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I'm probably not qualified to give the best answer as I've not tried them all, but I re-read this a few times before replying. I see that you asked what CUBAN they should try first. I have friends who can smoke a Rocky Patel Edge or Opus X on an empty stomach and be just fine, but they've never had a Cuban. For those folks I would recommend a flavor profile unique to CCs,  something you can't get in an NC. For that I have to say a known-good sample of a Cohiba, a very close second would be a PSD4 (again from a known-good stock).

If you're talking the occasional smoker to whom you'd like to offer a cigar, or a complete noob.... I say something easy, not too complex but tasty. Epicure 2, Party Shorts.

 

Either way you're going to ruin them forever. Just make sure you have plenty of stock on-hand to ease the disruption you're causing to their life. Heavy is the crown for those who walk someone down that path... 

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7 hours ago, Nino said:

I haven't noticed any stronger punch in my fresh RASCC's boxes but will stand corrected.

I don't think I could put them lower than a 4/5 on strength down from maybe a 3/5 pre-2010. I'm not sure what regular production cigar is stronger than it. Maybe the Boli Tubos 3? But RASCC is right up there, at least the last ones I had were (OER MAR 20)

Have you had a chance to try the HU Propios? I thought those were very strong. 4+/5. They may have mellowed a bit in the last year, but fresh they were just poppers. I liked them. Strongest CC I've smoked in many years I thought.

6 hours ago, griller said:

--HdM Palmas Extra;

--Upmann Regalias;

Come on, we don't want them to hate CCs...:wink2:

I would try to give a beginner the highest quality I could taking into account size and strength. Those two just don't cut the mustard, particularly the Palmas Extra. Yikes. No offense if you like them though. :hole:

I also wouldn't want a cigar too subtle or too large. Honestly, for someone who has never smoked before, pacing and size can be a serious issue. I think a Corona Gorda or Robustos might be just too much and the Epicures are just not flavorful enough to hook a novice. I would top out at about a Marevas, max. Perlas would be good, but I think all the Perlas are pretty peppy. RGP, Monte 5, Siglo I all are pretty punchy. Monte as a brand is generally a bit much for most beginners, but perhaps the Media Corona might work. It's a very smooth, mellow Monte that can be quite flavorful.

I think the ERDM Demi Tasse and Hoyo Du Maire/Depute are the best entry into CCs. High quality, light, flavorful, small.

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59 minutes ago, NSXCIGAR said:

I don't think I could put them lower than a 4/5 on strength down from maybe a 3/5 pre-2010. I'm not sure what regular production cigar is stronger than it. Maybe the Boli Tubos 3? But RASCC is right up there, at least the last ones I had were (OER MAR 20)

I know you detest RASS, but RASS is stronger than RASCC to me.

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Weighing in I'd say a smaller but not smallest format would be ideal. Let them have a cigar, not a cigarillo.

Le Hoyo du Depute, Upmann Half Corona or Coronas Major. RyJ Petite Coronas, Monte #4. Cohiba Siglo II if you want to step out.

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Adding to what’s been said I think that, aside from knowing their personal taste, your best bet is to stick with cigars that reveal much of their flavor without retrohaling. Few first timers will want to take that step.

The other factors to consider is age - give them something with at least a few years on it if you can. Yeah, it’s a risk they’ll turn green after a few puffs and waste an aged cigar, but unless you want to go NC it’s worth giving them a smoother experience for their first smoke. 

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4 hours ago, Bijan said:

I know you detest RASS, but RASS is stronger than RASCC to me.

Whoa. I think we're in alternate realities. I think the RASS is a about 2.5/5 strength.

For some reference, I give D4 2/5, CoRo 2.5, JLS2 3/5, BRC 2/5. 

And I don't detest RASS, but I just don't get what the fuss is about. Same with D4. Take it or leave it for me. RAS and RASCC I like. RASCC I've been a regular consumer of since about 05. 

 

4 hours ago, havanaclub said:

SW emoji2960.png

Pearls before swine.

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1 minute ago, NSXCIGAR said:

Whoa. I think we're in alternate realities. I think the RASS is a about 2.5/5 strength.

For some reference, I give D4 2/5, CoRo 2.5, JLS2 3/5, BRC 2/5. 

I might agree on all of those except psd4 which can be quite variable. BRC might be a bit lighter recently too.

Young RASS is quite strong overall. I don't mean flavours or anything like that I mean strong like a punch in the face. RASCC is flavourful but I could have 2 in a row, same for bolivar tubos no. 3, I could probably have 3 of those.

With RASS I'll have one and I stop retrohaling and I'm taking shallow puffs by the final third.

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2 minutes ago, Bijan said:

I might agree on all of those except psd4 which can be quite variable. BRC might be a bit lighter recently too.

Young RASS is quite strong overall. I don't mean flavours or anything like that I mean strong like a punch in the face. RASCC is flavourful but I could have 2 in a row, same for bolivar tubos no. 3, I could probably have 3 of those.

With RASS I'll have one and I stop retrohaling and I'm taking shallow puffs by the final third.

I'd agree there is some variation on D4. Average for me is about 2/5. Had some more and some less. And I was very close to knocking BRC down to 1.5/5 so I agree, these have really been neutered. A shame for my once-favorite cigar. 

I've never had a fresh RASS with a kick. And I've had them 4-5 months old. I'm surprised we're so distant on this one. I'd call RASCC one of the strongest CCs. Are you putting RASS up as your strongest?

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1 minute ago, NSXCIGAR said:

I've never had a fresh RASS with a kick. And I've had them 4-5 months old. I'm surprised we're so distant on this one. I'd call RASCC one of the strongest CCs. Are you putting RASS up as your strongest?

Probably yes. I'll have to smoke more, I have a cab that's less than a year old, and I've had 3 so far. Probably only consistently strong CC and I rotate through a lot of regular production.

For me it's RASS > RASCC > RAG (RAG very distant third).

To be RASS is blendwise strong or stronger than a RASCC and on top of that it's a robusto with tons of smoke output.

You mentioned Propios I've had one and in my notes marked it as strong. But from memory it was extremely flavourful strong coffee and pepper but sweet in the final third. While it was flavourful it was not strong to the point it was difficult to smoke. Maybe we are talking about different things. As you also mention bolivar tubos no. 3 and that is another very flavourful cigar but again I wouldn't say it is too strong. I would say these are more flavourful than RASS but less kick.

The two cigars that have been strong/kicking to the point of being difficult to smoke for me in recent memory were RASS and Regios. But the Regios was only so for the second or third one I smoked and the ones I smoked reasonably ROTT were savoury but milder though I did note heavy smoke output and a heaviness on the retrohale.

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8 minutes ago, Bijan said:

RAG (RAG very distant third

I find the RAG downright mild. Didn't used to be before 2010. 

10 minutes ago, Bijan said:

You mentioned Propios I've had one and in my notes marked it as strong. But from memory it was extremely flavourful strong coffee and pepper but sweet in the final third. While it was flavourful it was not strong to the point it was difficult to smoke.

I'd agree with that description of the Propios. Strong but very flavorful. I would call it the strongest because it didn't let up. Every puff was as strong as the last and never turned bland. 

 

12 minutes ago, Bijan said:

As you also mention bolivar tubos no. 3 and that is another very flavourful cigar but again I wouldn't say it is too strong.

I admit, it's been a few years since my last BT3. I should have bought more in Cuba when I was there where they're very reasonably priced and singles are sold in lots of places. They may not be quite as strong as I remember. 

 

14 minutes ago, Bijan said:

But the Regios was only so for the second or third one I smoked and the ones I smoked reasonably ROTT were savoury but milder though I did note heavy smoke output and a heaviness on the retrohale.

I'm intrigued by these peppy Regios. I'm going to have to grab a 6er next time I see them. 

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CCW in its general cigars page says that habanos uses a single term for strength that encompasses strength, flavour and body.

But goes on to describe them individually as:

"Smokers tend to separate these characteristics:

Flavour (intensity of taste or aroma - nose)

Body (heaviness or lightness - mouth)

Strength (nicotine kick - head).

Not all users use these terms in the same sense, contributing to some confusion and differing opinions."

https://www.cubancigarwebsite.com/cigar/information#Cigar_Flavour_by_Brand

Propios and bolivar tubos no. 3 might be strong in the sense of flavour and body based on those definitions.

RASS to me is strong in the sense of body and strength though possibly not the most flavourful. But I generally think of them sort of along the habanos scale. And don't break it down.

So for me proprios, bolivar tubos and rass could all be 5/5 (I mean you could argue they are all 4 but what is the point of that when I don't smoke NCs and there are no stronger CCs).

 

 

2 hours ago, NSXCIGAR said:

I find the RAG downright mild. Didn't used to be before 2010. 

Very much agree with this. Given the RASCC and RASS I was afraid when I had my first one and was shocked to see how mild it was.

In general Churchills and DCs are milder though. And I heard @PigFish say it in a video review and he is a real "guru" so it must be true 😛 (just kidding Ray).

 

On the topic of flavour, body, strength I find that Robustos and hermosos no. 4 are highest in body and strength possibly due to smoke output.

Though any vitola can be high on flavour even small ones. I find hoyo du maire sometimes very flavourful or at least more flavourful than du depute which is similar in flavour profile.

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38 minutes ago, Bijan said:

n general Churchills and DCs are milder though. And I heard @PigFish say it in a video review and he is a real "guru" 😛 (just kidding Ray).

I'd agree, the trend of late has been milder Prominentes and Julieta 2s with the exception of the SW which is still pretty beefy. Esplendidos can still be strong as well. All the DCs have become fairly toned down. 

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4 minutes ago, NSXCIGAR said:

I'd agree, the trend of late has been milder Prominentes and Julieta 2s with the exception of the SW which is still pretty beefy. Esplendidos can still be strong as well. All the DCs have become fairly toned down. 

Might be a trend in that it is increasing but I don't think it's new.

@PigFish was referring to the 2003 Cohiba DC EL and Churchills and DCs in general in his 2017 video. I think it's intentional so that people don't get wrecked by longer smokes.

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4 minutes ago, NSXCIGAR said:

By late, I mean the last 15 years. 

Good to know!

I was going to say I had noticed it in mid to late 2000s with the first CCs I smoked. I forget your time scale sometimes :)

 

 

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Some great options have been suggested. I always liked the idea of a small sized cigar like

Cuaba Divinos

Upmann Half Corona

Hoyo Petit Robusto

I quite like them as well but mainly if I already had 2 or 1-2 bigger ones just to round of the night (usually by then)

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Cigarette/other smokers: RASS / PD4. They like something more flavourful/stronger and smoke them fast. Size is a non-issue; in fact I've seen many smoke much faster than me. 
Non smokers: QDO50. I used to say HdM Epi 2 but personally I just found that recent batches have become more spicy and less creamy than before. Also it usually is too big for a beginner. QD50 is a rather new addition and I imagine the flavours/strength would really appeal. Honorable mention: HU Connie 1

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I’d keep it small but not too skinny. H Upmann half Corona, Monte Media Corona, QdO 50 or RyJ Petit Royals in that order.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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If asking for one specific recommendation: HdM Epi 2. It's a proper cigar but a very pleasant, tasty and unintimidating smoke. Non-smokers tend to smoke very fast and a heavier RG will be better at not over-heating.

 

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My first Cuban cigar was the HdM Epicure No. 2. I loved it, had never tasted anything like it before and never looked back after smoking it. No doubt, it’s a mild cigar, but it displays the uniqueness and quality of good Vuelta Abajo tobacco. Moreover, the construction is usually very good, it smokes young very well and the nic hit won’t turn a novice smoker green. 

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I was thinking that the RyJ petite royale I had the other night would be an excellent cigar for a new smoker. 1. Small, not intimidating, 2. Larger RG - more difficult to overheat. 3. (not vitola/marca specific) it had a pretty open draw. I think the open draw is a big factor in how much a new smoker will enjoy the cigar - a tight draw will make the new smoker anxious and probably cause them to puff constantly on it and overhead it anyways.

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