It’s been said that cigars are one of the greatest pleasures there is. One of the hugest misconceptions regarding cigars is the fact that they’re only for the wealthy. Not only is this blatantly false, but it was never true in the first place.
Tobacco has been enjoyed by native cultures and uber-wealthy cultures all the same, and there is no doubt that the simple pleasure of enjoying a cigar is one of the oldest traditions there is. For many decades, however, cigars were slandered as dangerous and classless by those on the outside looking in.
Even though they are enjoyed by everyone regardless of class, a huge crackdown against smoking labeled any and all people who enjoy cigars and unsavory characters. In reality, cigars unite people regardless of race, color, or creed, and in fact, it’s most certainly a hobby and past-time that any and all people should try and become a part of.
In today’s era, more and more people are beginning to get into cigars. There is a literal obsession as it relates to collecting and enjoying all sorts of different blends, and once you get into it, there is no doubt you’ll be hooked for life. Here are some of the basic things you should keep in mind when first enjoying a cigar.
Sample Before You Invest Heavily
Unfortunately, while many people have the desire to enjoy cigars, not everyone genuinely loves the hobby. Smoking tobacco can be unsavory for some, but if you do enjoy the hobby, be sure to sample before you get seriously involved.
Cigar collecting and smoking, although extremely fun, can become very expensive. Rather than buying a huge box of cigars for your first collection, be sure to try before you buy. Many cigar vendors and tobacconists offer sampler packs and sample size orders so you can try cigars before going all the way with them.
This is a fantastic way to find out what sort of flavors you like and don’t like. It’s also very hard for newcomers to really understand all of the intricacies of the hobby, and in the initial stages, they may embarrass themselves a little bit.
Tools of the Trade
A huge part of the hobby is having the right equipment. It’s impossible to enjoy cigars without the right tools, so before you can even think about seriously smoking anything, you also need to be sure that you have the proper means of actually enjoying your cigars.
When it comes to becoming a cigar smoker, one of the most important parts of the process is buying the right equipment. While you won’t necessarily need a whole lot of it, there are a few must-have items that you have to add to your cigar smoker arsenal.
One of the primary things that all cigar smokers need is the humidor. In order to enjoy your cigars, you need a place to keep care of them, and this is where the humidor comes into play. A humidor is essentially an incubator of sorts for the cigars. Before we get into what the humidor does, it’s important to understand very briefly how cigars are composed.
Cigars are made up of three segments, the binder, the wrapper, and the filler. The binder is the middle part that holds the filler and wrapper together. The wrapper is what you can see, and the filler are the strongest parts of the tobacco plant that rolled up in the middle. This part of the cigar provides most of the flavors of whatever cigar you happen to be smoking.
Now that you understand the anatomy of a cigar, you should realize that all of the leaves that make up the cigar are natural ingredients. In other words, they are literally parts of the tobacco plant that have been cut off and rolled up together.
You have to keep all of these parts in check because if one part of the cigar is compromised, then the entire flavor of the cigar is also compromised. Going back to the tools of the trade, the one tool that ensures that all three parts of the cigar are working in perfect harmony is the humidor. A humidor is a device that promotes a stable climate for your cigars.
It’s essentially an air-tight box that is made of Spanish cedar, a type of wood that traps humidity and aromatically stores the cigars in your humidor. If you could only own one cigar tool, this is undoubtedly your most important tool. If you live in a warmer climate, you’ll need a humidor to keep the cigars from getting too humid.
Humidity can kill the flavors in your cigars, and it can also hatch pesky tobacco beetles, naturally occurring parasites that are deep inside of your cigars before they arrive at your house. While many cigar manufacturers now freeze-store their cigars to kill these beetles, it is not uncommon for cigar beetles to emerge if you are not able to keep the humidity and temperature under control.
If you live in a climate that’s too cold, the opposite problem can occur. If cigars keep in an environment that’s too cold, the cigars can dry out, killing the natural oils found on the cigars that are so critical to giving them flavor and fullness.
Other than a humidor, it’s also important to buy a few more tools. If you really want to get the most out of your cigar, be sure to get a cigar cutter. Prepping the cigar for smoking is one of the most crucial phases of the smoking experience, and a solid cutter is paramount to ensuring an excellent cut. Once properly cut, you will enjoy a good, even draw throughout the duration of your cigar.
The best way to light a cigar is a big topic of debate. Many smokers don’t believe in lighters. Many say that if you smoke the cigar with a soft butane flame, it can actually distort the flavors of the cigar. This is mostly an overblown myth, and in reality, it’s a good idea to buy a torch lighter simply for the fact that it will offer a more precise toasting of the cigar. Many people also like torch lighters because of their aesthetic appeal.
As far as other accessories are concerned, anything else is most likely optional, but there are a ton of other ways to enhance your cigar storage experience. Now that you have all of your goodies, it’s time to get into the fun part: enjoying the cigar!
How to Properly Enjoy a Cigar
When it comes to enjoying a cigar, there aren’t really any hard and fast rules. However, there are some tips you should keep in mind before smoking to ensure you get the most enjoyment possible.
First of all, many people have different preferences for the kinds of cigars they like to smoke. Some people like to have a cigar with their morning coffee and would tend to opt for a more mild cigar to not overpower the flavors in the coffee and vice-versa.
Others may prefer cigars with a lot of kick any time of day. Smokers that like a bold cigar have often been smoking for a while and have grown to enjoy the full-bodied flavor.
As a beginner, it’s all up to you as far as what cigars you want to smoke. While you may want to try a cigar with a very powerful kick, consider starting with something a lot more mild. It’s up to you to experiment, but when you actually do smoke the cigar, there are some universal guidelines you should keep in mind.
First of all, be aware of where you’re smoking. A lot of facilities, although welcome to cigarette smokers, are very hostile to cigar smokers. This is mostly a social stigma, but regardless, it can be hard to find a great place to smoke.
However, if you would like to smoke, try and find a local brick-and-mortar tobacconist, often abbreviated as a B&M. These places not only have large selections of cigars, but often also provide welcoming relaxation areas where smokers can enjoy a cigar.
As far as the basic steps to enjoying a cigar, there are a few simple etiquette tips to keep in mind. First of all, when you’re finished a cigar, never stub or stamp it out as this leaves a very bad aroma. Instead, let the cigar die, simply leave it in a tray and let it cool down.
When lighting the cigar, be sure that you do not burn the bottom. It isn’t a paper cigarette, so if you burn it, you’ll get a lot of bad flavors out of the cigar. Instead, put the flame near the end of it, and gently light it with your torch. Ensure that you’re rotating the cigar as you do this, as this will promote a slow even burn on the end of the cigar.
Most importantly, never inhale the cigar! Simply suck in the smoke like a straw, savor the flavors and exhale. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be a cigar aficionado in no time!