Cigars are considered to be luxurious commodities. Perhaps that’s why they intimidate the non-smoker so much. Have you ever wondered how exactly cigars are smoked? How does one go about the whole ordeal? Well don’t you worry at all, Cigars Haven is here to clear up all of the mystery.
In fact, after you’ve finished reading this you’ll confidently be able to roll up to your friends without any hesitation, pop a cigar in your mouth (after cutting it, of course), light it and let loose an impressive puff of smoke, enjoying the flavor.
Do You Inhale Cigars?
Perhaps at first glance, lighting a cigar doesn’t seem to be all that difficult of a task. However, there are some tricks and nuances associated with choosing, lighting, and smoking that a beginner won’t know about.
For example, there’s the age-old question of whether cigars are meant to be inhaled or not. Let’s face it—no one wants to look like a beginner when they’re smoking their first cigar. That’s why it’s so important to know the answers to these common questions!
Perhaps your first thoughts on this question are along the lines of, “If people inhale cigarette smoke, why wouldn’t you inhale cigar smoke?” In truth, there aren’t any “set in concrete” rules that cigars can’t be inhaled. They can.
However, it’s important to look at the primary difference between the two. Cigarettes have chemical additives that make the temperature of the smoke considerably cooler. In turn, this makes inhaling easy and not all that uncomfortable.
Cigars, on the other hand, are usually a lot bigger than cigarettes. Because of this the smoke tends to thicker, hotter, and can hurt your lungs if inhaled fast.
For people new to smoking cigars it can be extremely uncomfortable and usually results in lots of coughing. This, however, isn’t the case with experienced cigarette smokers. People with a stronger lung capacity aren’t typically affected by it.
However, it does have a primary negative side effect: You don’t get to enjoy the cigar in the way it was intended to be enjoyed.
In short, inhaling isn’t necessary to enjoy a cigar. Inhaling doesn’t enhance or add to the experience or flavor in any way. Cigars are meant to be enjoyed while relaxing, with the flavor of the smoke being the primary factor in the pleasure.
How To Smoke A Cigar (The Right Way)
Here are some simple, easy to follow steps for smoking a cigar, in addition to a few tips, tricks, and conventions to make your smoking experience the best one possible.
Picking The Cigar
While you’ll not be sure of what types of cigars you enjoy when just starting out, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different types of cigars you’re likely to encounter.
Common types (shapes & sizes) of cigars include:
- Petit Corona
- Corona Gordo
Often times, people are misled into believing that the more expensive the cigar is, the better the smoke will be. However, this is a common misconception. High prices don’t always mean better quality. It’s recommended to purchase cheaper cigars while you figure out what you do and don’t enjoy.
If you’re with someone and you feel too shy to ask them (or even they’re not sure), roll the available cigars back and forth between your thumb and forefinger. If it’s lumpy or soft in bits and parts, pick up a different stick. A good cigar is characterized by a consistent, firm texture throughout.
Tip: Unsure of what to get at your local cigar shop? Ask an employee for recommendations!
Cutting The Cigar
Before lighting, the cigar needs to be cut at the end. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is to use a purpose-built cigar cutter. There are easily available online as well as in local stores. In case a cutter isn’t around, a knife can also be used. Just be careful not to take too much off or to ruin the wrapper.
Keep in mind that biting the end off isn’t advised or recommended whatsoever. For the best results, the end should be snipped off in a quick, strong motion. This will help to avoid any tears that would diminish the smoking experience.
Lighting The Cigar
There are a lot of options when it comes to lighting a cigar. You can use wooden matches, but this will likely be difficult for beginners because they’re hard to keep lit for long periods of time.
Next, there are normal cigarette lighters. Though these will do the job, many people say the lighter fluid used in these types of lighters ruins the flavor.
Finally, the best option is using a butane torch lighter. However, no matter what you use to light it, the most important part is the end result: getting to smoke. For this, you place the cigar between your fingers and hold the top right above the lighters flame.
Experienced smokers will tell you that putting the cigar right into the flame messes up its flavor. It’s important to hold the cigar over the flame for a bit ( “priming” it so to speak). Get an even burn before beginning to puff! Once this evenness is achieved, puff away.
Smoking The Cigar
As mentioned above, it’s up to you whether you whether you want to inhale the smoke or not. Keep in mind that cigars are generally more enjoyable and relaxing when they are merely puffed. However, that can be something easier said than done for beginners.
Many people get confused about how exactly to puff and end up inhaling the smoke, resulting in uncomfortable fits of coughing.
Here’s the trick: Don’t use your diaphragm to draw the air in. Just pretend like you’re using a straw. Fill your mouth with smoke and release it.
After repeating this four or five times, thick, white smoke will begin to come out of the cigar. After this, you can steady yourself and slow down as once it’s lit, it will burn on its own for a long time. It’s not necessary to constantly puff at it.
To keep the experience enjoyable, take a drag every minute or so. Depending on the size of your cigar, it could last anywhere from thirty minutes to even two hours! Sit back, relax, and enjoy your smoke—maybe even with an ice cold beer!
Cigar Smoking Tips & Tricks
Many people like to remove the cigar’s label. This, however, is a matter of personal preference. Some take it off right away, while others leave it on the whole time it’s being smoked.
If you want to take it off, we recommend you wait a while. Doing this will loosen the adhesive on the label, which will make it easier to remove. This helps to ensure that the label can be removed safely without accidentally damaging the cigar itself.
Though it may be tempting to tap off the ash on the end of your cigar, leave it alone. The ash helps to insulate the heat, which allows for a more even burn. Instead, let it be for a while. Long ash-head is a sign that the cigar is of premium quality.
When the ash is ready to come off, it will do so on its own. In order to test this, just give the cigar a few light taps over your ash tray. If it’s ready the entire heap of ash will come off in one big chunk. If it’s not ready, then it simply won’t come off.
Tip: Be careful with ash that’s ready to come off. Sometimes it will fall off on its own (with no tapping) and get all over your clothes!
Flavorful & Affordable Cigars That Are Great For Beginners
While we provide a short list of different types of cigars to ease you into your new hobby, it’s important to keep in mind that you must experiment with different cigars and flavors if you really want to come to develop your own opinions and tastes.
Eventually you’ll be able to make out the differences between where the tobacco was grown, what type of tobacco, and more. Here are some of our favorite cigars to recommend to anyone who’s just getting into this hobby:
- Macanudo Hyde Park
- Romeo y Julieta Romeo No. 2
- Cao Gold
While there are (obviously) many other cigars that would be perfectly suited for a beginner, those are some safe ones to try out that aren’t overly expensive.
Wrapping It Up
While all good things must come to an end, your journey is just beginning. It’s important to keep in mind that while cigars can be inhaled, traditionally this practice is looked down upon as it doesn’t add to the experience. In our opinion, it only degrades the experience. And why do something if there are no added benefits?
Simply go through the steps given above. If you follow the process we’ve given, you’ll have wonderful experiences and make good memories. No one will be able to tell if you’re inexperienced or not; you’ll just look like everyone else. When you light your cigar, just sit back, relax, and most importantly have a good time!