Let’s talk about price and “quality” of the cigar in question. To be really candid, cost is immaterial to a certain extent and beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder.
If you’ve been smoking sticks for a long time you tastes will be a bit more developed as an aficionado versus someone who is just starting to appreciate a great cigar.
Lets also talk about the company you keep and location – “silver box memories” all come down to time, place, who is hanging out with your, etc., etc. – you will remember the occasion and probably the cigar. But, again, the price of the stogie is incidental.
Make sure you appreciate and understand how a cigar wrapper functions. A cigar wrapper is the pièce de résistance of any great cigar – it does a lot more than just hold a cigar together, it helps to define the flavor and overall experience of smoking a great cigar.
When you are diving in and purchasing your next box of cigars you want to have a least a working knowledge of cigar wrappers.
Rule Number One: step up to the proverbial plate and buy a humidor for your sticks. You’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of the cigar, it will last a lot longer and the cost of a good humidor is anywhere from $50-500 bucks, depending on how exotic you want your humidor to be.
Burn the cigar like you love it: you don’t need to rush through the smoking experience and there’s nothing wrong with letting the cigar go out and then relighting it. Some cigar aficionados swear by using a cedar match or butane lighter to fire their stick up. And, you can’t go wrong with either.
But, don’t worry about it unless you are smoking a $250 stick that was bought in Havanna back in the day and preserved for years in your humidor – if this is the case then go long and deep and use a butane zippo.
Use a Cutter to ensure your going to make the most of the cigar. Three critical issues:
Make a clean cut and for God’s sake use a decent cigar cutter. Your cutting the cigar to ensure you negate the chances of your cigar unraveling, which is going to ruin the experience.
At the head of the cigar (that’s the part that goes in your mouth BTW) look for the “cap,” a round piece of tobacco attached to the head of the cigar to keep the wrapper together typically put on the head of the cigar during the hand rolling and you should see a distinct line that outlines the cap.
Don’t waste good tobacco! Just remove the outer layer of the wrapper, making a cut about 2-3 millimeters just before the cap. Cut that baby like you mean it, be decisive and don’t fool around.
If you are using a bullet punch cutter remember the size of the hole is going to dramatically impact how much smoke you get and if you want a lot of smoke you will probably have to make multiple cuts.
How to properly warm up your cigar: hold the stick at 90 degree angle above the flame of the lighter and don’t ever burn the cigar directly in the flame (it’s too much heat), twist or rotate the cigar so all parts are evenly charred. Put the cigar in your mouth and with the flame still under the tip just puff gently until the flame moves into the cigar.
“Ashing” just allows the ashes of the cigar to fall out properly and don’t tap on a cigar like a cigarette to remove ash – if you want to hasten the process then roll the ash of the cigar on your ashtray.
Don’t ever expect premium cigars to smoke the same – it’s not going to happen and set your expectations accordingly. A premium cigar is handmade and created from an agricultural crop of tobacco and you should expect subtle variances in the experience from cigar to cigar. But, nothing major.
Wine and cigars are too different products and some think a cigar will improve with age like a fine wine. This is not the case. Cigars are manufactured to exacting specifications, products and processes and they are a distinct industry: yes cigar manufacturers do try to ensure flavors are consistent from year to year.
But tobacco is a much different beast than wine – don’t expect the taste of a cigar to change or evolve over time; if it does at all, it will be a very slow process and taste variances will be pretty subtle from year to year.
Alcohol dipping should never ever be done. It’s a great way to ruin a good cigar and we disagree vehemently with the legions of cigar smokers who dip their sticks in booze of their choosing. Your cigar will thank you for not drowning it in the booze of the moment.
In closing, let common sense be your guide when smoking that premium cigar and you’ll maximize your pleasure. And, sign up for our Newsletter if you are interested in hearing about topical issues relating to cigars and to get some great deals on cigars and accessories.