How to Smoke a Cigar Like a Pro
So, you have decided to join the elite club of cigar smokers. Be forewarned that a person does not simply smoke a cigar. True aficionados relish the entire ritual of the experience. Take some time to learn cigar etiquette and soon you will be smoking like a professional.
Choosing Your Cigar
Choosing your first cigar may be daunting. Most tobacco shops have hundreds of cigars. Do not assume the most expensive is the best. Many experts recommend new smokers begin with a mid-priced cigar. There may be a period of trial and error before you discover your individual taste.
Smell the cigar. Does it have a pleasant aroma? Roll the cigar between your fingers. Check the cigar for soft spots and lumps. It should be firm from tip to tip.
You have your cigar, but you are not ready to start smoking. The next step is cutting the cigar. Many cigar enthusiasts believe cutting is a critical part of the process. A proper cut creates an opening large enough to allow a smooth airflow without damaging the cigar. A poor cut can ruin a good cigar.
You cut the head, or cap, of the cigar. This is the end that you put in your mouth. The lit end is known as the foot. To accomplish this step you need a cigar cutter or cigar guillotine. Cutters are available in a wide variety of shapes and styles. A double blade cutter is a good choice for a novice cigar smoker. They are easier to use than a single blade and provide a clean cut.
You want to cut your cigar at the shoulder. This is where the curve of the head ends and begins to straighten. Take care not to cut too far down. This can cause the cigar to unwrap. Align the cigar between the blades. Gently close the blades until they just touch the cigar. This helps to hold the cigar in place. Cut quickly with even pressure on both blades to create a clean cut.
A true cigar aficionado would probably never leave home without a cutter at his disposal. However, you could use a knife to cut the cigar in a pinch. Never bite the end. The pros will not be impressed.
It is time to light, or prime, your cigar. By now, it should not be a surprise to learn that there is a proper method for this seemingly simple act. Cigars should be lit with a torch lighter or a wooden match. Regular lighters and matches have chemicals that can affect the flavor of a cigar.
Place the cigar between your lips and hold the foot above the flame. Do not puff the cigar. Instead, rotate the cigar as it lights. When the cigar produces an orange glow, it is ready to smoke.
You are finally ready to take your first puff. Remember, this is a puff. Do not suck from your diaphragm. Instead, pretend you are sucking on a straw. Allow your mouth to fill with smoke and blow it out. Do not inhale. Cigar tobacco is typically stronger than a cigarette. Inhaling will likely produce a coughing fit.
After a few quick puffs, you will notice white smoke. This is your indicator to slow down. Relax and take a puff every minute or so to keep the cigar lit. Take some time to appreciate the taste and the aroma. This is your reward.
Of course, there is also etiquette for properly disposing of the ash. Allow the ash to grow to about one inch in length. Carefully roll the ash off into an ashtray. Do not tap your cigar or flick the ash onto the ground.
Cigars have a rich history. Think of Winston Churchill or Groucho Marx and cigars immediately come to mind. Many friendships and business deals are forged over cigars and drinks. They are a time-honored tradition. Now you can smoke your cigar with the confidence of a professional.