Experienced cigar smokers can make lighting up stogie looks easy, but a novice smoker will quickly find that it is much more intricate than it looks. Here, we’ll discuss the basics of cigar smoking and etiquette so that your first experiences will be as pleasurable as possible.
1. TAKE YOUR TIME!
The first rule of cigar smoking is to take your time! Smoking a cigar is not a race. It’s a time to sit, talk, and enjoy not only the cigar, but the people around you. Don’t be worried if your cigar goes out and you have to relight it. Take the time to savor the taste and enjoy the experience.
2. Do not Inhale
The way to sample the flavor is to hold the smoke in your mouth and then blow it out slowly. Your palette must be able to gather the taste of the cigar. Some smokers also exhale the smoke through their nostrils to gain an added sense of flavor.
3. Do not talk and smoke
The most well-known dinner table rule carries into this arena… Don’t talk with your mouth full! Although commonly seen in mobster movies it displays poor manners and it is not way of a distinguished gentlemen.
4. The Band Debate
What to do with the band has been a topic of debate among cigar enthusiast for many years. Some people believe that you should remove your band because in a group of strangers, it creates a level of equality. Whether you have a low priced cigar or a high priced cigar, removing the band eliminates the bragging rights (or embarrassment) when you’re out smoking with a group of people you may not know. Removing the band can be hard however; and if not done properly can ruin the cigar. The secret is to remove the band once you have lit and begun to smoke your cigar because it comes off much easier. You may find that with some cigars you have to smoke at least 1/3 of the cigar before it will slide off easily so be careful.
5. Know what you’re smoking
The worst thing that can happen to you in a group of people is that you don’t know the language of cigars. If you bring your own and have not smoked this particular brand before, know what the taste is supposed to be like so in the case that you’re asked you feel comfortable answering. Testing cigars and reviewing what others say about them can help you get an idea of the taste and body. It also allows you to hone in on the flavors you like the most as you start trying unfamiliar cigars.
6. Don’t be a teacher
Telling someone how to smoke their cigar is also rude whether you’re in public or in a group. Practicing your cigar technique before smoking in groups is a necessity but this is not a skill that you want to learn or be taught in public. Smoking is a time to sit, talk, and enjoy not only the cigar, but the people around you, not for an etiquette lesson.
7. Lighting your cigar
Knowing how to light a cigar is a basic, yet essential step in having a good smoke. Use only butane lighters or stick matches. Using other types of flames changes the taste of the cigar. When going to a cigar store, you’re usually given a box for free. If not, you can find boxes at your local dollar store. Next, do not let the flame touch the cigar when lighting. Lastly, don’t light everyone’s cigar. A man should not light another man’s cigar; however, he can light for a lady. A lady can light for anyone.
8. Hold your cigar correctly
This is how aficionados can tell another aficionado from a novice. Once again, many of the mistakes made in doing this come from what is seen in mobster movies. Do not hold a cigar up to your ear and roll it through your fingers. When given a cigar hold the cigar by its body – not at the head.
9. Cutting your cigar
Cut preference varies from smoker to smoker. Whether it is a straight cut, v-cut, or a punch, besides knowing where to cut, there is one major key to cutting. Have a good cutter. Make sure that you have a sharp cutter and that it creates the type of cut that you prefer when smoking. There are some fool-proof cutters out there that have stoppers to eliminate bad cuts. If you do not already a good cigar cutter you may want to add that to your list of must-haves.
When you’re done with your cigar, just let it finish on its own. Do not put a cigar out like a cigarette. Most importantly, be mindful of those around you. Everyone is not fond of cigar smoke. These steps now put you on the track to becoming a cigar aficionado. Have fun.