Every cigar aficionado started out as a beginner, and every beginner has been a little confused about the process of lighting up their first cigar.
Although the procedure may give the illusion of being straightforward, it is not as simple as people may believe; thus, resulting in some beginner’s quitting before they’ve really had a chance to enjoy it properly.
Essentially, a cigar will need a little preparation before it can be fully enjoyed. Taking the time and care in preparing your high-quality cigar is all part of the experience, and those that rush into smoking a cigar will often find the experience is not as satisfactory as imagined.
Therefore, to make the activity a little less confusing for all the beginners out there and make sure you are prepping your fine-quality cigars effectively, we have decided to compile an ultimate guide to preparing your cigar.
Rules to Follow
Firstly, there are a number of norms that every cigar smoker should follow that are good for every beginner to be aware of. Cigar aficionados love nothing more than bestowing their knowledge onto the beginners wanting to enter the world of cigar smoking.
However, if you want a heads-up before joining a group of cigar aficionados on their smoke, you will need to take on board the considerations outlined in this guide.
How Do You Store Cigars?
Once you’ve picked your cigars online and had them delivered to your door, the next step is to store them properly for a special occasion. The ideal condition for cigars is approximately 70% humidity at around 20ºC.
Warm air can hold a lot of moisture which can result in very spongy cigars, while cold air holds little moisture which can dry out the tobacco. To avoid disappointment, invest in a humidor to control the conditions your cigars are stored in.
Make Sure Humidity is Accurate
As a general rule of thumb, if you want the cigars to be stored at a temperature higher or lower than 20ºC, you will need to adjust the humidity accordingly to the rule of – increase by one degree, increase by 1%.
If you are unable to use a humidor, you can put the cigars into a plastic food bag or container, placing a damp sponge or paper towel with the cigars. This bag can be placed on a shelf or within an environment that will hold the humidity.
How Do I Know if a Cigar Can Be Smoked?
A good cigar, like the collection we have in store, will feel firm between the fingers on a gentle roll, with no lumps or soft spots. If your cigar does not feel like this, reject it and opt for a different selection.
If all the cigars in your collection feel like this, chances are they have not been stored properly in the first place, in which case, you will need to check the storage area for any issues.
Some like to remove the cigar label, while others will keep it on during the entirety of the smoke. Whether you keep the label on or not is entirely up to you; however, most will keep the label on until the heat has loosened the adhesive because this will make it less likely to damage the cigar’s wrap.
How Do I Cut a Cigar?
The next step in preparing your cigar is to cut it. Unlike a cigarette, cigars need the ends clipping before enjoying.
So, why should you cut the end of the cigar?
Removing the end of the cigar allows there to be a smooth opening for the smoke without ruining the structure of the cigar. The recommended cut is about one-sixteenth of an inch, around 2mm, from the end; this is usually where the curved end of the cigar meets the straight side.
Alternatively, you can opt for making a V-shaped wedge cut that will expose more surface area and allow it for easy draw of smoke through the cigar. However, this can sometimes result in the cigar smoking too hot which can make it burn faster.
Cigar Cutting Method
The best method for cutting the tip of your cigar is to use a cigar cutter, like the options we have in our online store. We would recommend avoiding biting the end of the cigar off, like Wolverine, because it is not a pleasant experience and not beneficial for the cigar.
For the best result, use a strong and quick motion to cut the end of the cigar off; this will prevent tears and ultimately provide a better smoke.
Best Cigar Cutters
When selecting a cutter, a double-bladed cigar cutter is the best option for those new to cigar smoking. The double-bladed cutter will ensure that there is a cut from both sides simultaneously, with less chance of the wrapper being torn. To cut, rest the cigar on the blade before pushing the cutter shut in one smooth and quick process.
How Do You Light a Cigar?
There are a number of ways you can light your cigar; however, the best method is arguably the torch lighter, and we would recommend purchasing one for your cigars.
Things to Avoid
While wooden matches also work, they can be difficult to keep lit for a long period of time which makes it a bad choice for beginners. Normal lighters can also be used, although they should be avoided because the lighter fluid can affect the flavour of the tobacco.
Method for Lighting
To prepare for your first smoke, hold the cigar in your hands and place the tip just above the flame. If you stick the cigar directly into the flame, it can dramatically affect the flavour. Allow the cigar to burn slightly to prime the tobacco before taking your first puffs.
We would recommend twirling the cigar in the light to make sure the cigar achieves an even burn. The end of the cigar will have a light orange glow from the embers; this is when you will know that the cigar is ready to smoke.
Do you have any tips for preparing your cigar for smoking? If so, leave a comment below with your advice!