While smoking a cigar looks pretty straightforward, you can never go wrong by learning the most common rules that cigar smokers follow.
Picking a cigar
Cigars come in different shapes, sizes, flavor profiles and types. Like wines, they also come from different country origins and these factors can play a role in the quality of the cigar you’re buying. To choose the right cigar:
- Ask for recommendations. Ask friends who smoke a cigar for some of their favorites and work your way from there. It’s really about trial and error in the beginning, but you can save money by buying cigars that other people already like. You can also seek the advice of a cigar specialist from a good retailer in your area.
- Learn about the different cigar varietals. The six most common varieties of cigar include the shortest cigar Robusto, the sharply tapered-head Belicoso, the highly popular Corona, the lighter Lonsdale, the long Panetela and the thick and heavy Churchill named after the British prime minister.
- Do the rolling technique. Another great way to pick out the right cigar is to roll them between your fingers. Experts say that a good cigar should have a firm texture, so if you feel any soft spots or lumps, move to the next cigar.
Cutting a cigar
There should be a perfect time for smoking a cigar. If you’re a new smoker, it’s best to enjoy a short, light cigar after breakfast and slowly move your way to the longer and fuller cigar after dinner.
But before you can smoke your cigar, you need to cut the cap or that small piece of wrapper leaf at the tip of the cigar first, so you can draw through it. Here are some tips:
- Never bite a cigar cap. You’ll only end up tearing the wrapper leaf and getting bits of tobacco stuck in your teeth.
- Invest in a good cutter. You can either go for a punch, V-cut or guillotine depending on what you prefer.
- Don’t cut too low or high. Be careful when cutting your cigar to avoid unraveling the wrapper while you smoke. Cut near the small seam at the extreme end of the cigar’s head to keep the wrapper together. Also, don’t cut too slowly because it will only cause the wrapper to tear.
Lighting a cigar
Before lighting your cigar, you need to take what smokers call the “first draw,” which is basically puffing on the cigar before it’s lighted to get a feel of what it will be like when you smoke the cigar. When you’re ready to light the cigar after the first draw, here are some tips:
- Never use matches and lighters. Using candles, fluid lighters and cardboard matches are believed to affect the overall taste of the cigar. You can use long, wooden matches but wait until the sulfur burns off before lighting the cigar.
- Invest in a good butane or torch lighter. Most cigar smokers prefer these lighters because they offer a more intense flame that’s perfect for lighting cigars.
- Begin by toasting the foot. Prepare the cigar’s body while keeping the flame at a distance.
- Ignite the filler and release the draw. Bring the flame closer as your draw it in with your mouth and release a final puff against the lighter to create the flame. Finish by blowing on the cherry to make sure that the cigar’s foot is evenly burned. It’s also very important to rotate the cigar while lighting it to avoid getting an uneven burn.
- Take your time. The most seasoned cigar smokers always advise beginners to never rush lighting or smoking a cigar. It’s all about taking things slow so you can really enjoy every step of the process.
Holding a cigar
How hard can it be to hold a cigar, right? But holding can actually feel awkward at some point, especially with the different shapes and sizes of cigars. Here’s how to get it right:
- Get a comfortable grip. The most preferred way to hold a cigar is between your thumb and index finger. If you’re smoking a longer cigar, holding it this way allows you to rest your other fingertips across the body for a more comfortable grip.
- Hold thick cigars properly. If you’re smoking a thicker cigar, it’s best to curl your index finger on the band so the head sits on the hollow of your thumb. You see this in most movies and it’s like you’re holding a gun where the cigar is the trigger.
- Never hold the cigar between your index and middle fingers. This is an unstable grip and you could easily waste your cigar by dropping it.
- Keep your hand still. Unlike the movies, avoid pointing using your cigar or doing different hand gestures while holding it because it causes the ash to drop off. Keep your hand as still as possible.
- Avoid chomping on a cigar. Some people hold their cigar between their teeth, but this is considered bad practice because it doesn’t only cause tobacco to get stuck on your teeth but it also damages the wrapper, which destroys your smoking experience. If you need to rest your cigar, don’t be shy to use an ashtray.
Putting out a cigar
After you’re done smoking, you need to put it out and dispose it properly. Here are some tips:
- Never crush your cigar. Unlike a regular cigarette, crushing a cigar with your shoe will create a big cloud of smoke before it’s totally put out. Just imagine the embarrassment of making a room smell stinky because you crushed your cigar.
- Use an ashtray. After you’re done smoking, let the cigar rest on the side of an ashtray until it goes out. But if you’re smoking inside a room, wait for the cigar to be cold before you dispose the stub and ashes. Never leave a cigar inside a room without putting it out because it will leave a strong smell that could stick to your furniture and carpet for a very long time.