If you pick out something Cuban, I'd recommend something with at least a few of years of humidor time on it. The 2011 and 2012 Partagas Series D No. 4's are smoking pretty well for fresh Habanos, but nothing beats Cuban tobacco with some age. I smoked a 7 year old Montecristo No 4 a couple of months ago that was so good, it melted my face. All the Cuban smokes will be on the mild-medium side in terms of strength, with brands like Bolivar and Partagas inching towards a solid medium. Nicaraguan cigars will generally be medium to full strength - some being so strong that newbs can get the sweats and even throw up. On the up-side, most Nicaraguan makers age their tobacco before they reach the shelves, so they're good to go without aging. For Nicaraguan brands, I'm partial to Tatuaje, Padron, E.P. Carillo, Viaje and Liga Pravada. Dominican cigars don't even exist as far as I'm concerned. A lot of people love them, and without question, Arturo Fuente makes a quality cigar, but I can't stand the mineral taste. Good luck! BTW, that Cohiba in the above photo is clearly counterfeit.