Cutting, Lighting and Smoking a Cigar

Cutting/Piercing: Hand-made premium cigars must be cut or pierced before they are smoked. There are a variety of piercing devices available, and the choice is simply a matter of personal preference. If you prefer to cut your cigars, it is very important that the cutting blade is very sharp because a dull blade will ruin your cigars. Hold the cigar at eye level to ensure you are cutting a straight line. Place the head of the cigar into the cutter, taking care not to cut into the shoulder (where the cap meets the body of the cigar), as this will cause the cigar to unravel. Use constant, quick pressure to cut off the end without crushing the cigar.

Lighting: To light your cigar you need the correct lighter. Some cigar buffs use cedar strips, called spills, but most people use matches or a lighter. If you opt for matches, wooden ones are best because stay lit longer. If you prefer a lighter, be sure it uses butane fuel so as not to effect the cigar’s taste.

When you are ready to light your cigar, be sure that the flame does not touch the cigar. Direct contact with the flame can flavor the cigar with residue from your lighter or match. Instead, hold the cigar above the flame and rotate it to lightly char the foot. Then, place the cigar in your mouth and continue to light as you rotate the cigar, gently puffing in every few seconds.

Once the cigar is lit, remove it from your mouth and check the foot to make sure it is burning evenly. If it isn’t, blow gently on the foot to ignite the tobacco which is not burning. If one area is burning faster than the others, simply wet your finger and apply it beneath the quick-burning area to slow it down.

Smoking: If your cigar starts to burn hot while smoking, gently blow through it to blow out all the smoke. Then, simply set the cigar down for a minute, wait, then smoke as usual!

Extinguishing a Cigar: Opinions differ as to when to stop smoking a cigar. Some say once the cigar has burned halfway down, it is done. Others smoke it all the way down to their fingers. There really is no right or wrong answer, so do what feels right to you. If you reach a point when smoking your cigar is no longer enjoyable, just put it down. Unlike a cigarette, do not stomp it out or smash it. Just let it extinguish itself.

Relighting a Cigar: If your cigar goes out, do not just relight it and continue smoking. If simply relit, the tars present in the cigar will cause the smoke to taste charred or stale. Before relighting, tap off all of the gray-white ash on the end of the cigar. Next, place the flame below the cigar until the heat from the flame causes the tip to ignite into a bright yellow flame. Then, gently blow through the cigar for a few seconds to burn off the tars built up in the cigar while smoking. Your cigar will now smoke as if it was freshly lit.

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