Cigar Smoking: The Ultimate Dos and Dont's
Montecristo Petit Edmundo Cigars
Article updated and revamped on Wednesday 24th october 2018
CORRECT ACCESSORIES. CONSIDERATE TIME. CORRECT FAREWELL
In the relaxing world of cigar smoking, a list of do's and don'ts seems oddly contrasting and strange to put together. However, bear with us, because these rules are anything but tedious. While this guide is not one you have to abide by, engaging with these pointers can dramatically improve your experience of our Cuban Cigars online.
As they say, plan before you execute. For perfect prep work, ensure you have the correct tools. To make your life easier, we have compiled a post on Cigar Accessories, which simplifies what we recommend you purchase.
- REMOVE THE CELLOPHANE WRAPPING - Before you roll your eyes silently to yourself, we have to say that numerous people have made this mistake. It sounds obvious, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, the desperation to enjoy a cigar makes this point hard to remember.
- USE A QUALITY CIGAR CUTTER - Cutting a small portion from the tip of your cigar will improve the condition of your smoke. The MaxiJet S.T Dupont Cigar Cutter uses razor sharp blades, spring-back mechanisms and high-quality precision metals, to provide a great cut each time.
- CHECK YOUR CIGAR - Traditions die hard and this one is almost immortal. Zino Davidoff, expert cigar connoisseur, thinks this tip is a ‘ceremonial gesture that should not be forgotten’. With that being said, gently squeeze your cigar and roll it between your fingers before smoking, to ensure there are no hard parts or plugs.
- USE SCISSORS TO CUT YOUR CIGAR - The exception is a professional cigar Scissors Cutter. Ordinary scissors will not be able to cut through properly and will change the characteristics of your cigar.
- REMOVE THE BAND BEFORE YOU SMOKE - As the wrapper leaf is the most delicate part of the cigar, removing the band before smoking can cause damage to the wrapper. Although this is not a set rule, many choose to remove their wrapper after smoking two-thirds of a cigar.
Top Left: Le Grand St Dupont Lighter in black, Top Right: Davidoff Prestige Palladium Lighter, Bottom: Head cigar sommelier Adam Lajca lighting a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2 Reserva Cosecha 2012 Cigar at Corinthia Hotel London
Lighting your cigar
This is where the magic starts to happen. There's a certain pleasure in watching your cigar come alive. An exciting anticipation. And yes, there's more to lighting a cigar than using an old lighter or a box of matches.
- USE A QUALITY LIGHTER - Our range of Cuban Cigar Lighters are stylish, sleek and ideal for habanos. The special flames contained in each, ignites the flavour and aroma of tobacco. As a tip, hold your cigar at a 45 degree angle over the flame, and slowly rotate. 2018 World Habanosommelier Champion Darius Namdar says, "never light it with a zippo - anything with flavour. Flavoured fuel is a big no-no". Also consider that the idea is to toast the end, not burn it.
- ENSURE THE WHOLE CIGAR IS LIT - The purpose of rotating the cigar as you light it, is to make the cigar burn evenly. The larger the ring gauge, the more time required for lighting. Some believe this is the most important step.
- RELIGHT IN YOUR MOUTH - Both impolite and ill mannered. It's also near impossible to rotate a cigar this way.
- PANIC ABOUT RELIGHTING - As Davidoff expertly said, "one needn’t feel ashamed about letting a cigar go out." He and we, believe it’s fine to relight your cigar if more than a third of your cigar is left. It's natural to relight.
Top Left and Top Right: Tea and a La Habana cocktail at Corinthia Hotel London, Bottom: Coffee with a Partagas Serie D No. 4 Cigar
Smoking your cigar
And now the fun begins! The prep is out the way - now you can unwind. May we suggest these tips to enhance your experience.
- TAKE YOUR TIME - Cigars are recognised as a relaxing past-time. It's not a race. When interviewing head cigar sommelier Adam Lajca at Corinthia Hotel London, he reiterated this sentiment and said "just take your time while you're smoking". For beginner smokers especially, you want to feel comfortable.
- CHOOSE A DRINK PAIRING - From champagne, cocktails and beer, to coffee, tea and brandy, cigars can go with almost anything. We received the best advice from Darius Namdar on how to select a pairing, on our post: Best Cigar and Tea Pairings. When we interviewed our Favourite Cuban Cigars Photographer, Hecho en Camera, he confessed to enjoying his habanos with sparkling water. Try to experiment and be open to suggestion. A drink pairing is one of the finest cigar compliments.
- CONTEMPLATE YOUR SCHEDULE - With every expert cigar aficionado we speak with, they mention time as imperative. How much do you have to smoke a cigar? If you are unaware of cigar timings, we advise you ask a cigar sommelier to help with your decision. If you have around 30 minutes or under an hour, a Partagas Coronas Junior Cigar AT is a great choice. A smaller length of 117mm by a thin 40 ring gauge. Equally, a Bolivar Petit Coronas Cigar - a fuller flavour measuring 129mm by a 42 ring gauge. As a good rule of thumb - look for ring gauges under 50. Most cigars smoke for around an hour, but if you have a few more to spare, try a Bolivar Libertador Cigar LCDH - a Sublimes Vitola, or a Montecristo 80 Aniversario Cigar. This wonderful, medium to full strength habano, is part of our Limited Edition Cigars.
Top Left: Montecristo 80 Aniversario Cigar with Cohiba Behike, Top Right: Bolivar Libertador LCDH Cigars, Bottom: Montecristo 80 Aniversario Cigars
- HOLD YOUR CIGAR LIKE A CIGARETTE - To Smoke Your Cuban Cigar Like an Expert, hold your cigar between your thumb and index finger. It may be worth practicing with a cigar at home before visiting a lounge.
- CHEW - One word to disassociate with cigars. We know in certain films, characters bite on their cigars and chew as though they have gum. In real life, this is unnecessary.
- LEAVE IN YOUR MOUTH - A classic and instinctive step. However, we recommend you leave in your mouth for a few seconds. You don't want your cigar to become overly damp.
Putting your cigar out
In the world of theatre, this is the final curtain call. After a wondrous moment of indulgence, it's now time to wave goodbye (not literally) to your luxurious cigar. Like all good farewells, it's something you want to get right.
- USE A CUBAN CIGAR ASHTRAY - Because finely cured ash deserves a respectable home. Plus, you will look debonair as you walk over to your guests with a Cohiba Behike Ashtray or a Romeo Y Julieta Ashtray. Whichever your preferred Cuban Cigars brand, we have an ashtray to match. Long-lasting and beautiful as a home ornament. You can let your cigar extinguish itself once placed.
- STUMP OUT YOUR ASH - Simply roll your ash on an ashtray or gently tap. Stumping can make ash dazzle across a table. Whilst cigar ash is light and delicate, it's not the most considerate for your guests to let your ash lay beside them.
The list is over and you are now a Cuban cigars expert. Or at the very least, you can talk about cigars as though you have the art-form down to a science. Before you go, head over to our cigars for sale online, to start putting these tips to good practice.