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Can You Smoke a Cold Cigar in 2024?

cold cigar

If you're a serious cigar connoisseur, it's time to learn about the cold taste.  Doing a cold taste is very much like sniffing a glass of wine before drinking it.  This process involves clipping the cigar, inserting it into your mouth and taking a few inhales before lighting it.

While this concept may sound strange, you'd be surprised by how helpful it is. By taking a drag from your cigar before it has been lit, you will be able to experience all of those flavor nuances.  This can help you get a general feel of the cigar's flavor profile before you commit to a full smoking session.

What is a Cold Cigar?

A "cold cigar" generally refers to a cigar before it has been lit. In the context of cigar smoking, enthusiasts often discuss the qualities of a cigar in both its "cold" state (before lighting) and after it is lit.  When examining a cold cigar, aficionados may consider aspects, and even do certain things such as:

  1. Cold Draw: Before lighting, some smokers like to cut the cigar and draw air through it. This "cold draw" can give an initial impression of the flavors and the ease of airflow through the cigar.
  2. Aroma: The scent of a cold cigar is also assessed. Enthusiasts might smell the foot (the part that is lit) or the body of the cigar to get a sense of the tobacco's characteristics.
  3. Taste Preview: Drawing on an unlit cigar allows you to taste some of the tobacco's natural flavors. While it won't be as intense or as rich as a lit cigar, it can offer hints about the profile of the smoke to come.
  4. Humidity Check: Drawing on a cold cigar can also give you a sense of its humidity level. A well-humidified cigar will draw smoothly, while an over-humidified cigar may feel too tight or draw with difficulty, and an under-humidified cigar may feel too loose.
  5. Construction: The overall construction can be evaluated when the cigar is cold. This includes checking the firmness (to assess the potential for an even burn) and looking at the quality of the wrapper.  Also, if the draw is too tight or too loose, it might indicate problems like knots or underfilling, which could affect the smoking experience once lit.
  6. Mindful Engagement: For some, this ritual is a way to slow down and engage more mindfully with the cigar, appreciating its construction, aroma, and flavor before even lighting it up.

This pre-light ritual is part of the overall experience for many cigar enthusiasts, adding to the anticipation and enjoyment of the smoking session.

So, Can You Actually Smoke a Cold Cigar?

Yes, you can "smoke" a cold cigar, but the experience will be significantly different from smoking a lit cigar.  When a cigar is referred to as "cold”, it typically means that it is unlit. Some cigar enthusiasts perform a "cold draw" by drawing air through an unlit cigar to taste the flavors of the tobacco before actually lighting it.  Again, this can give an indication of the cigar's profile and quality.

However, actually "smoking" in the traditional sense involves lighting the cigar, which activates the combustion process and releases the full spectrum of flavors and aromas from the tobacco.  Without lighting the cigar, you won't experience the full taste, aroma, and sensation that cigar smoking generally offers.

So, while you can draw air through a cold (unlit) cigar to taste its unburnt flavors, it won't provide the full experience of smoking a lit cigar.  Cold drawing is more of a preliminary step to enhance the anticipation and overall experience for cigar aficionados.

Can a Cool Draw Ruin a Cigar?

Yes, a cold draw can potentially ruin a cigar, if done improperly.  In fact, it can lead to issues such as:

  • Overdrawing: Drawing too hard or too frequently on an unlit cigar can cause the cigar to expand and the wrapper to crack, especially if the cigar is dry or not properly humidified.
  • Damaging the Structure: Cigars are carefully rolled and have a delicate structure. Drawing too forcefully can disturb the internal structure, leading to an uneven burn or draw once the cigar is lit.
  • Moisture: The mouth can introduce moisture into the cigar, which, if excessive, might affect the burn or overall experience once the cigar is lit.

It's generally recommended to perform a gentle and measured cold draw, being careful not to exert too much force or pressure on the cigar.  Proper storage and handling of the cigar before smoking are also crucial to maintain its condition and ensure the best smoking experience.

Final Cold Cigar Drawing Thoughts

As you can see, the cold draw is the process of drawing air through the cigar before it’s lit.  It is an important step for many cigar aficionados, as it allows them to taste the flavors of the tobacco before combustion alters them.  However, if you’re gonna do this, you need to make sure to do it the right way, in order to avoid damaging the stogie, as well as already be an experience cigar smoker.

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