While the popularity of mundane tobacco products like cigarettes and snuff is at an all-time low, there’s an exception bucking the broader downward trend: premium cigars.
More than 361.3 million premium cigars were imported into the U.S. in one year, and commentators suggest we’re in the middle of a new cigar boom.
Whether smoking a cigar is an occasional luxury or an everyday indulgence, there’s never been a better time to take up the hobby. To make sure you have the best experience possible every time you enjoy a smoke, be sure to follow these tips.
1. Stick With High-Quality Cigar Brands
Before you take up smoking cigars, you should familiarize yourself with some of the major players in the industry. Nothing will put you off cigars like having a bad first experience. Knowing what you’re buying and how your cigars are made can help make sure your first smoke is a pleasurable one.
For first-timers, Arturo Fuente is an excellent brand to start with. They’re one of the most recognizable names in cigars and have over a century of experience. They offer everything from mild, inexpensive cigars that are ideal for beginners to ultra-premium offerings like their Opus 22.
2. Cut Your Cigar
Cutting your cigar correctly is essential to getting an even draw with every puff. An uneven cut can cause an uneven burn. This can be awkward to deal with and even alter the cigar’s flavor profile.
The first thing you’ll need is a cigar cutter. These come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. For now, get a simple guillotine cutter, available at any tobacco shop or even at most liquor stores.
You only want to cut the cap—the very tip of the closed end of the cigar. Try your best to make a clean, even cut to ensure a smooth, steady draw. Less is more, you can always trim a little more off the end if you’re not getting enough airflow.
3. Light Up and Enjoy
Purists will say that wooden matches are essential as butane lighters can spoil the flavor of the tobacco. But matches can be tricky to use and as a beginner, you’re unlikely to notice a difference in taste. For now, you can use whatever flame you’re comfortable with.
The key is to avoid putting the end of your cigar into the flame, as you would with a cigarette. Instead, hold the flame just out of reach of the cigar and toast the end to light it. Rotate the stick in your fingers as you light it to get an even burn.
With the end lit, draw the smoke into your mouth. Never inhale cigar smoke into your lungs. If you ever heard of any unpleasant effects of smoking a cigar, it was probably because a novice inhaled the smoke like you would with a cigarette.
Now sit back and relax. Cigars are meant to be enjoyed at leisure, so take your time with your smoke.
Master These Cigar Basics for a More Satisfying Smoke
Smoking a cigar is one of the most elegant indulgences you can partake in. Whether you’re enjoying a significant celebration or having a quiet evening at home, they add an extra je ne sais quoi to almost any occasion. Knowing how to smoke a cigar correctly will help you make the most of the experience.
Of course, premium cigars are far from the only fine luxury you can treat yourself to. For more ways to live well, be sure to follow our latest lifestyle news and guides.