Appreciate a good cigar requires a quiet and pleasant environment to enjoy its aroma. Choosing an excellent cigar, how to cut it, how to light it and how to smoke it are the keys to enjoy a perfect cigar. That’s why we show you a step-by-step guide of how to smoke a cigar properly.
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE:
1. Choosing a cigar
Experts in the art of cigar smoking say that when it comes to choosing a good cigar, we should let our senses guide us:
- Sight: A well-finished, elegant cigar and a suitable color.
- Touch: A tight and well-made cigar. Firm, but not hard (feel it between the index finger and thumb).
- Smell: Choose a cigar with a wonderful smell of fresh tobacco.
- Taste: A cigar with a milder or stronger flavor, depending on our preferences.
The color of the cigar should be uniform over the entire surface and with a certain shine. The cigar can have any kind of stains. The stains can appear in the natural process of its growth or curing. It should be white or green. These stains do not affect the quality of the cigar.
If we talk about the size of the cigar, we must choose it according to the time we have to enjoy it. A mid-morning or afternoon cigar is not the same as a cigar smoked after a good lunch or dinner. You have to give the cigar time to be able to enjoy it without rushing.
2. How to cut the cigar
Once we have chosen a good cigar, we must proceed with cutting and lighting it.
To cut the cigar, it is best to use a cigar cutter that cuts the back of the cigar clean and precise. There are also special scissors for this purpose. Of course, you can use any other cutting instrument, although it is not as suitable. What we should try never to do is to cut it with our teeth, this can tear the cigar.
It is not correct to introduce a toothpick, a match or any other fine element to pierce the cigar. This puts pressure on the tobacco at the back and may cause the cigar not to “pull”.
If you are in favor of removing the vitola from the cigar, do so careful so as not to damage the cigar’s wrapper. The vitola is an aesthetic issue that does not affect any of the cigar’s essential characteristics (smell, taste, etc.).
The cutter must be well sharpened to avoid tearing or even “disassembling” the cigar. The cut needs to be precise, leaving a small piece of the filler exposed. Be careful not to make a large opening. According to experts, the cut should be above the line where the cap meets the wrapper. The goal is to create an opening wide enough to ensure a proper shot and to prevent the cape from falling off.
Making a good cut is not a matter of aesthetics, but is fundamental when smoking a cigar. It will be decisive for the correct combustion of the cigar. Will result in an adequate appreciation of all the cigar’s flavor.
3. Lighting the cigar
Lighting a cigar requires patience. We must use a match with a long stick, preferably made of wood. Also, we can use a gas lighter, and there are even some people who use cedar bark as a match. Never use flames that are not odorless, such as a gasoline lighter, for example. That would spoil the taste and aroma of the cigar.
Once you have the flame, you should hold the cigar close to the flame and turn it. The cigar should be in a 90º (degrees) position, in respect to the flame. Suck in the flame, so the flame reaches the cigar and lights it. The thicker the cigar, the longer the ignition time required.
If we want to check that the cigar is lit, we only have to blow on the lit part of the cigar. Check that the whole surface becomes incandescent.
If the cigar goes out, we will have to repeat the lighting operation to give it a uniform ignition. What we should bear in mind is to shake off any ash that may be present before lighting the cigar again.
4. Smoking and enjoying a good cigar
After a good choice, a perfect cut and a good lighting, the only thing left to do is smoke a cigar properly.
The cigar is not a cigarette. We inhale the smoke, but we do not swallow it. Leave it in the mouth to taste it. Appreciate all the nuances that give its special characteristics. Each cigar is different depending on the tobaccos used for its elaboration.
If you smoke the cigar with a good glass of cognac, it is not very correct to dip the cigar in the cognac. This changes the taste of the cigar and is almost a sin for professional cigar smokers.
The ash should not be tapping the cigar to throw away the excess ash. It is better to let it form slow, and even try to let it fall by its own weight. Although, you can help with a little tapping. If the cigar is of a high quality, it will leave a firm and long ash.
The flavor of the cigar becomes more intense (and somewhat more bitter). Depending on the size of the cigar, only three quarters of the cigar is usually smoked. In the end, the flavors become too strong, and can spoil the palate of the puffs of the cigar. The cigar should not be extinct by crushing it against the ashtray, like any other cigarette. No, it should be allowed to extinguish naturally. What the connoisseurs comment with a certain jocularity: “you have to let it die with dignity”.
When you give the first puffs, the aromas by a well-cured leaf are always flavors that will be enjoyed later on.
To “enjoy” a good cigar, you have to take your time. The flavor of the cigars intensifies in phases. It is a shame to leave a cigar halfway through, which would not allow you to enjoy its characteristics.