban cigar is like”, and they will all “Oooooo” and “ahhhh”. This cigar has a great draw, great burn, and very interesting flavors.

Cubao #2 great for new cigar smokers

#3 – Pinar Del Rio Seleccion Reserva Limitado

The Pinar Del Rio Seleccion Reserva Limitado is one of my favorite cigars and it’s also a great cigar for a newbie mainly because it’s so luxurious. It also looks like it cost a million bucks with it’s fancy label and silk foot band. This cigar screams luxury!! Surely your friends will think you are giving them the very best “top shelf” cigar available. And the cigar performs just as well with rich, deep flavor and delicious oily coating on the mouth will be sure to still be on the palate the next morning.

Pinar Del Rion Seleccion great for new cigar smokers

#2 – Espinosa Habano Robusto

This medium bodied cigar will certainly not cause your newbie friend to start choking and gagging, instead it will cause your newbie friend to instantly know why you love cigar smoking so much. Tons of mouth watering flavor that will fill your palette with a delicious semi-sweet flavor of your grandmothers spice cabinet. The tasty flavor of this cigar will linger on your mind all day long. The burn is impeccable and the price on these cigars would be worth it at triple the cost. The Espinosa Habano has quickly become one of my favorite medium bodied cigars on the market.

Espinosa Maduro Cigar

#1 – Gran Habano Corojo #5

The reason this cigar is my top pick for a new cigar smoker is it has such an inviting, interesting, and deep carmel, leather flavor that everyone who tries it says… “whoa… that tastes great!”. You just can’t go wrong with this cigar and it certainly tastes like it cost a lot more than the sub $5 price tag. Juicy, savory, leathery, notes with a distinct carmel sweetness make this cigar a hit for any new cigar smoker. Add that to the fact that the Gran Habano Corojo #5 has a perfect burn, easy draw, and produces voluminous and satisfying amounts of thick smoke.

Gran Habano corojo #5 rating and review

For about 2 bucks it’s tough to beat this smoke. Great for a new cigar smoker.

I make a point to keep some of these types of cigars in my humidor so I have them to smoke and to give out to friends who have never smoked a cigar before. Cigars like these are innexpensive yet perform in such a way making cigar smoking more inviting to the newer or less experienced cigar smoker.

I would love to get your comments below on cigars that you think are good for new cigar smokers.

RELATED!! You may also like: The 5 best non-Cuban cigars

  • Scott

    Anything 5 Vega is a good bet also

  • Ken

    I am having trouble finding the Cubao No. 2. Seems to be sold out (or only available in boxes) everywhere I look. Any tips for finding a 5-pack or a single somewhere? Of not what’s a good substitution? Thanks!


    • Sumatra Samurai

      Good news, Cubao is back! Look for it coming to online shops in the next few weeks

  • I’ve smoker #4 and #1 and really enjoyed both sticks.

  • Agreed. I was just relooking at this list and thought “I wonder if Sensai is going to update this anytime soon”

  • awesome

  • Tate

    I cannot seem to find any of these cigars for under $7 or $8 each. Where do you recommend I order them from?

    • Two things….

      1. Most of these cigars will come up on CigarMonster for a ridiculously low price for a 5-pack.

      2. This list probably needs to be updated because a lot has changed since we wrote it. 🙂

  • Kevin

    what about Trinidad Paradox sticks, I was told by a cigar enthusiast friend of mine that those are great starter cigars.

  • And cannot forget about JAVA and JAVA MINT ….!!!!!

  • This is a good list, but when looking to introduce new people to the passion of Premium Cigars, this would be my selections: (In NO order).

    1. ACID Cigars.
    2. Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real.
    3. Rocky Patel Vintage.
    4. Tabak Especial or Isla de Sol.
    5. Montecrsito Ct Shade. (Any).
    6. ACID Krush Classics.
    7. Macanudo Ct Shade.

    Yes, I know that there are Drew Estate on this list, but between us, Romeo Reserva Real and Macanudo – that’s where most people get introduced to premium and stick with it.

    As Master S. says, overpowering new smokers is a bad decision. Stick with mild and aromatic.


    • IVman

      I’m a newbie cigar smoker and I totally agree with Mr. Drew. I absolutely love the selections offered by Drew Estate. The ACID blondie was my first DE cigar and I fell in love with it immediately. The infused flavors really blew me away. Since then I’ve tried JAVA mint and Ambrosia Kaya offerings from DE. Both were enjoyable smokes. I loved the spices in the Kaya and went and bought more the next day. I’m looking forward to smoking the JAVA Latte, Ambrosia Nectar and ACID Cold Infused Tea cigars very soon.

      • Josh

        So I just bought a couple of blondies for my first cigar ever. I gotta say, good call!! I used to chew red man and beach nut and it has a very similar sweetness to it

        • That’s great, ACID is “the gateway drug” for cigar smokers. Eventually try some with only a sweetened tip (like Sweet Jane or Natural) and then you can move into more traditional stuff.

          • Josh

            Gateway drug haha yeah that’s for sure. I’ll have to check those other ones out. Thanks

  • maxxrocket

    Nailed it on the GH #5

  • Murr

    Padron 2000 in either natural or maduro

  • Nate

    Now I’m really excited to try the GH #5. It was one of the cigars included in the RMCF bag. Maybe I’ll break that out tomorrow!

  • Rich C.

    Funny, had just lit a G.H.#5 as I bumped into this article….I like this smoke for all the aforementioned reasons, perfect draw, nice burn, and a really nice, subtle sweetness, with a touch of pepper on the retrohale….just a nice, easy, pleasant smoke, one you don’t have to be a “newbie” to appreciate…
    Just thought I’d throw my two cents worth into the mix…

    • Thanks for the comment Rich. We agree the GH #5 is a underrated “diamond in the rough” type of cigar.

  • Add the Oliva Serie G (box-pressed) – generally a pretty safe cigar to give to a newbie. I always have a bunch in my humidor.


  • One of my favorite “buddy” smokes is the Flor de Oliva. I smoke them as a yard gar & usually around $3-4. But, most my buddies smoke cigars, so I dont have to worry about giving many out.
    I also like the Padilla La Teraza, Tabaco Baez SF & Tat Series P as good buddy smokes.

  • Nick M

    I agree with the list of needs on a turning a smoker. I use coffee infused from Drew Estate. There is two of them. Tabak Especial Cafe con Leche, and the Copper Label from CI. The Copper Label is $3.50 a stick, a little peppery, and a little sweet on the wrapper. The smoke is creamy and thick. Lots of smoke, which is hazelnut. When I smoke with others that aren’t smoking (their loss), they often ask about it because it smells really good, much like pipe tobacco. And I do bat an eye at $20 a stick or even $10. I have given away a few like that in my idea of higher end. Namely my father in law, which goes without saying.

  • Ron Steele

    The only cigar above that I’ve seen at any of my local b&m’s is the GH Corojo #5. And that is one of my favorite smokes. But it sells far more than the $2 stated above around here.

  • Great article, and great selection on cigars for new smokers. However, I would replace the #1 with either a Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 or a Gran Habano Vintage 2002. Both are amazing sticks that got me into smoking.

    • It’s funny you mention the Vintage 2002 as I just smoked one of those yesterday! I love those cigars. The reason I chose the #5 over the 2002 is the #5 has a more interesting flavor and I’m pretty sure the 2002 is an exclusive for the CI company. I rejected the Nica Libre for the same reason (I wanted to include cigars that were available just about anywhere).

      And the RP 1990 is also a marvelous choice for new cigar smokers but those will set ya back almost $9 and I was trying to only pick cigars that were sub 5 bucks.

      Yet I do agree with you… both the GH 2002 and the RP 1990 would be marvelous choices to give a new cigar smoker.

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