There is nothing quite like smoking a fine cigar to give you that feeling of luxury and prestige. However, it is not necessarily as simple as it may seem at first. There are a number of steps to take before you enjoy smoking your cigar of choice, and failing to carry them out correctly can potentially diminish the whole experience. While the way you enjoy your cigar comes down to your own personal preference, there is something of an art to enjoying a perfect smoke.
Preparing to Smoke
Before you smoke your cigar, it pays to prepare it in order to get the most out of the smoke. First, you must cut roughly an eighth of an inch off the cap of the cigar. Although you may have seen characters in films biting the ends off their cigars, this is not a great practice. Not only will you end up with a mouth full of tobacco, you can easily rip the wrapper which can have a negative effect on your smoking experience. Invest in a decent cigar cutter that you will be proud to produce when smoking your cigar and you will be sure to never have to chomp down on your cigar.
Lighting Your Cigar
Once your cigar is ready to be lit, you need to select your lighting arsenal. Matches are the traditional choice but a butane lighter will work just as well. Avoiding petrol lighters and candles can prevent external odours from turning into flavours and effecting the quality of the smoke.
The important thing to remember is that the flame should not actually touch your cigar, simply using the heat from the flame. First, you toast the cigar by holding it at a forty-five degree angle and slowly rotating it as you hold the flame just below the foot of the cigar. This helps to prepare your cigar for lighting as it dries the tobacco leaves. Once the end begins to smoulder, place the cigar in your mouth and start gently puffing while keeping the flame just underneath the foot of the cigar. If you want to see that the end is evenly lit, you should gently blow across the lit end – if the entire end glows, you have a perfectly lit cigar.
Enjoying the Smoke
The key thing with cigar smoking is to refrain from inhaling the smoke. Cigar smoke has an incredibly high nicotine content, so inhaling it fully can actually serve to make you feel sick. Cigars are made to be tasted – simply draw the smoke into your mouth and enjoy the taste before blowing it out. As you smoke, you should rotate the cigar in order to have an even burn rate and you are sure to have a fantastic cigar smoking experience.
Find the Right Match
A cigar needn’t be enjoyed alone. In fact, to really enjoy your smoking experience, you should find the perfect match. This may be a glass of fine scotch or whisky, or may even be your favourite piece of classical music. Whatever it is that completes your cigar smoking experience, ensure to call on it when you light up your selected cigar to enjoy the full experience.
Complementing your smoke with your tipple, and your tipple with your perfect choice of music is a fantastic way to unwind; it evolves your experience of each individual element and serves to create an experience greater than the sum of their parts.
Words by Halil Osman of James J. Fox