Choosing Your Cigar, as found on themanual.com
First of all, before you do anything else, we highly recommend you check out our comprehensive Guide to Cigar Varietals. It’ll give you the lowdown on the different types of cigars you’re likely to encounter, and also help you get a better idea of what type you might enjoy.
Second, if you’re in a store and looking to purchase a cigar, don’t just throw down a wad of cash and assume that the most expensive option will be a good one. High price doesn’t always mean high quality, and as a noob, you probably won’t be able to appreciate all the distinguishing elements of a fine cigar anyway. Just go for something mid-tier that looks like a manageable size for you.
Alternatively, if you’re staring down into a friend or colleague’s humidor, ask them if they’d mind you taking a closer look. If they give you the go-ahead, pick up a couple good-looking ones and give each one a gentle roll between your fingers. If you feel any lumps or soft spots, move on. A well-constructed cigar will have a consistently firm texture throughout its body.