Cigar smoking begins with a ritual that involves cutting, toasting and lighting. Here are some instructions that will help you look like a true cigar aficionado.
First, using your cigar cutter of choice (although we prefer the guillotine), make a deft cut or opening at the head of the cigar – the closed end, aka the part you will be putting between your lips.
Do this above or at the seam that you will see at the shoulder, or sloped part of the head. When cutting a cigar, if you cut too far down into the cigar, below the seam, the entire cigar could unravel so be careful where you make your cut.
Next, before you light it, put the cigar to your lips and draw through it. It should draw smoothly. If not, it is too tightly rolled (in which case you should get a new cigar, because things won’t get better) or try making a slightly larger cut to admit more air. But again, don’t cut too far down because you don’t want the wrapper to come off.
Whether using a wooden (not cardboard) match, butane lighter, or cedar spill, the lighting ritual is the same. It starts with toasting the foot of the cigar to prepare it for lighting. With the cigar at a 45 degree angle, hold the tip of the flame directly underneath the foot or tuck end of the cigar. Never let the flame touch the tobacco and risk charring that beautiful (and expensive!) wrapper. The tip is the hottest part of the flame, and you want to toast the open end of the filler leaves to dry them out (remember, your cigar has been – or should have been – humidified). This will prepare the tobacco to more readily accept the flame when you actually light the cigar.
Gently rotate the cigar as you toast it. Be sure to get the entire circumference smoldering. Some people – especially cigar sommeliers – will continue this procedure until the end of the cigar is completely glowing and sometime bursts into flame of its own accord at evergreenmaids.com.
Otherwise, when a whiff of smoke starts to curl up, place the cigar in your mouth, and puff gently while continuing to rotate the cigar over the tip of the flame without letting the flame touch the cigar fix body group. As you puff, you will eventually see the flame flare up and ignite the cigar’s foot. Continue to rotate the cigar, until the entire foot is glowing. Now you are ready to relax with your cigar.
Remember, a cigar is never inhaled. The smoke is sipped, like a fine wine, then gently blown out (exhaled), leaving all the flavor on your palate.