We all have to start somewhere – although sometimes, trying to navigate the world of cigars can be a little overwhelming for new cigar smokers. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you don’t fit in and are doing things wrong amongst other smokers, so we share our top tips for newbies to cigar smoking so you’ll be enjoying cigars like an aficionado in no time!
How to Choose a Cigar?
The best starting point is, of course, with the purchase of a cigar – you can’t really smoke a cigar without one! It’s best to start off with a light or medium-bodied cigar, as a full-body smoke may pack too much of a punch for your first attempts. This certainly doesn’t mean that flavour has to be sacrificed though, as there are plenty of aromatic cigars perfect for beginners!
While it can be tempting to start with a really cheap cigar to see if you like them, the chances are that if you’re not picking something good quality, you won’t enjoy it. It is important to select a premium cigar, as these will be handcrafted by expert rollers using 100% tobacco. Not only will the flavours be more rounded and enjoyable, but the smoke itself will be easier. Cigars that have been made cheaply are more likely to have burn issues, which can make smoking them very difficult. By paying only a little more, you can have a great quality smoke with ease. Plus, while cigars are associated with luxury, premium smokes aren’t always that expensive, you can get great quality cigars for around £8. Considering one cigar has the tobacco equivalent of a whole box of cigarettes, that’s a bargain!
What Accessories Do I Need to Smoke a Cigar?
As well as the cigar itself, you will need a cigar lighter, a cigar cutter and an ashtray. If you would like to store your cigars for future smoking, then you will also need a humidor. It is important to get quality accessories to enjoy the best smoke. For example, if you use a cheap cigar cutter, the blades might not be sharp enough or may be wrongly aligned, making the cut on your cigar cap jagged, or squashing it instead of cleanly slicing. This can damage the structure of the cigar, or make the wrapper unravel. It is, therefore, very important to purchase a quality cutter with stainless steel blades to ensure the cap can be sliced or punched out easily and cleanly.
When smoking a cigar, you do not continually puff. The cigar must be put down to rest once in a while, as continuous smoking can cause the cigar to overheat and develop issues with the draw. As such, it is a good idea to invest in a dedicated cigar ashtray that includes a dip in which to rest your cigar when it isn’t being smoked. Likewise, the cigar shouldn’t be stubbed out when finished; instead, it must simply be left to burn out, meaning that an ashtray is essential for smoking a cigar.
If you have bought multiple cigars to try, or are intending on investing in a box of cigars, then it is a good idea to get your hands on a humidor, as this helps to keep your cigars fresh and at the right humidity. Cigars need to be kept at around 70% humidity to be at their best, as they can quickly dry out and become brittle. However, if you’re not yet ready to commit to a humidor, then there are a number of ways you can store cigars without a humidor in the short term.
How to Light a Cigar?
Lighting the cigar can be the downfall of many new smokers. While you might think that the flame needs to come into direct contact with the cigar to light it, this is not the case. Instead, the foot of the cigar needs to be lightly toasted, with the lighter held a few centimetres away from it. Putting the flame directly on the cigar can cause the cigar to light too quickly and unevenly, causing burn issues and bad tastes. To properly light a cigar, you’ll want to invest in a good cigar lighter, like a torch or jet lighter, as this will help give you a more precise flame to torch the end.
As you light the cigar, slowly rotate it between your fingers to ensure the burn you get is even. Then bring the cigar to your mouth, and puff while rotating it, without letting the flame touch it. An uneven burn can destroy the structure of the cigar and cause problems with the draw, making it extremely difficult to smoke it.
These tips are just the basics of cigar smoking, so if you have more questions about how best to smoke your cigar, please check out our complete guide to cigar smoking, where you can find all the answers!