Many people have heard that the flame from a lighter can effect the taste of a cigar, but is this really true or just, as they say, “An Old Wives Tale?” The short answer is yes, it is absolutely true and we’ll be exploring the reasons why; giving you some useful tips on lighter selection and maintenance for producing and maintaining the best possible flavor.
First off, most lighters will impart at least somewhat of a flavor to your cigar. The reason for this is to be found in the most common types of fuel used for most lighters, that being liquid fuel. Usually this liquid fuel is something along the lines of methanol or methylated spirits, white gas (also known as Naphtha and other such flammable gases. These kinds of flammable liquids burn very strong and are usually fairly cheap but tend to impart a distinct aroma to one’s cigar.
There are two very good alternatives to liquid fuel when looking for the right lighter flame, traditional wooden matches and butane lighters. Wooden matches may not be as popular as they once were but still allow much greater control over the flame and hence, the lighting, of the cigar itself (provided that one is secluded from a windy environment). In addition, the odor and flavor imparted to the cigar will be, generally speaking, for there are some funky match brands out there, exceedingly minimal. But matches are messy and easily foiled by the elements, such as light rain or wind and as such are usually not the most optimal alternative to liquid fuel lighters for most smokers.
Butane lighters, on the other hand, are much more convenient and resistant to the elements. Pure butane lighters are also nearly odorless and will not taint your precious and expensive imported cigars with “industrial” odors. Another advantage of butane is the intensity of the flame which affords the ardent smoker two distinct advantages. The first is that the high temperature of the butane gas allows cigars which would generally take a long time to light to be lit up fairly quickly (but remember not to singe you roll), the second advantage is that, since it burns so intensely butane will always allow for a very neat and even burn line, which in turn prevents crumbling and unintentional ashing (no one wants ash in suddenly jetting into their afternoon coffee!).
In the end then, it is easy to say that the best kind of flame for your cigar is one produced by a butane lighter. Bright, resilient, clean and odorless butane flames are the way to go for the “purest” smoke possible.