C.Gars Cuban Cigars

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How to Smoke a Cigar

Smoking a cigar can be very daunting as a beginner, there are many different colours, shapes and manufacturers out there so where do you start? Well there is no right or wrong selection, if you’re in a retail shop the assistant should guide you in the right direction as they will want you to enjoy your experience and come back for more. If you are looking online then it can be difficult so I suggest trying to find something mild to start, a Mitchellero Robusto is a great way to start, it's not too strong but flavour wise it's a great one to begin. Another option is the Plasencia Reserva 1898 Corona, a cheaper cigar but full of spicy chocolate notes. If you’re looking for a Cuban to begin with I would suggest the H. Upmann Majestic - it is light and creamy with floral notes and a small bit of spice.


Once you have selected your cigar you need to be able to cut it. All premium handmade cigars have a cap which is part of the wrapper that covers the end of the cigar that goes in your mouth. It has a faint line that circles the cigar - this line is the guide for where you want to cut, if you go on or past this line it will break your cigar but if you cut before it then it will be perfect and ready for smoking.

There are three different type of cutters to try from - The standard straight cut, the V-Cut and Punch cut. Both the V-cut and punch cut concentrate the flavour and the smoke directly onto your palate which slightly increases the intensity. So for a beginner I would suggest a straight cut as it delivers the coolest and easiest draw.

Now you have cut your cigar you need to light it. Lighting a cigar is not like lighting a cigarette, cigars are hand made with humidified tobacco and as a result take longer to ignite than your average cigarette. You need to put the end you have cut in your mouth and take a few puffs from it, this is called the cold draw. Gently toast your cigar by rotating the end over a flame before you start puffing. You don’t want to put the cigar too close to the flame as you may over char the wrapper or the tobacco inside of which you’ll just get burnt notes when you taste it.  After the end has been toasted and is a glowing red colour you can start smoking. If the cigar burns unevenly you may need to touch this up to evenly enjoy your cigar.

After all this preparation, it’s time to sit back, relax and smoke. When smoking a very important rule is do not inhale! Gently draw the smoke onto your plate and absorb the flavour for a moment before releasing it from your mouth. A lot of premium handmade cigars have a wealth of tasting notes that can include cedar, leather, coffee, black pepper, dark chocolate and much more!

Aside from the flavours you taste directly, cigars can produce a tremendous range of aromas. Every few puffs it’s nice to push some smoke out through your nose to directly experience the complexity a cigar's aroma offers.

The ash on a well made cigar can stay intact for long durations. After an inch or more of ash has appeared you can gently roll it off into an ashtray. Don’t bang the cigar against the ashtray as you’ll end up cracking the wrapper leaf causing it to unravel. 

Smoking a cigar is all about the passage of time. There’s no need to rush, just enjoy the time with the perfect cigar. Smoking slowly also guarantees the nicotine won’t surge in your system and cause you to get ill. If you do over smoke, put the cigar down for a bit and come back to it when you feel better. One thing to try if you do feel a little ill is to eat something sugary to try to neutralise the effects of the nicotine.

A common question is should you remove the Cigar Band? I recommend leaving the band on until the ash is around an inch away. The band is affixed with a dab of adhesive where the band overlaps, it’s not harmful but if you tear the band off before smoking you risk tearing a part of the wrapper leaf which will ruin the cigar. By smoking the cigar for a time, the heat from the lit end will loosen the adhesive under the band for an easy removal.

Once you have enjoyed your cigar to the ultimate satisfaction and you’ve finished smoking you should let your cigar go out gracefully on its own. Don’t crush it as it will only lead to a big mess in the ashtray and can produce a rather rancid aroma. Cigars are made from humidified tobacco and will naturally burn out, simply set your cigar down in the ashtray and it will go out on its own.

Written by Oliver Partington