While the world of premium cigars is fairly relaxed, there is still a code of etiquette to follow, a few practical rules of thumb and a couple of faux pas that could get you into a spot of trouble. In order to fully enjoy your premium cigar, here are 10 pitfalls, in no particular order, that you should avoid.
Cut Off Too Much Cigar
The cap of a cigar contains a vegetable-based adhesive called gomma that keeps the wrapper tobacco from unraveling. If you cut too far down the head of the cigar so that the cap is removed entirely, you run the risk of having the wrapper leaf fall right off the binder. Typically, one should cut just above the rounded shoulders of the cigar’s head. (Watch this video to learn how to cut a variety of cigars.)
Puff Too Often
Overpuffing can lead to overheating, and overheating will lead to bitterness. Leave at least 30 seconds in between puffs. Slow and cool is the rule.
Light With Dirty Fuel
All fire is not created equal. Your source of flame must be clean otherwise its impurities will go straight into your cigar and befoul every puff of your smoking experience. Use a lighter that runs on butane, which won’t affect the taste of your tobacco. A candle will put wax particulate into your smoke and leave a waxy taste in your mouth. A citronella torch will make it taste like citronella. A gasoline rag… well, you get the idea.
Cut Your Cigar In Half To Share
It may have worked for grandpa’s Toscano, but it won’t work for your Cohiba. Cigars are not symmetrically or homogeneously blended. The tobacco in one end of the cigar is different than the tobacco in the other end. The cigarmaker puts very specific tobaccos in different positions of the cigar to ensure a changing and dynamic smoking experience from beginning to end. Also, cutting in the middle is a certain way to end up with a wrapper that unravels.
Inhale Your Cigar
Don’t inhale. Tastebuds are in your tongue, not your lungs. Cigars are about taste, aroma and resonance. Taking cigar smoke into your lungs will only allow you to taste a fraction of the premium tobacco in your cigar. Plus, it could make you sick to your stomach or light headed.
Stub Out Your Cigar
When you’re finished with your cigar, simply allow it to go out by itself. Stubbing it into the ashtray as if it were a cigarette only splits open the binder and creates more plumes of smoke as a result. Plus, a destroyed cigar is unsightly.
Put A Half-smoked Cigar In Your Humidor
You wouldn’t put a charred campfire log in your sock drawer, so why would you put a charred cigar in your humidor? Just like clothes, humidors and cigars absorb aromas. Putting a cigar that is partially smoked back inside a humidor will not only taint the cigars you store inside, but can ruin your humidor, lending it a charred, ashy aroma that you won’t be able to easily remove.
Use A Cigar Box As A Humidor
While there are cigarmakers that insert a small Boveda pack into a box of cigars, don’t think that just because a box of cigars is factory sealed it will keep your cigars fresh. Just like any loose sticks you might pick up at a cigar shop, your box of cigars will begin to lose humidity after it leaves the humidor.
Store Cigars In A Refrigerator
Just because it keeps your broccoli fresh doesn’t mean it will do the same for your cigars. If someone gives you a cigar, don’t throw it in the fridge. Your refrigerator is a dry environment meant to keep things cool, not humid. (But it does serve a purpose should you need to salvage cigars after a tobacco beetle infestation.)
Tell Someone How To Smoke Their Cigar
Don’t be the cigar police. There are enough rules in life. Let people smoke the way they want to—unless, of course, you’re an editor from Cigar Aficionado.
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