Learn to Smoke Your First Cigar in Style

This guest post has been written by Denis, who blogs about cigars since 2007 at CigarInspector.com.

Padron Cigar

Cigars exist at an intriguing intersection between style, leisure, and dessert, and also evoke machismo at a glance.  A whole range of historical figures and celebrities have enjoyed smoking them—everyone from Winston Churchill to Arnold Schwarzenegger have been seen lighting up stogies in iconic images.  If you enjoy tobacco and want to smoke with sophistication, cigars are a great way to have a more refined experience and also to tell others how cool you are; that’s assuming you do it right of course!  Smoking your first in style is not only important so you don’t make a fool of yourself; it’s also essential to start enjoying this hobby.

Buy the Right Cigar

Let’s start with your purchase.  Here’s what you don’t want to do:  buy one off a rack next to a cash register. Instead, purchase your first cigar at a local tobacconist so you get one which has been properly stored in a humidor to preserve it. Ask for advice. You’ll want to avoid full-strength cigars while you’re getting started.  Stick with something mild or medium in strength and not too large.  Otherwise you’re going to be overwhelmed by your first stogie.  Lots of low-budget options are available for newbies which offer a great experience, so don’t go all out.

The Parts of a Cigar

We all know asking for direction is lame, but you really want to know your way around a cigar before you smoke it.  The three basic parts are the wrapper—that’s the broad leaf around the outside, the binder, and the filler—those are the leaves inside.  Your cigar has a head, which is the end you smoke, and a tip or a cap.  There’s a band that tells you the brand of cigar you’re smoking, and the foot, which is the part of the cigar that you light.

Before you actually smoke your cigar, you’ll need to cut it.  Buy a single guillotine cutter.  It will only cost you a couple of dollars, but it will effectively do the trick.  You need to strike a balance by cutting off enough that you can get a nice draw, but not so much that the cap comes off and your cigar falls to pieces.  The cutter goes on the table and you stand the cigar vertically.  Most cutters can cut off the right amount automatically if you position your cigar the right way.

Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking cigar

Lighting Up

The best way to light a cigar is to hold it away from you, not in your mouth, and carefully and evenly light it.  The best way to get the burn even (if it doesn’t happen on its own) is to do a rotation of the cigar while you’re lighting.  If you try to light the cigar while it’s in your mouth, you’ll probably not get the burn going evenly and make it too hot.

Do Not Inhale

The is the most important thing you can probably learn here.  Smoking a cigar is not like smoking a cigarette; if you try to inhale, you’re going to make yourself sick. Besides, they have a real taste that you will learn to appreciate.  Smoking should be a leisurely, relaxed activity.  Many sticks take around an hour to burn; some take even longer.  If you smoke too slowly, it might go out (you can re-light it), and if you smoke too quickly, the cigar will burn too hot.  You’ll find your balance with time.

Don’t Sweat the Mistakes

… Because you’re going to make them.  That’s almost a guarantee.  Most people need a few tries to really get the hang of smoking cigars.  If you follow these basic instructions, though, you should avoid the kinds of major errors that could cost you the enjoyment of your first stogie.  If you find you enjoy cigars, start learning about how to pair cigars with rum and other drinks, and try getting to know other people in the cigar community.  Cigar smokers are very friendly and you’ll learn a lot from others.  Have fun, and best of luck!

For more information about cigars, feel free to head over to my blog at CigarInspector.com.

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