How to Light a Cigar

A cigar being puffed on

Lighting a cigar can easily be overlooked; after all, the cigar itself is the star of the show. And who can’t help but be distracted by the anticipation of the cigar’s tasting notes?

You’ll be surprised to hear that even aficionados can sometimes get it wrong when lighting cigars, which is easily done. It can happen from having the wrong tool at hand, an unfavoured gust of wind, or understandably being too keen.

If you’re looking for an instrument that is not only reliable and stylish but will also complement the shape and taste of your cigar, then you can browse through our great selection of cigar lights, including our Xikar lighters.

How to Light a Cigar

We recommend that you use this practice to ensure that you get the most out of your stogie; this will ensure the flavours are enjoyed the way they were intended to be!


  1. Light the cigar the way you would toast a marshmallow – keep the cigar above the flame, but don’t let them touch. If you accidentally catch the end of the cigar, simply pull the stogie away from the flame.
  2. Rotate the cigar above the flame so the cigar foot is evenly heated. You’re aiming for a glowing, red ring with thinly blackened edges at the foot of the cigar; this will require a little patience.
  3. Take a puff of the cigar; the ember should burn evenly when drawn from. If you don’t have an even burn, take the cigar out of your mouth. Touch up the area in need of assistance by using the end of the flame. You can also try gently blowing on the embers to create a smooth, rounded ash.

Cigar Lighting Tips

Lighting your cigar incorrectly won’t necessarily ruin the cigar, but it will impact your experience. Here are a few basic rules to keep in mind before you light up your favourite stogie:

  • Ensure that you light the cigar on the tip of the flame, not in it.
  • Rotate the foot of the cigar until the entire end has been lit.
  • When lighting using a soft flame, rotate the foot 3mm above the flame.
  • When lighting with a jet flame, rotate the foot 12-25mm above the flame.

Lighting cigars isn’t complicated. When lighting a cigar, remember:

  • It’s essential to achieve as much glow as possible
  • Never char the outside of the cigar wrapper

What Should You Light a Cigar With?

Now you have a good idea of how to go about lighting your cigar, you might find yourself wondering what instrument you should use; this will come down to personal preference. Below, we’ve listed some of the best ways to light up:


Although they’re not ideal outside, matches are a popular choice. When using matches, you can strike two together to create a wider flame, this will toast the entire foot evenly.

Cedar matches are made for lighting cigars, but if this is not available, you can also use a sulphur tip. To avoid the match from affecting the taste of your cigar, it’s best to let the sulphur burn off the end.


Lighting your cigar with a candle is an absolute no-no. We wouldn’t recommend it on any account. Although it may seem like a convenient way to light up a smoke, it’s just a sure-fire way to tamper with its taste and unevenly light your favourite stogie.

When candles burn, the wick interacts with the surrounding wax; this alone can give your cigar a waxy aftertaste. Cheaper candle wicks will often contain an array of toxic materials, such as carbon, benzene and toluene, which will make your cigar taste disgusting.

Cedar Shaving

Cedar shavings, also known as cedar spill, are a nice novelty way to light up, which offer no residual contaminants that can pass onto your cigar. Purists who swear by cedar shavings have commented on an enjoyable, added cedar flavour that transfers to the cigar.

The only issue with cedar shavings is the added complication of lighting, but other than that, this old-school method is one that many cigar smokers enjoy.


A lighter is often the go-to choice for most smokers, but cheap lighters are one to be wary of. The odour from cheap lighters can ruin the taste of the cigar quite easily.

There are some misconceptions among the smoking community that the better the gas quality, the better the lighter works. But the simple truth is that the purity of the gas will have no bearing on the quality of the lighter.

As well as this, the number of refining processes alone is no testimony to the quality; it depends on what foreign substances or impurities there are in the gas.

For more information or advice, you can take a look through our blog, which is filled with loads of articles based on all of our favourite things, such as cigars, whisky and much more.

If you would like to inquire about what cigars or lighters will work best for you, contact one of our team members who will be more than happy to help.

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One thought on “How to Light a Cigar

  1. Pingback: How to Light Different Shaped Cigars | Havana House

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