The Dos and Don’ts of Smoking a Cigar for the First Time

Smoking a Cigar

The cigar smoking experience is more than just the act of sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying. It’s about feeling like a king or queen for an hour or so.

If you’re new to cigar smoking, you may worry that you don’t know how to smoke one properly. Yes, to ensure a pleasurable smoke, there are a few things you should know before lighting up.

Don’t Inhale!

While most of these tips apply to uncut, handmade cigars, this one is universal: cigars are not meant to be inhaled. Sure, some people do it. But for the best tasting experience, and to avoid any nicotine headaches, you should avoid inhaling cigar smoke. Take a puff, hold it in your mouth to savor, and exhale.

Do Make Sure to Cut Properly

To get good airflow and prevent your cigar from unraveling, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind when cutting a handmade cigar.

Firstly, make sure you’ve got your cigar in the right direction. Premium cigars are designed so the smoke from the tobacco leaves in the foot (the end you light) season the rest of the tobacco as you smoke. Smoking a cigar backward can ruin how a cigar transitions as you smoke, and for some cigars, it’ll taste completely off. Almost all cigars will have the foot cut and the cap uncut with the band nearby, so it’s easy to identify.

Next, make sure you make your cut confidently and not too deep. Use a sharp cigar-cutter and cut it with one, swift motion. When you examine the cap, you can usually see its wrapping. Cut close to the end of the cap. If you cut too deep your cigar wrapper leaf may unravel as you smoke.

Do Get a Good Light

While some cigars are less delicate than others, it’s always advised to take good care when lighting your cigar. Matches or butane lighters are best as they are odorless and won’t taint the tobacco leaves with the smell of gasoline.

First, “toast” the foot of the cigar. “Toasting” dries the tobacco at the end of the cigar and prepares it to be lit. To do this, keep your fire an inch away from the foot and gently rotate your cigar. Once the foot is smoldering or beginning to combust, it’s ready to light. Take a few shallow puffs while bringing the flame close to the cigar until it’s lit.

There are plenty of helpful videos out there showing exactly how to achieve a perfect light. Just do your best to get an even light without burning the cigar. If you’re using a torch lighter, there’s no need to get too close with it. Take your time and be patient and you’ll have a well-lit cigar to enjoy.

Don’t Smoke Too Quickly

Most cigars, such as Robustos and Coronas, should take at least an hour to smoke. Larger ones, like Churchills, can take two hours or more. Taking your time when smoking a cigar is about more than ensuring long-lasting leisure. Smoking too quickly can overheat the tobacco and cause a charry, bitter taste for the rest of your smoke. Take one good puff every 60 seconds or so.

Do Enjoy Yourself

From humidity control to lighting techniques, premium handmade cigars can take a lot of love to ensure the best experience. But you don’t have to be an aficionado to enjoy cigars. There are many varieties of cigars available online, from filtered cigars to pre-cut cigars. There’s flavored and unflavored, hand-rolled and machine-made. But even some of the cheapest cigars around have something to offer your taste buds. As long as your enjoying them, you’re doing it right.

Heather Breese
Heather Breese is a qualified writer who fell in love with creativity and became a specialist creator and writer, focused on readers and market need.

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