Remember walking into your grandfather’s study being enveloped by the rich woodsy aroma of his cigars? He sat in his well-worn rocking chair, looking blissfully out the window puffing away, a cloud of smoke dissipating around him. In between puffs, he’d share knowledge about his favorite stogies. Recapturing those fond memories, you’ve started your cigar journey, learning how to smoke a cigar in the best way for you. Times have changed since your grandfather smoked. Now, with the world at our fingertips, the varieties of cigars available are almost endless. One thing hasn’t changed, the value of knowing how to smoke a cigar. For the newbie, trying to combine the sheer number of available choices and the time-honored traditions can seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips on how to smoke cigars for beginners.
How to Choose a Cigar
Before you take your first puff, you have to make a choice about what types of cigars fit you the most. With so many brands, flavors, strengths, and other features that make up a good cigar, it can seem a challenging undertaking. It’s not as complicated as it seems. How to choose a cigar comes down to your personal preferences. The three main features you want to look for are shape, size, and body.
- There are two main shapes, parejos and figurados.
- Parejo is the shape people often associate with cigars and the most common.
- The figurados has more of a bullet-shaped appearance.
- Cigar size is measured in length and width. In general, size doesn’t affect the flavor. A longer length means a longer smoke.
- The body of a cigar references its boldness, from light to dark. Like beer, a light-bodied cigar has a mellow taste, and dark-bodied is strong and robust.
How to Cut a Cigar
Knowing how to cut a cigar is an important step in an enjoyable smoke. Invest in a quality cigar cutter for the cleanest cut. A proper cut will open the end without unraveling the cigar. If you don’t have a cutter, scissors, a knife, or razor blade will also work. Cigars have two distinct ends, foot and head. The foot is the open end. In a hand-rolled cigar, the head is the closed end. A cap is where the cigar was wrapped closed. This needs to be opened for you to smoke the cigar. To cut the cigar follow these steps:
- Moisten the head of the cigar
- Place your fingers close to the head
- Position the cutter on the line where the cap ends, in about 1/8 to 1/16 inch. There should be a visible line.
- Cut with a quick and precise motion
- Brush off the end
How to Light a Cigar
Your next step in how to smoke a cigar is properly lighting it. You don’t light the end of a cigar with a lighter; you toast the end with the flame. Hold your cigar at a 45-degree angle and rotate a few times over the flame to warm the foot. Place the head of the cigar in your mouth and begin to puff. Don’t inhale. When you get smoke in your mouth, check the foot to see if it’s lit. If the foot is lit, blow on it a few times to ensure the end is burning evenly.
How to Properly Smoke a Cigar
When the cigar is lit, you’re ready! Here are a few helpful tips about how to smoke a cigar properly. The essential first step is you have to be of age to smoke. How old do you need to be to smoke cigars? On December 20, 2019, a federal law went into effect stating anyone using tobacco products, including cigar smokers, must be 21 years old or older. At this time, there are no exceptions to this ruling. If you’re of age, you’re good to go. Once your cigar is cut and lit, there is a technique in achieving the best smoke. The number one aspect in cigar smoking tips is never to inhale the smoke. You can achieve this by inhaling like you suck on a straw. To get the maximum experience, a cigar should be puffed every minute or so. Let the smoke linger in your mouth to savor the flavors. You can either blow the smoke out your nose or your mouth. Through your nose, you’ll be able to sense the aroma longer. This is called retrolling. Let your cigar burn until the ash is about an inch in length. When the end is loose, tap the cigar to remove it. A cigar is an age-old tradition to be honored and treated with respect. Never smash or shove the end. The ash gives the cigar a longer, steadier burn. Knocking the end off too soon can cause the cigar to burn overly hot. This can affect the taste. A cost-effective and more portable version of a traditional cigar is the filtered cigar, also known as a little cigar. They are much like a regular large cigar in flavor, aroma, and body but considerably slimmer in size. How to smoke a filtered cigar is the same way you smoke a traditional cigar.
Storing Your Cigars
To keep the full flavor of your cigars, they must be stored properly. Cigars stay freshest when kept in a constant temperature and humidity. Storing cigars in the refrigerator or freezer can dry them out. You actually want your cigars to have a bit of moisture to them. The best place to keep cigars is in a humidor. This is a humidity-controlled box or room. Generally, a humidor box can store a couple of dozen cigars. For best storage, the humidor should be prepped first, seasoned, and set at the appropriate temperature and humidity. Before placing the cigars in the box, remove the cellophane wrap. This will help the humidity seep into the cigar.
Top Tips and Tricks
To help with your cigar journey, here are a few tips and tricks for your cigar smoking guide:
- Choose your cigars based on your personal preferences.
- Three main features to look for in a cigar are shape, size, and body
- Cut the cap within 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch for the best smoke
- Toast the foot of your cigar for a better burn
- Puff your cigar every minute or so
- Let the smoke linger in your mouth to savor the flavors
- Let your ash grow to about an inch
- Tap the ash off the foot of your cigar gently
- Filtered cigars are a cost-effective alternative to traditional cigars
- Cigar smoking is a time-honored tradition to enjoy with respect