Light Up! Tips for the Cigar Novice

Light Up! Tips for the Cigar Novice

Clint Eastwood made cigars look effortless in the western classic “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”. The cigar would drape out the corner of his mouth as his eyes squinted menacingly at his enemies, hand on his revolver.

Movies made cigars seem like they were only treats for the big dogs. Truth is anyone can pick up a cigar and try it out themselves. There’s an art to smoking these tobacco delicacies and here’s what you need to know to enjoy one of the finer pleasures.

Have a Budget

Being a cigar novice makes you weary of how much you spend. What if you spend a lot of money on a cigar, thinking it would be the better, but it turned out to taste horrible? It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s higher quality the more expensive the cigar is. To start with, aim to spend between $5 – $8 on your first cigar.

Ensure the Cigar’s Freshness

Go to a fine tobacconist to choose from a large collection where it is guaranteed they are taken good care of.

Look for a reasonably priced cigar and gently roll it between your fingers. If the cigar is solid and firm, go ahead and buy it. If it has soft spots and/or lumps, don’t bother.

Please Your Taste Buds

Start with a mild-flavored cigar to ease into the experience. Look for an all-around stick that has enough complexity to satisfy almost anyone.

If you enjoy coffee or used to smoke cigarettes, a medium-bodied stick or maybe a full-bodied stick would be a better option if you desire a stronger taste.

If you’re not sure what kind of taste you’d like, go ahead and buy a couple different types to experiment with.

Actually Smoke the Cigar

Now, don’t get ahead of yourself. Before you light the cigar, you have to clip the end. The absolute best way to do this is with a cigar clipper. You can cut it with a knife if you don’t have access to one. Avoid using your mouth as much as possible. When clipping or cutting, do it in a quick, swift motion to avoid tearing.

Once you’ve clipped the end, then you can light it. Avoid using stoves, matches, lighters that use lighter fluids and candles. Instead, use a butane lighter or a long wooden cigar match.

Have the cigar at a 45-degree angle and hold the flame about three to four inches from the tip and start rotating the cigar until it starts to ignite. Don’t let the flame touch the cigar and slowly puff on it while rotating it around. Make sure the tip is burning evenly and then let it sit for a minute.

Last thing, do not inhale the smoke only puff.

There you have it. Now go get a fedora hat and matching suit, sit on a leather chair and have a stack a money sitting on your desk as you puff away. Sitting in a patio with your friends after a long day of work will do also.


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Hazel Ramos
Hazel Ramos is completing her B.A. in Journalism at the University of Houston.

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