While there are plenty of guides on how to light a cigar, standard cigar lighting practices may not always work when you are smoking a cigar of an unusual shape! Whether your cigar has a tapered end, is wider in certain areas, or is square rather than round, your usual cigar lighting method may not provide the intended results, causing your cigar to burn unevenly. To avoid this issue, follow our guide and adapt your lighting style to get the best from your smoke.
Regular-sized cigars, or parejos, that feature straight sides and an open foot, will be the easiest to light and get an even burn throughout. Using a torch lighter, match or cedar spill, roast the foot of the cigar, without letting the flame directly touch the tobacco. If the tobacco does come into contact with the fire, it can make your cigar burn too fast and taste bitter. Puff on the cigar and turn it slowly to ensure that the cigar is lit evenly across the foot, and so will burn uniformly.
Perfecto cigars have a tapered head and closed foot, with a bulge in the middle. The exact length and ring gauge of such cigars vary greatly, but the fact that the cigar tapers and is not straight in the centre means that several issues with the burn may present themselves. In theory, if the cigar is lit accurately, the burn will correct itself and spread evenly as it works its way down the tobacco from the taper to the widest point.
To light correctly, you should treat a perfecto as you would a standard cigar, but ensure that you are holding the lighter straight and applying the heat directly to the tapered area of the foot. Many people mistakenly attempt to light their perfecto at an angle; however, this will cause your cigar to canoe, burning very unevenly. You will also not need to puff as much on a perfecto as you would on a regular cigar, as the tip of the perfecto is far smaller and only needs a light draw.
Pyramid cigars have a large foot and then get progressively smaller as you smoke it, ending in a tapered cap. This makes for a lot of potential burn issues, as there is more tobacco to burn at one end than throughout the rest of the cigar, which may cause it to canoe as parts of the stogie will burn faster. This is particularly the case for the tobacco on the edge of the cigar, which will burn a lot faster than the rest if it is introduced to the flame. Therefore, when lighting a pyramid cigar, the flame should be kept more centralised as you begin, and then slowly work the lighter out towards the edges. The outer tobacco may burn a little slower than the centre to start, but this will quickly balance out as the pyramid tapers in!
Box Pressed Cigars
While box pressed cigars are fairly similar to a standard stogie, their square shape can make lighting a little trickier. With corners to take into consideration, holding the lighter in the wrong places can cause a canoe-effect, as one side burns before the others. Ensure that the flame is kept only on the foot of the cigar, avoiding any of the corner areas. Due to the square shape, it can also be harder to rotate the cigar well as you puff on it to ensure an even burn. To get around this, the cigar should be rotated a quarter at a time while puffing to be sure it is fully lit without singeing the corners!
When presented with a culebra cigar you may think: ‘how am I going to light all of this evenly?!’ Yet, if you have ever attempted to light all three at once, then we’re afraid to say that you have been smoking these very wrong! Before smoking, the culebra must be disassembled, unravelling the three cigars from each other. You can then light and smoke each of these cigars individually as you would a standard cigar.
Regardless of the type of cigar you choose to enjoy, ensure that you are using only the best cigar lighter for your smoke. Here at Havana House, we offer a wide selection of top quality cigar accessories, including Xikar lighters, so if you’re looking to upgrade your collection then check out our range!