If you're getting married or are a member of a wedding party, chances are your future involves some significant opportunities for cigar smoking. At the bachelor party when you hand them out as groomsmen gifts, on the wedding day to celebrate, at the hospital a few weeks later when the baby is born... hey, it happens.

Anyway, the point is, most men in the modern ages' cigar smoking experience is restricted to a few adolescent puffs with a buddy, trying not to inhale and feeling slightly queasy afterward. Well, you boys just don't know what you are missing.

Cigars meet all the criteria of a man's definition of one of the finer things in life, making them perfect for groomsmen gifts. Cigars come in great variety, they invite oral indulgence, and they're interesting. Best of all, cigar smoking is something you can do while doing your other favorite things in life: watching TV, playing poker, sitting out on the front porch with a buddy... Cigars, when properly appreciated, offer the same satisfaction opportunities as a good steak or a fine whisky. They too are a delicious delicacy to be studied and savored.

At any rate, even if you never plan to become a full-blown cigar aficionado, for weddings and any other special occasion involving women, and especially when it's time to give your groomsmen gifts, a little cigar knowledge is a must-have for the man's man in all of us.

Cigars have a hallowed and fascinating history in America, fine distinctions of flavor and provenance, but for our purposes let's dumb the cigar down to a few basic 'cocktail party cigar facts' to go with your groomsmen gifts. These bits of cigar trivia will help you look knowledgeable in front of your fellow groomsmen and impress any single bridesmaids present at the wedding. First, and foremost, don't inhale!

Now for some finer nuances of judging a cigar:

How it's made: This is the defining factor in a good cigar. The construction of the cigar determines its taste and smell. The biggest flaw to be found in a cigar is too much tobacco. Overfilled cigars get plugged and are difficult to puff, which leads to less smoke, flavor, and scent. If a cigar is not filled enough however, the smoker will draw too much smoke and get a harsh puff and burnt hands.

By its fire: The lit part of the cigar contains its own art form. It should burn evenly all way down. Uneven burning suggests poor rolling, a bad sign to any cigar aficionado. Also, the ash should be firm to the touch and extend in length with ease.

How it feels: The cigar should feel solid and substantial in your mouth. It should feel smooth to the touch and have some resilience. You should be able to squeeze the cigar without denting it and it should spring back into shape when you let go. The cigar shouldn't feel too soft or too hard in your hand. Too much firmness in the assemblage shows it might have been rolled too tightly.

The wrapper: This is a big one. The wrapper is what gives the cigar its smoking and flavor qualities. The wrapper shouldn't have too many flaws and should not be dry or peeling. Generally, cigars with lighter colored wrappers are milder in flavor and have less of a smoky aftertaste. Darker wrappers are typically fuller in flavor.

How it smells: A good cigar sheds a scent even before it's lit that hints at what it will smell like when it is being smoked. A good cigar will have any number of scents -- musky, tropical, woodsy -- but it's important that the scent permeate the entire experience.

Now you know a little about cigars. But if you're too lazy to remember any of this, another easy route is to just get some cool cigar accessories to make you look like an aficionado, even if you're not. Cigar pharaphanelia also makes good wedding or groomsmen gifts. Cigar or booze? Why choose? For two-in-one groomsmen gifts, how about a stainless steel cigar case flask combo? This genius invention holds both a cigar and 1.5 oz of your favorite liquor! Perfect for pre-funking or staying loose in long bar lines, this multi-tasker is compact enough to fit in your pocket to be enjoyed spontaneously throughout the wedding (reception, that is) and beyond when you give them as groomsmen gifts.

For more personal groomsmen gifts, try a cigar keepsake box. Originally filled with five premium cigars, the idea is that, after commemorating your milestone moment- such as a wedding or bachelor party- with a group smoke, the groom will have a memento of the occasion with the remaining cigar keepsake box. This is cool for groomsmen gifts because guys aren't openly sentimental enough to have photo boxes or albums like girls do, and a keepsake box is a testosterone-appropriate way for a groom or groomsmen to cherish a manly memory or two.

A final, more creative idea is to buy the groom or groomsmen gifts of a cigar journal. This cool gift could become a fun new hobby for you and fellow groomsmen. Cigar smoking is a hobby best appreciated with a fellow smoker, and a cigar journal is a classy way to share your thoughts about favorite smokes or best cigar smoking experiences. This is what gentlemen used to do in the old days, recording different flavors tried and different regions sampled. Get in touch with your old-fashioned gentleman by reviving this tradition with a couple pals. A good journal to buy is the No 9 Leather Journal, for yourself and as groomsmen gifts. This leather-bound tome made from American steer hide has the sturdy, intellectual appearance perfect for inspiring profound reflection. Best of all, for your particularly lofty observations, the paper inserts can be removed and filed away for posterity or sent out to friends. Who knows where your findings might show up?

Fellas, I hope this has been an educational article on how to properly honor two of man's greatest joys with your groomsmen gifts: a good cigar and a good friend. Happy smoking!

Cigar tips taken from http://www.altadisusa.com