While smoking a cigar offers the height of pleasure for many aficionados, there are several ways to enhance this experience even further. From taking a cold draw to finding the perfect pairing, we’ve listed just six tricks to try during your next smoke:
Savour a Cold Draw
After a hard week’s grind, the thought of getting home, taking a warm shower and savouring a flavoursome stogie along with your favourite beverage is incredibly appealing to many connoisseurs. However, if you can resist the temptation to light up for a moment longer, your experience will be made even more pleasurable with what is known as a cold draw. This is when you take a puff on a non-lit cigar and hold it momentarily to taste each of its individual flavours. While these flavours are likely to come through anyway during your smoke, a cold draw will not only offer a more refined taste but will also enable you to make the act of cigar smoking more ritualistic.
Unbeknown to many, retrohaling refers simply the action of pushing smoke through your nose, although it sounds far more complicated. However, those wanting to try this super-cool smoking technique will need to commit to putting some time into practising, just like you did when you learnt how not to get water up your nose when jumping in the pool…
Believe it or not, there is a practical reason for retrohaling; it allows cigar smokers to taste beyond the five basic flavours that the mouth can detect. These include bitter, sweet, sour, salty and savoury. However, the act of retrohaling enables those in-between flavours hidden in cigars to be experienced through the nose. That’s why you may hear those who have mastered the art speaking of hints of ‘almonds, cream, mint’ and many other decadent tastes that would not normally be detected when smoking regularly.
Turn Your Cigar
Any experienced aficionado will have experienced ‘canoeing’ – when one side of your cigar burns quicker than the other – at some stage in their smoking pursuit. A good way to avoid this is to turn your cigar so the fast-burning side is at the top. This is because if the slower-burning side is on the bottom, it will be getting more oxygen due to the rising smoke, which supposedly encourages it to burn at a quicker rate. However, if you’re unsure of this theory, rotating your cigar while smoking it will enable you to cover all angles!
Another tactic to try is touching up, when you repeatedly light your cigar using a lighter while turning it. However, rather than using the flame itself, be sure to light your cigar using the heat from the flame as this creates a less intense burn.
Rest Your Cigar
While many of us can’t wait to smoke our stogies, it’s important to take your time for several reasons. By puffing away too quickly, not only will your cigar be gone in no time, but it will also cause all those lovely flavours to be overshadowed by the taste of burnt tobacco. Consequently, we recommend letting your cigar rest for a few moments in-between each toke to extend the smoking experience as well as give your cigar’s flavours a chance to break through. Try limiting yourself to one or two puffs per minute and you’ll soon notice the difference – promise!
When smoking, it is not uncommon to suddenly experience a burst of unpleasant flavour that tastes nothing like the previous one you were enjoying. This abrupt change in taste can often occur when residual oil builds up in your cigar’s filler, drastically altering the taste of your stogie. An easy way to stop this from happening is to purge or in other words, blow through your cigar to get rid of those odd flavours. Not only will this serve to revive the original taste of your cigar, but it will also allow you to enjoy your smoke for longer rather than throwing it away prematurely.
Pick a Pairing
Finally, make the most of your smoking experience by pairing it with something else that you love. This could be anything from a warming coffee or a refreshing glass of scotch to your favourite steak dinner. If you’re a little stuck for pairing ideas, check out our ultimate guide to pairing here to ensure you know what works well and what doesn’t!
As well as trying out these tricks to enhance your smoking experience, why not browse our extensive range of cigars online today? From Davidoff premiums to Rocky Patel smokes, we’re sure to have the perfect stogie to suit you, no matter what your taste!