no offense to smokers of the following brands, and to those with no access to Cuban cigars, but IMHO Opus X and VSG cigars are crap, and not at all the full bodied cigar i am looking for in a smoke. I met some reps of an up and coming cigar company, ACC a few weeks ago...they have some very interesting blends in the work, using Cuban tobacco with that of non-Cubans. I smoked a maduro that was a blend of tobacco from 5 different countries, it was a full bodied smoke and had that kick that i found lacking in many non-cuban cigars that are usually labelled as on the stronger end of the spectrum. It was much better than the over-hyped, somewhat gimmicky Cohiba Maduro 5 series. Also smoked a cigar rolled from 1960's Cuban tobacco, it was very mellow but that was to be expected with the age on them. They have a very interesting range of products, and should be interesting to see how they take on the luxury market as more people hear about them. For now I think they are only based in Shanghai and are targeting the Chinese/Middle Eastern market, but I think they are soon branching out to Europe and perhaps the US. I suggested they try Japan as there is definitely an audience for this kind of luxury niche. Nantucket I think a good entry cigar is the Montecristo #4. Some say it is too strong for a novice smoker, but it was the very first cigar i smoked and it got me hooked for life. I find it to be medium bodied, and it is the world's best selling cigar so i think it would be a proper introduction. Also it's a quick smoke, you can down one in about 15-20 mins so no worries about time commitment. Most people recommend Fonseca as an entry level smoke, but I think it is a bit too mild...if i was offered one as my first smoke, i don't think i would've been as captivated. For that petit corona size, the Por Larranga petit corona is also a good option, as is the somewhat stronger Bolivar Petit Corona. Romeo Y Julieta is in general a good brand for a novice smoker as many of their offerings are on the mild-medium end of the spectrum. Their most famous is probably the Churchill, but in recent years the Short Churchill (has nothing to do with churchill in terms of ring gauge, it's just the name) has proven to be a good everyday smoke. If you can get your hands on the boxes of 10 from the first launch in 2006 with a darker color, those should be fantastic. If you find you prefer fuller bodied smokes, Bolivar is an excellent and consistent brand. The Royal Corona (robusto), Belicoso Fino (Torpedo), Corona Gigantes are all very good. As is Ramon Allones, whose specially selected (robusto) i think is a benchmark for the size. The Partagas Serie D No. 4 is the world's best selling robusto, and for good reason. It's one hell of a smoke and I don't think I've ever come across a bad one. As you refine your palate and begin to crave longer smokes with more depth and complexity, i think the Cuaba Diademas is a brilliant smoke. Had one on my birthday, was smoking it in a room that was crowded with various cigarette and cigar smokers, and yet it was still very flavorful. The Salomones is a shorter length in the same format, but more powerful. For double coronas, the Punch DC is very good, and not as powerful as the Lusitania or Hoyo so it is worth considering if you want a more mellow smoke and have some time. Punch Punch is also a great smoke. If you can get your hands on one, the Cohiba Sublime EL from a few years back is a classic, i don't think i've ever smoked a cigar with so many dimensions and layers of complexity. Trinidad is a pricier brand, but worth the money more so than Cohibas I think. The Fundadores is more medium bodied and more appropriate for a novice smoker, as are the smaller sizes such as the Reyes and Coloniales. The Robusto Extra is a bit fuller and also quite a thick ring gauge and large cigar, so you may want to ease into that one a bit later. They recently launched an EL cigar, the Ingenios, which was a very rich smoke and should get better with age. Cigars I would avoid: Most Cuban Cohibas. For the price they are commanding, I think there are better options out there and i get the sense it's more of a status symbol than anything these days. That said, I put "most" because the Siglo VI is arguably the best cigar Cuba has to offer today...but it's manufactured in a different place than the rest of Cohiba products, so that may have something to do with it. And of course if you can get your hands on vintage Cohibas from the black lettering era it's always worth a go, the old Lanceros are classics. that's a lot of info and maybe enough for now, so ill stop here. hope this helps.