The Proper Way of Lighting a Cigar

In category: Cigar Basics

Lighting a cigar seems very simple but like a lot of things today, it has developed into a specialized skill. Cigar enthusiasts may still enjoy their favorite choice of cigar without having this specialized skill but by exerting a little effort to acquire that skill will allow them to enjoy every cigar to the fullest.

In explaining the proper way of lighting a cigar, it is better to start of with the things that should be avoided. A match may be used to light a cigar but it may not be the best option since matches contain sulfur that contributes a nasty taste to the smoke. It’s not that healthy either. When using a match, make sure to allow it to burn past the head before raising the match to the end of the cigar.

Another tool used for lighting cigars are Zippo-style lighters. These lighters have the tendency to introduce unpleasant fumes to the puffs and it lessens the rich flavor of a fine cigar. The lighter fluid inside these lighters produces organic compounds that don’t mix well with a good smoke once they are burned. When using a Zippo-style lighter, puff lightly first before exhaling quickly just to minimize the amount of foul compounds that are introduced into the smoke. The lighters must be pulled away as quickly as possible.

Some cigar smokers also use a candle to light their cigars. When using a candle, the drawing in of the compounds that are coming off the wick must be avoided. The carbon dioxide and the hot water vapor produced by a burning raw candle wax don’t have foul tastes. Some scented candles give off a little amount of carbon monoxide upon burning the wick.

The best tool to use when lighting a cigar is a lighter that contains butane or propane. When lighting, the lighter must be raised close to the exposed end of the cigar. Touching the flame directly to the tobacco must be avoided. There is no need to dunk the cigar because the heat from the flame will extend a couple of millimeters away from the visible portion.

As the end of the cigar is exposed to the heat, hold it away from your mouth and rotate the cigar slowly. The heat must be applied only long enough to get no more than half of the end to lit. To produce an even burning coal, blow gently towards the end of the cigar. After that, blow off the ash that would tend to extinguish it. Continue to puff and rotate the cigar until the end is completely lit.

A good cigar is made to light and burn well but it is also designed to go out if it’s not puffed on for a couple of minutes. There are some people who claim that cigars should never be re-lighted but there’s very little basis for that. A good smoke will stay a good smoke even if the cigar is re-lit shortly after going out.

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