Pipes and Lighters Blog

How to Smoke a Cigar

Smoking cigars involves cutting, toasting and lighting. All of this combined forms a ritual all cigar smokers follow step by step.

Firstly, you will make a deft cut or an opening at the head of the cigar using a cigar cutter of choice, or even just a guillotine. You will do this above or at the seam that you will find at the shoulder or the sloped part of the head. It’s very important to take care when completing this step. If you cut too far down into the cigar then the entire cigar could begin to unravel.

Before lighting, put the cigar to your lips and draw through it. When you do this step it should draw smoothly, but if it doesn’t then it is rolled too tightly. If this is the case then you should ideally get a new cigar altogether, or try to make a slightly larger cut to admit more air. However this brings us back to our first point to consider, and that is to try and avoid cutting down too far.

When it comes to lighting the cigar, this step remains the same whether you are using a wooden match, butane lighter or cedar spill. Start by toasting the foot of the cigar to prepare it for lighting. Then hold the tip of the flame directly underneath the foot of the cigar, all whilst the cigar is at a 45 degree angle.

It is important that you don’t let the flame touch the tobacco and risk charring the wrapper. The tip is the hottest part of the flame and you would like to toast the open end of the filler leaves to dry them out. Why should you do this step? Well, it helps to prepare the tobacco to more readily accept the flame when you actually light the cigar.

As you toast it, gently rotate the cigar to be sure you are getting the entire circumference smouldering. Once you get a whiff of smoke, place the cigar in your mouth and puff gently while continuing to rotate it over the tip of the flame. As you puff, you will eventually see the flame flare up and ignite the cigar’s foot. Continue to rotate until the foot is glowing. Now, you can relax.

As you’re smoking a cigar, you need to be aware of how to handle the ash. Once your cigar reaches approximately one inch in length, discretely tap it off. If the ash decides not to budge, don’t force it. Leave it alone whilst you smoke some more.

Once you’re finished and wish to put out the cigar, simply place the butt in an ashtray and let it go out of its own accord. Lastly, here’s something to remember about relighting a cigar. A hand-rolled cigar is made of pure tobacco, with no chemicals to make it burn, therefore if not puffed and supplied with air, it will eventually go out. It is best to try and relight your cigar whilst it is still warm.

We have many more tips on smoking cigars such as using a cigar humidor and how to test it, as well as top tips for tatsing a cigar and how to rehydrate cigars.

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