This is a guide for beginners, most of you old hats at cigar smoking will find it useless, please feel free to add comments and share your own tips.
I see many searches by people looking for the basics on smoking their first cigar. So in order to help out those people looking to join the Brotherhood of the Leaf I’m writing this simple guide to getting started.
This guide takes a look at the basics of using a guillotine cigar cutter and a torch style lighter. Future guides will detail techniques involving other cutting and lighting methods.
Please add your advice in the comments section or let me know if you feel I should revise something.
Step One: Cutting Your Cigar.
You put the cigar in the cutter and cut it, sounds simple doesn’t it? While it isn’t rocket science, it isn’t as simple as that. Take off too much of the cap and the wrapper will start to come off. Don’t cut off enough and the draw could be too tight. Typically you want to remove an 1/8 inch or less. Where to cut is going to vary some from cigar to cigar, but you want to leave part of the cap on to hold the cigar together.
A simple trick I learned on getting a great cut is to put the cutter on a flat surface and place the head of the cigar in it. Close the cutter enough to grip the cigar and pick it up. My cutter cuts a bit deep, but I’ve never had any issues when I start this way.
To get a clean cut the trick is to cut fast and all the way through. A single bladed cutter may give you some trouble, but typically if you apply fast even pressure you’ll be in good shape.
Step Two: Lighting Your Cigar
In this example I’m using a torch lighter. While traditionalists may prefer wooden matches or cedar strips I like the convenience of a torch lighter. I use a cheap $3 refillable I picked up at Walmart.
Don’t let the blue part of the flame actually touch the cigar (The flame on my lighter unfortunately did not show up in the picture). Slowly move it around until you start to see some smoke and a good portion of the end is glowing. Take a couple experimental puffs and check it. If you don’t feel like you’ve got a good light repeat the process.
Try not to puff on the cigar while lighting it, but I will do this when I’m outside or in a rush to get a good light quickly. Puffing on the cigar while lighting it can affect the flavor of the cigar.
The burn may not look even at the start, but give it a minute to two to even out on its own before trying to correct the burn.
Step Three: Smoking Your Cigar
Don’t rush your cigar. Cigars are met to be savored and enjoyed. They aren’t just a nicotine fix like a cigarette. Only take a puff or two about every 45 seconds. Smoking it faster can cause the cigar to taste bad.
Do not inhale your cigar. You should only take the smoke into your mouth. Once you get more experienced you can experiment with exhaling out your noise. This is referred to as retrohaling. Read the Stogie Fresh Retrohaling article if you want to give it a try.
I hope this basic guide can help you appreciate a fine cigar like we here at Cigar Jack do.
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