To Learn about smoking a cigar might feel like a difficult task. Many questions must be running across your mind and these questions are completely valid, there is a lot to it and you might be interested because the cigar bug has bitten you, or maybe its just something you want to try, I mean it looks really simple right?
You just smoke it like a cigarette, with one end on fire and other end in your mouth.
Unfortunately that’s far from truth, to learn how to properly smoke a cigar is an art but don’t let that scare you away. Its not difficult to learn if you know how.
Smoking a cigar can be as easy as you want it to be or it can be a super complicated process. I suggest that we take baby steps since you are a beginner and start out with basics and learn the proper way to smoke a cigar. One thing that should be clear is that cigars are not cigarettes, you should not have them multiple times a day and neither should you just pick one and start smoking them.
Cigar smoking has certain class appeal to it, it is manly! but only if you do it correctly. In this guide I will teach you everything you need to know about smoking cigars as a beginner.
To Learn To Smoke A Cigar You Must Know The Cigar Parts
To really understand what cigars are you must understand different parts of cigars, so you can understand the terminology better and understand the language when talking with other aficionados.
Binder And Filler (Inside)
- Binder is what keeps the cigar tight and in place. It is not the wrapper that you see outside, binder is inside.
- Filler is what the cigar is made of, such as tobacco. The contents of a cigar.
- Ring gauge is basically the thickness of a cigar. Cigar ring gauge is measured in 1/64th of an inch. So for example a cigar with 64 gauge will be one inch in diameter and so forth.
- The ring gauge is quite an important part of a cigar, as the size of it determines lot of factors about it. Such as amount of smoke, flavor delivery, the way it was constructed and the way it burns.
- Some direct correlation between ring gauge and smoke is, the thicker the size the cooler the smoke will be. The same way a thicker cigar will provide more flavor than a thinner cigar. Simply because a thicker cigar has more filler to burn thus more taste.
Body & Foot
- Body is the cigar itself, from the start till the very end.
- Foot is the side that you light up and burn using a butane lighter or wooden cigar matchstick.
- Wrappers add to the aesthetic appeal, give the cigar the good and rugged look that we all love.
- Other than looks, wrappers are also vital since they can determine 60% to 90% of the flavor.
- There are different types of wrappers and each have there own purpose.
- The bands are usually made of paper or foils embedded with the brand of the cigar.
- A lot of people smoking the expensive one keep the band on as long as possible to show it off.
- Cap is the side where you inhale the cigar smoke from and keep in your mouth.
- The side you smoke it is also called the head and the lower part is called shoulder.
Selecting your first cigar
If you are starting out you will be very tempted to go in a store, ask the guy and get whatever is the most cool looking expensive option. Don’t do that! It is a big misconception that expensive cigars are the best ones, today you can get a good cigar for quite cheap.
Only if you know why you are selecting the cigar and how you are selecting those you don’t have to worry about the money. A lot of good cigars come in pretty normal price range and you can either get them online or from stores nearby your house.
Different type of Cigars:
This can get a bit complex because there are different types of shapes and sizes and wrappers which you can read about much later for now you only have to know certain things. We will keep it simple with the most basic stuff at this point.
Basically there are 5+ different kinds of cigars available, each one serves a different purpose and has different taste and enjoyment factor to it. We will tell you about each of them but eventually you will have to decide which one suits you the best, works and tastes well according to your personal preference. Depending on the type of cigar you can know how long the cigar will last.
- Factory name – hermosos
- 5 inches
- 50 ring gauge
Robusto’s are the smallest cigars of the bunch. They are one of the most common types available around and are also known to be the shortest in the cigar family. They are about 5 inches long with a ring gauge of 50. In simpler terms they are small and thick.
They are perfect for the modern day life as the run time of Robusto’s is around 45-50 minutes. They are designed for the perfect fast runner who wants super power along with super taste in the least amount of time.
Named after the famous politician, they are just as powerful as he was. They are 7 inches long with average ring gauge of 47 which provide thick strong smoke. Churchill cigars last for about 1 – 1.5 hours. They are also a bit complex when smoking so they are definitely not for beginners.
Smoking Churchill’s take patience, if you smoke it too fast and rush through it, it will get overheated and will become very harsh. If you have some experience in smoking cigars, you can definitely try it, just don’t do it if you are in a rush. They have to be enjoyed.
- 6 to 7 inches
- 34 – 38 ring gauge
These are longer and much slimmer then the others. Due to the fact that are quite long, it can take quite some time to finish them.
Stereo typically they are considered to be the elegant choice for females due to there long and thin design. It is not true though since Panatella are enjoyed by both males and females.
- Factory name – Cervantas
- 6-6.5 inches
- 42 Ring Gauge
- 45 mins to 1 hour smoke time
Named after the Lord Lonsdale, they are perfect for beginners as they provide light elegant smoke with good flavor due to small ring size.
- Factory name – Campanas
- 5 – 5.5 Inches
- 52 Ring gauge
Belicoso look like rockets. They are pointed on the top with thick base. Infact they are quite popular and have loyal fans because of its pointed shape. The pointed shape also amplifies the aroma and strength of the cigars.
Smoking wise they are quite strong and are fast in burn rate. Which means they provide good amount of smoke and also burn fast thus you spend less time smoking.
It is important to know the type of cigar that you are going to smoke cause this answers a lot of questions about how do you smoke a cigar that are going on in your head.
These are some of the main types of cigars that you can start off with, also there are many variations of these such as double corona, petit corona etc. They all have different tastes and flavor levels which you can learn about later on.
Next step is on how to cut them. I know you must be excited and ready to smoke them, but before you do that it is crucial that you know how to cut them.
How To Cut A Cigar and Use Cigar Cutters
Basically cigar cutters are tiny mechanical devices that cut the cigar so that you can start smoking them. When starting out you might think that cutting a cigar is easy and you can just use or teeth or a knife. Unfortunately that’s wrong. Cutting a cigar serves a very important purpose and you can ruin the cigar if you cut it wrong which is why it has to be done correctly. It’s also very important to know how to cut a cigar so you know how to smoke a cigar easily.
To cut cigars the best tool is to use cigar cutters, ideally the best one is a double blade guillotine cutter or a v-cut that fits nicely in your fingers and lets you cut in one good snip. It is not hard to understand or find the best cigar cutter for your self, it might take a few tries but once you find the one, it will stick around for a long time.
There are many different types of cigar cutters that you can choose from, but remember not all cutters are suitable with every cigar but they can still be used. For example guillotine cutters are great for small gauge cigars because they provide precision straight cuts on both the sides but it can still be used with bigger cigars.
It provides a quick clean cut , they are the most practical and most used by aficionados because of there effectiveness and cheap price.
The next best thing are v-cut cutters, they are the most common after guillotine cutters. V-Cut Cutters make a wedge cut in the cap of the cigar. This helps in giving a greater air and smoke flow which reduces the bitter taste that some of the smokers hate. It is bit of a complex cutter, since if you cut at the wrong place the smoke flow can be blocked or it wont have a direct flow which can decrease the flavor. So before you decide to get a v-cut cigar cutter it is important that you understand how to use it properly.
The number one thing to avoid when cutting a cigar is unraveling of the wrapper. If the cigar is cut wrong, the wrapper will open and the filler will just fall out.
Lighting A Cigar
When lighting a cigar try to avoid matches, candles, cigarette lighters and anything other than a specialized cigar lighter or a butane lighter. You can also check out our list of best cigar lighter.
Now if you like the feeling of lighting matches you can go for special cigar matches that are designed to provide the correct burn to the cigars.
The way you light a cigar can affect the flavor of the cigars. For example using match sticks or a candle can transfer some chemicals into the cigars when you hold them close to it while burning it due to small and weakened flame. I hope everything is clear until now about how to smoke a cigar.
So after you have chosen the way to light your cigar, hold your it tightly between your fingers and before you light it to smoke we will prime the cigar. As a beginner you might be wanting to stick it directly in the flames, now that might work for cigarettes but this a cigar. If you have a good lighter, a good distance to keep between the light and cigar tip is two fingers gap.
First light it for a couple of seconds so that it primes after that just rub your fingers on it to balance it out and have a nice clean burn. Once you have done that do this again till you have lit the cigar and are easily able to smoke it.
A commonly asked question among beginners is ‘Do you inhale cigar smoke?’ and the answer is no.
Now if you see that it is lit then you can start taking the puffs, but wait you need to remember to not to inhale at this point. The initial smoke is rough which will make you cough and you will look like an idiot.
Puff it , hold the smoke in your mouth before blowing it out. Do this quickly for atleast 5-6 puffs until your cigar is brightly lit and is producing white thick smokes.
Once it is nicely lit you can slow down as you won’t need to puff continuously to keep it on. The basic idea is to have a drag every 2-4 minutes but this can also depend on your smoking style and type of cigar.
In the end remember to enjoy the flavor of the cigar while relaxing. Finishing a cigar is not a challenge on who can do it the fastest, it is enjoyed slowly and with every drag. If you rush it you will ruin the whole experience for yourself.
One of the main things that decide how good of a cigar aficionado you are is by how well you store and maintain the cigars. This is an important part of the process if you want to learn how to properly smoke a cigar because cigars absorb the moisture in a humid climate or become dry because of dry climate depending on how they are kept. There are different types of humidors available in the market, you can check out this list of best cigar humidors.
A wet or damp cigar will be tough to burn and keep lit eventually causing rough smoke and ruining the experience. If the cigar becomes too dry it will burn very hot and the smoke will be aggressive and will overpower the flavors of the cigar. Which is why it is very important to keep a cigar in a humidor.
A humidor maintains the right amount of moisture to store a cigar which keeps it well ready to smoke at any point of time. It is just a box with the right kind of humidity maintained at all times for cigars to remain pristine.
Humidors can be as big as walk in closets which are typically used by cigar sellers and showrooms, or as small as your Tupperware. If you are worried about the money, depending on the budget and the type of quality you are looking for you can get a decent humidor for quite cheap.
Infact if you don’t feel like spending money on humidors you can just use an air tight sealed Tupperware.
Humidors are used with hygrometers to keep track of humidity in the box. Decently priced ones come with hygrometers attached to the box so it is easier to maintain. You will also need humidity beads which will make the box humid enough for you to keep it in.
Tips and Etiquette
When smoking cigars you have to remember that there is certain class to it, so it is good to know how to behave if you are in the company of other cigar smokers.
- Never ask to smoke another man’s lit cigar. A cigar once lit is for them to enjoy and asking to taste it or try it is considered rude.
- Removing a cigar label is your choice, many keep it on if they are trying to show off the brand if its an expensive one. Some just remove it.
- You don’t have to clear the ash from the tip like a cigarette, you can let it grow longer as the length of the ash shows the quality of the cigar. Don’t let it grow too long though as it obstructs the airflow and can ruin the experience or it might fall on your clothes when taking a drag.
- When breaking the ash from the tip don’t hit it or bump it like a cig, just keep it in the ashtray for a minute and then roll it around while the ash just falls over. You can bump but this is a more classy way to do it.