How hard can it be to light a cigar? You stick the open end in a flame, puff it a little, and that’s it? Right? Not so fast. There is a better way, the real way to light a cigar like a pro
Learn how to light a cigar properly and you will better maximize the character of the tobacco and enjoy a more gratifying cigar smoking experience.
How to light a cigar
There are different sources of flame you can use to light a cigar, yet the procedure of how to light a cigar remains the same. Understanding the process will help give you a better idea of what type of flame is best for you and will help to extract the best possible smoke out of your cigar.
Lighting a Cigar
Only after you have fully warmed the foot of your cigar can you light your cigar fully. This is the very core of the cigar-smoking ritual. As with toasting the foot, it is a step that you will want to savor and enjoy.
Bring the cigar to your lips and begin to slowly draw through the cigar as you place the cigar just above the source of flame. Again, try not to put the cigar directly into the flame. As you draw through the cigar, the heat from the flame will ignite the tobacco. Gently rotate the cigar as you draw. Check to ensure the entire foot of the cigar is evenly lit. You can gently blow on the foot to help it along. The cigar is lit when you are receiving a full draw filled with tasty tobacco notes. Then you are on your way to enjoying a great smoke *only if you have a great authentic cigar to smoke and not one of the cheap imitations!
Touching up a cigar
If the cigar doesn’t light evenly, don’t be afraid to touch it up with a little extra fire. Just follow the same steps as before until the foot is fully lit. A well-made premium cigar with a slightly offset burn will often correct itself, so give the cigar time to work its magic. If it does not improve or worsens, then it could be due to construction issues or excessive humidity swings. It can happen on occasion, so it is always a good idea to have a backup cigar handy. And if it happens too often you need to reconsider where you buy your cigars.
Relighting a Cigar
There are times you might get distracted, or you run out of time, and you have to let your cigar go out. You surely don’t want to waste that valuable Montecristo or other Cuban smoke. So yes, you can relight that cold, forgotten stogie. As a burning cigar cools, tar and other natural compounds in the tobacco harden. These will leave a harsh, bitter taste if you attempt to light up and start puffing away immediately.
To combat this undesirable effect, carefully remove any ash attached to the cigar and toast the cigar as before. This helps to prepare the cigar by softening and burning off the compounds. Then relight, and you are back in business. Just know that the longer the cigar sits after going out, the less of its original character it will retain.
Different ways to light a cigar
Now that you have an idea of how to light a cigar, you can decide on the source of flame you want to use to light up your prized smokes. Each option carries benefits and drawbacks.
The tried and true aficionado favorite, matches are an excellent way to spark up a good cigar. Sulfur-free matches made of cedar are best, as they won’t adversely affect the flavor of the tobacco. Cigar matches, in particular, are ideal as they generally are longer, giving you more time to better toast and light the cigar. Sparking up a Partagas Lusitanias with a cigar match is worthy of a spot on any connoisseur’s bucket list! Unfortunately, matches do not work well in windy conditions, making them a better choice for indoors rather than out.
Another preferred way to light a cigar is a butane-fueled lighter. Premium-quality butane offers an odorless and tasteless flame source that can light your cigars with the greatest of ease. These lighters come in all shapes, sizes, and designs, allowing you to show off a bit of style while sparking up. Traditional or “soft flame” butane lighters also are somewhat lacking in wind protection.
A type of butane lighter, torch lighters offer the addition of a more focused jet flame. This provides greater efficiency and control when lighting your cigar, as well as a wind-resistant solution ideal for almost any outdoor situation. Many torch lighters created specifically for cigars have multiple jet flames, letting you quickly cover more surface area of the cigar. Cigar torch lighters are not generally as fuel-efficient as other lighters, and they can also be rather bulky in design.
Also known as petrol lighters, these all-time classics utilize a liquid-based fuel that can provide a reliable flame almost anywhere. Many of these, such as the famous Zippo lighter, provide decent protection against the wind. While heralded for their durability, these lighters are not ideal for cigars. The residue from the fuel can drastically affect the taste of cigars, muting the overall character of the tobacco.
Spanish cedar strips sometimes referred to as cedar spills, provide a clean and pure way to light your cigars. Cedar strips can enhance the nuances of the tobacco, making for a more complex and enjoyable smoke. Try it out with a Punch Punch. The flavor and aroma your cigar will get from the extra step of lighting the cedar strip will be worth it. If you have a cigar that is wrapped in cedar or a cedar-lined tube, you can use that cedar to light the cigar!
Sparking up the right way
Choose the flame that brings the most pleasure to your cigar smoking ritual. And perfect the art of lighting a cigar by enjoying more cigars. When you get better and more confident at lighting a cigar, you can upgrade what you smoke. Stock up with a box at the go-to store for premium Cuban cigars.