Want to add a cigar to your crazy nights but need a little know-how? We’ve got you covered. From the foot to filler, and how to store your goods carefully, it’s all here in our guide to cigars.
TOASTING THE FOOT
The tip of the cigar, otherwise known as the foot, should be lit using a long wooden match or butane lighter. If you’re using a match, wait for the sulfur to burn off before lighting. Start lighting by holding it at a 45-degree angle above the flame, about three to four inches from the tip. Then, rotate until the foot begins to ignite. Don’t let the flame touch the foot, slowly puff and rotate it around the flame. To ensure even burning, you should gently blow on the foot. Once lit, let it sit for a minute to stabilize the fresh stogie.
Toasting the foot ignites the outer layers of tobacco (especially the binder and the wrapper). If you don’t toast the foot, only the inner tobacco (the filler) will ignite. When that happens, the cigar burns unevenly and develops a poorly shaped ash, burning with an irregular, unsatisfactory smoke.
RELEASING THE DRAW
When you pull on the cigar, that is inhale without actually inhaling, a flash of flame will flare up from the foot of the cigar and a puff of smoke should exhale from your mouth.
PUTTING OUT A CIGAR
Never stub out your cigar as you would a cigarette, as it will produce a stale odor that lingers. Let your cigar naturally burn out and then dispose of it safely. You can relight a cigar if it was smoked less than two hours previously. After that, it’s not recommended to relight.
Humidification is the only way to keep your cigars fresh indefinitely. They should be stored under the following conditions:
- 65 to 70% Humidity
- 68 to 72 Degrees Fahrenheit
A humidor is a box designed specifically for storing cigars. Some humidors have lift-out trays and dividers that help organize your collection, but design is less important than the ability to keep your smokes fresh.
HANDMADE vs. MACHINE MADE CIGARS
Most cigars are created when the wrapper is applied by hand to a bunch of combined, blended filler leaves with a manual or motor-driven machine. Often these are referred to as “machine bunched, handmade.” As the name suggests, machine-made cigars are made entirely by machine, using short filler or scrap filler tobacco. The wrapper is natural, but the binder is created from homogenized tobacco.
Pure, 100% handmade cigars are produced without the use of any machines and are instead created by a premium cigar roller.
Handmade options have long fillers and are made of leaves of tobacco running the whole length of the smoke. Recently some manufacturers have created medium filler cigars, and even some handmade options, such as the Oba Oba!, contain mixed fillers. This increases the quality of handmade at a considerable discount.
Machine-made cigars have short fillers made from leaves, stems and other scraps of tobacco chopped up by a machine. Short fillers burn faster and become hotter, making drawing and burning quality significantly inferior.
The binder holds the filler together. Handmade varieties use tough, coarse tobacco leaves to hold the filler together, whereas purely machine-made use ground up tobacco parts that are held together by a natural glue.
Handmade rollers take fine, silky, elastic wrapper tobacco and stretch it around the molded body. This stretching and laminating process, essentially, makes the cigar look and feel sexy. Machine-made wrappers are generally flat and dull.
So knock yourself out enjoy ramping up your smoke game. Do understand that much like the oenophile crowd out there, becoming a super-buff in the cigar world can get expensive. For the serious, though, starting with Cigar Aficionado might be a place to start your journey. Remember to tread lightly at the first, however, most of your friends will not be impressed if you have to smoke your really fine cigars in your car because you have no home. … We do have other fun stuff to consider, should cigars not be your thing at all, though.
You do you.