The rich history of cigars is a time-honored tradition that has captivated the hearts of many throughout the ages. For some, it represents a moment of celebration. For others, it is a relaxing escape from the mundane. But for all, it’s an opportunity to indulge in the smoky, flavorful world of tobacco.
Smoking a cigar requires proper technique in selecting the right cigar, mastering the initial puff, maintaining consistent draws, and knowing when to end.
Knowing how to smoke a cigar is essential to fully appreciate this magnificent form of tobacco’s complex flavors and aromas. Follow these steps, and soon, you’ll savor every puff with finesse.
The allure of cigars is undeniable. From the moment you walk into a cigar shop, the scent of premium tobacco leaves fills the air, and the sight of beautifully crafted items beckons you closer.
Moreover, the rich history of cigar smoking can be traced back hundreds of years, and over time, it has evolved into a refined art form. Cuban cigars, in particular, are renowned for their exceptional quality and are highly sought after by enthusiasts.
Furthermore, adopting the correct technique is key to fully experiencing the depth and complexity of flavors a cigar has to offer. Inhaling cigar smoke is unnecessary, as the magic lies in the taste and smell. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn to smoke like a seasoned aficionado and elevate your smoking experience to new heights.
How to Smoke Cigars – Step By Step Guide
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Selecting the Cigar
Selecting the right cigar is the first and most important step in your journey, and your choice will significantly impact your experience.
To understand this better, it’s essential to delve into the fundamentals of cigar selection, including the cigar’s wrapper, responsible for most of the flavor, and the filler, composed of dried tobacco leaves. Additionally, a well-maintained humidor preserves the moisture content of cigars, ensuring optimal storage conditions.
When choosing an expensive cigar, it’s crucial to consider factors such as shape, flavor, smell, size, and ergonomics. Aroma is a reliable indicator of the flavor profile, making it an essential aspect to consider.
For beginners, it’s best to seek guidance from a knowledgeable salesperson at a cigar shop. They can provide recommendations based on your preferences and help you find the perfect cigar to start your journey.
Step 2: Cutting the Cap
Before you can smoke your cigar, you must first cut the cap. This cap is positioned at the head of the cigar, approximately 0.1 inches (0.25 cm) from the top, to preserve its moisture and protect the wrapper. Ensuring a correct cut is necessary for a smooth draw and to avoid damage to the cigar.
Use a guillotine (a single-bladed cutter) or a sharp knife to cut the cap for optimal results. To do this, hold the cigar firmly in one hand and the cutting tool in the other. Then, place the head of the cigar into the guillotine and swiftly remove the cap in a single chop.
It’s essential not to cut too deeply, as this can cause the wrapper leaf to unravel and result in a less enjoyable experience.
Step 3: Toasting the Foot
Preparing the cigar for lighting involves the important step of toasting the foot.
To begin, hold the cigar at a 45 to 60-degree angle above the flame, keeping the foot a couple of inches away from the flame. Warm the foot, slightly blackening the tobacco at the opening, while you rotate the cigar to ensure even toasting.
Once the foot is glowing red, it’s ready to be lit, and you can proceed to the next step without experiencing a bitter taste.
Step 4: Lighting with Precision
Lighting a cigar accurately is key to achieving an even burn and enhancing your experience while also preventing cigar burns.
Unlike lighting a cigarette, you should not directly touch the flame of the cigar. Instead, hold it above the flame and slowly toast the end while rotating it. Keep the lighter at a distance so the flame does not come into contact with the cigar.
Furthermore, a torch lighter is the optimal choice for lighting a cigar, as many cigar aficionados recommend. Once the cigar has an even, vibrant orange glow, it’s ready to be smoked, and you can proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Mastering the Initial Puff
As you start smoking, it’s vital to master the initial puff for a good draw and to avoid inhaling the smoke. Unlike cigarettes, cigar smoke is more robust and concentrated, and it’s not meant to be inhaled.
To properly puff on a cigar, gently draw the smoke into your mouth while puffing on the cigar. Allow the flavor to disperse in your mouth, and then exhale the smoke without inhaling it into your lungs.
Furthermore, before taking your first draw, puff out to ensure a smooth start, especially when smoking premium cigars. To fully appreciate the flavor and aroma, exhale the smoke gently out of your mouth. With practice, you’ll soon perfect the art of puffing and enjoy the unique flavors of your cigar.
Step 6: Maintaining Consistent Draws
To guarantee an even burn and to enhance the enjoyment of the flavors, it’s important to maintain consistent draws. Therefore, to achieve this, rotate the cigar while smoking, which will help to evenly distribute heat throughout the surface area and lead to a better burn.
However, it’s important to not smoke too slowly, as this can harm the draw and the tobacco leaves.
Moreover, when smoking, taking a puff at least every two minutes is suggested to maintain an even burn. This pacing differs from cigarette smoking, which typically involves more frequent puffs.
Step 7: Ash Management
As you smoke, ash will accumulate on the end of the cigar. Managing ash well is important to avoid unexpected ash falls and to keep your smoking experience clean.
To handle it effectively, you can wait for about an inch of ash to develop before ashing the cigar. Allow it to naturally fall off by taking a few more puffs and resting the cigar on the side of the ashtray.
Alternatively, you can gently tap the cigar’s end against the ashtray’s side. It’s essential to avoid forcing the ash off, as this can disturb other cigar smokers.
Proper ash management keeps your smoking area clean and allows you to fully appreciate the flavors and aromas of your cigar without any interruptions or distractions.
Step 8: Rotating the Cigar
Rotating the cigar is vital to promoting an even burn and refining the flavor profile. To rotate, hold it between your fingers and gently rotate it around its axis. This technique helps distribute the heat evenly and allows you to experience your cigar’s full range of flavors.
Furthermore, consult your local cigar shop for advice on cigar rotation if you need further guidance.
Step 9: Recognizing Flavor Transitions
As you smoke your mild cigar, dedicate time to acknowledge and savor the transitions in the flavor. This forms an integral part of the overall experience.
Additionally, observe the changes in flavor as you progress, ensuring you’re smoking it properly. This practice will further elevate your smoking journey, allowing you to savor every moment.
Step 10: Knowing When to End
Recognizing when to stop smoking your cigar is crucial to prevent harsh flavors and ensure a pleasurable experience. If you’re not having fun, extinguish it and dispose of it properly. Moreover, it’s not necessary to feel obligated to finish smoking, especially if you’re a non-smoker.
When you’re done, place the cigar in the ashtray and allow it to extinguish naturally. This is the proper way to finish smoking and ensures a respectful and enjoyable experience for all who know how to handle a cigar properly.
Additional Expert Insights
Now that you have learned the fundamental steps of smoking, it’s time to delve deeper into the world of cigars.
The following sections will discuss additional expert insights, including proper storage and humidity control, choosing the right pairings, understanding cigar varieties, and adhering to cigar etiquette.
These aspects will further enhance your quality smoking journey and help you become a true cigar aficionado.
Cigar Storage and Humidity Control
Storing your cigars properly is crucial for maintaining their flavor and quality. Consequently, a humidor, a specialized container designed to maintain freshness, is a must-have for any serious enthusiast.
If you don’t have it, you can still store your cigars using a resealable plastic bag with a damp sponge or paper towel. Nevertheless, a quality humidor is highly recommended for the best possible cigar-smoking experience. For expert guidance on proper storage, consult a cigar shop.
Choosing the Right Pairings
Pairing a good cigar with the right alcoholic beverage and food can enhance your experience. It pairs best with various drinks like beer, whiskey, and wine. In addition, the ideal pairing should complement the cigar’s flavor profile, creating a harmonious and enjoyable experience.
Furthermore, the atmosphere you smoke can also significantly impact your enjoyment. A tranquil and relaxing environment can help bring out the cigar’s flavors, allowing you to fully appreciate the experience. Experiment with different pairings and settings to find the perfect combination for your personal tastes.
Understanding Cigar Varieties
There are numerous varieties of cigars available, each with its own unique characteristics and flavor profiles. Moreover, they can be categorized into two primary shapes: parejo and figurado.
Parejo cigars are straight and cylindrical, while figurado cigars boast unique and irregular shapes. Robusto, Corona, Toro, Churchill, and Panetela are some of the more popular cigars.
Selecting the right cigar for your preferences is essential to the smoking experience. Therefore, it’s important to experiment with different varieties to discover which ones you enjoy the most.
As you become more experienced, you’ll be able to identify the subtle differences between various cigars and develop a deeper appreciation for their unique qualities. In no time, you’ll also be an expert in smoking hookah, enjoying quality bonding with friends.
Following proper smoking etiquette is important, demonstrating respect for a fellow cigar smoker. Some key aspects include refraining from blowing smoke in another person’s face, not speaking with a cigar in your mouth, and not tapping the ash off the cigar onto the floor. When ashing, wait for about an inch of ash to develop before gently tapping the cigar’s end against the ashtray’s side.
Following proper smoking etiquette ensures a respectful and enjoyable experience for yourself and those around you. As you embark on your smoking journey, always remember to be mindful of others and uphold the standards of this time-honored tradition. This practice is especially applicable in a hookah bar.
As you journey into the world of cigars, remember that the key to a truly enjoyable experience lies in the proper technique and appreciation for each cigar’s unique flavors and aromas. Take your time, savor each puff, and embrace the art of smoking your first cigar.
Still have questions? Check out a couple of common ones below:
Do you bite a cigar when you smoke it?
You should not bite a quality cigar when you smoke it. Instead, use a guillotine or a piercer to make an even cut near the band, or if no tool is available, simply bite hard at the end and pull away. When smoking, wrap your lips around your cigar and use your teeth for added stability without biting down hard.
Can a cigar give you a buzz?
A quality cigar, especially Cuban cigars, can buzz you because they contain nicotine, a drug with intoxicating effects. The intensity of the buzz depends on the quantity of tobacco used in cigar construction and varies among cigar smokers.