Cigars have been enjoyed for centuries and have become a symbol of luxury and sophistication. However, for someone new to the world of cigars, the prospect of selecting and smoking a cigar can be overwhelming. As an experienced cigar smoker, sharing your knowledge with those interested in trying cigars for the first time is essential.
Before introducing a newbie to cigars, it is essential to understand the basics of cigars. A cigar is made from tobacco leaves that have been fermented and aged. The leaves are wrapped in a tobacco leaf wrapper, the visible part of the cigar. The quality of a cigar is determined by the type of tobacco used, the tobacco's age, and the roller's skill.
Selecting the Right Cigar
Now, selecting the right cigar can be daunting for someone new to cigars. Several factors need to be considered, such as the cigar's size, shape, and strength. As an experienced cigar smoker, you are responsible for guiding the newbie in selecting the right cigar.
- Size: Cigars come in various sizes, from small to large. The size of the cigar determines the length of time it takes to smoke. For a newbie, it is best to start with a smaller cigar, as it will be easier to smoke.
- Shape: Cigars come in different shapes, such as Parejo, torpedo, and Belicoso. The form of the cigar can impact the smoking experience. A Parejo cigar, which has a straight shape, is a good option for a newbie.
- Strength: The strength of a cigar is determined by the amount of nicotine in the tobacco. For a newbie, starting with a mild to medium-strength cigar is best. A strong cigar can be overwhelming for someone new to cigars.
Preparing to Smoke a Cigar
Before smoking a cigar, it is important to prepare the cigar properly. Here are the steps to follow:
#1: Cut the Cigar
The first step in preparing to smoke a cigar is to cut the cigar. A proper cut will allow for an even and easy draw, enhancing the flavor and overall smoking experience.
Different types of cigar cutters are available, including straight cutters, V-cutters, and punch cutters. The most common type is the straight cutter, which allows for a straight cut across the cigar's head.
To cut a cigar using a straight cutter, hold the cigar in one hand and the cutter in the other. Place the cigar head into the opening of the cutter and make a straight cut about 1/8 inch from the end of the cigar. It is essential to make a clean cut to avoid tearing the wrapper or damaging the cigar.
#2: Light the Cigar
After cutting the cigar, the next step is to light the cigar. Using the correct lighter type is essential, as the wrong kind of lighter can impact the flavor and overall smoking experience.
Butane lighters are the most popular type of lighter used to light cigars. Butane lighters produce a clean flame that does not impact the cigar's flavor. Matches can also be used, but it is essential to use a long match to avoid burning your fingers.
To light the cigar, hold the cigar at a 45-degree angle and slowly rotate it while lighting. Avoid touching the flame with the cigar, as this can damage the wrapper and flavor.
#3: Smoke the Cigar
After lighting the cigar, the next step is to smoke the cigar. Take a slow, steady draw from the cigar and hold the smoke in your mouth for a few seconds before exhaling. This will allow the flavor to develop and enhance the overall smoking experience.
It’s essential to take your time while smoking a cigar. Smoking too quickly can lead to overheating, impacting the flavor and making the cigar bitter. Take slow, steady draws and enjoy the experience.
Enjoying the Cigar
Smoking a cigar is not just about lighting it up and puffing away. There is an art to enjoying a cigar. Here are some tips to share with a newbie:
#1: Sip, Don't Inhale
The first rule of smoking a cigar is to avoid inhaling the smoke. Unlike cigarettes, cigars are not meant to be inhaled into the lungs. Instead, draw slowly and steadily, holding the smoke in your mouth for a few seconds before exhaling.
#2: Don't Rush the Smoke
Cigars are meant to be enjoyed slowly, with each puff taken leisurely. Rushing through the smoke can cause the cigar to burn too quickly, making it too hot and harsh. It can also impact the flavor, as the smoke may need more time to develop the complex notes that make cigars enjoyable.
#3: Pair the Cigar with a Beverage
Cigars can be enjoyed independently but are often paired with a drink, such as scotch, bourbon, or coffee. The right beverage can enhance the cigar's flavor, complementing the notes of spice, sweetness, or earthiness.
#4: Rotate the Cigar
Cigars are meant to be rotated while smoking to ensure an even burn. Rotating the cigar also allows the flavors to develop evenly, preventing the cigar from tasting bitter or harsh. You can rotate the cigar gently between your fingers, careful not to squeeze too hard or damage the wrapper.
Smoking a cigar is meant to be a relaxing experience. Find a comfortable place to sit, in a quiet corner of a cigar lounge or on your porch at home. Take the time to unwind and enjoy the cigar rather than rushing through the smoke.
#6: Cleanse your palate
Before smoking a cigar, it is recommended to cleanse your palate. This can be done by drinking water or eating a light snack. Cleansing your palate can enhance your ability to taste the complex flavors of the cigar, allowing you to appreciate the experience fully.
Etiquette of Smoking a Cigar
Smoking a cigar is not just about enjoying the cigar. There is an etiquette to smoking a cigar. Here are some tips to share with a newbie:
Tip #1: Respect Others
Cigar smoke can be overwhelming for some people. Be mindful of others around you when smoking a cigar.
Tip #2: Hold the Stogie Properly
Hold the cigar between your index finger and thumb. Do not hold the cigar between your index and middle finger; this can be rude.
Tip #3: Avoid Ashing
Let the ash fall off naturally. Tapping the ash can be considered rude.
Tip #4: No Re-Lighting of the Cigar
Best to let it rest once a cigar has gone out. Relighting a cigar can impact the flavor.
Tip #5: Dispose of the Cigar Properly
Do not leave a half-smoked cigar around. Dispose of the cigar properly.