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How to Smoke Your First Cigar

How to Smoke Your First Cigar

The cigar almost seems like a prerequisite for being a badass. It’s the final prop in the man’s man toolkit. Look to fictional characters like Tony Soprano to Tony Montana, the cigar is practically an extension of themselves. This could be you. It's time to learn how to start smoking cigars and throw back some stogies.   

Get Started

man in suit with beard smoking a cigar
  Many would-be cigar smokers never start because they’re afraid of looking like a complete novice when they start. Don’t worry everyone has to start somewhere. There are certain types of cigars that’ll be too strong for a first timer. These might even turn you off to the prospect of smoking. The best place to start is with a mid-flavored cigar. They are also cheaper and a good way to ease you into your new hobby. You also won’t have to worry about messing up an expensive cigar by incorrectly prepping or lighting it. Your local cigar shop will give you a few recommendations for beginners and help you get set up. Once you’ve decided on a specific cigar, inspect it for quality. A good quality cigar shouldn’t have any cracks or discolorations. Squeeze it to make sure that there is a uniform solidness to it – not too hard or soft, just right. Soft spots could mean that your cigar is filled with less tobacco and hard spots could mean you have a plugged cigar, which is harder to smoke.       Once you’ve picked out your first cigar, it’s time to light up.

Steps to Prepping

Whether you’re smoking alone or your gathered with friends, you’ll need the following to smoke your cigar:
  • A lighter (preferably butane) or wooden matches
  • Cigar cutter
  • Ashtray

All cigars have a uniform makeup. The cap or head is the end where you put your mouth. It’s sealed off and needs to be cut. Sometimes you’ll receive a precut cigar at a lounge. But it’s still important to know how to do this step by yourself. You always want to use a specialized cigar cutter when you can. The foot is the side you light. Right before the cap is the filler which is a blend of dried tobacco. Following that is the wrapper which is the outside of the cigar and where the cigar gets most of its flavor.

Steps to Lighting

Now don’t choke. A cigar isn’t that hard to light, but it does need to be done correctly. Follow these steps and you don’t have to worry about looking foolish. 1) Cut your cigar with a cutter. Slice 1/8th of an inch of the cap. 2) Tilt your cigar and toast the foot by letting your tobacco heat up before lighting. 3) Spark your lighter. With your cigar in your mouth, puff and begin to rotate it around the flame without it actually touching the cigar. You can also rotate the light in a circular motion if you’re using a traditional cigar butane lighter. 4) Keep your lighter on hand. Blow on it gently to even it out until the entire end is red hot and glowing evenly. 5) Smoke without inhaling. Take a puff once or twice every minute. 6) Tap gently on your ashtray. Don’t smash it directly down as this can extinguish the light. Each one of these steps is crucial in the process of smoking your cigar. The initial cut provides a passageway for the tobacco and smoke to flow. Cutting it correctly stops the cigar from unraveling and also makes sure no tobacco leaves end up in your mouth. A great cigar cutter is an invaluable asset. Usually a straight cut with a guillotine cutter is your best option and most common way to do so. An even light will keep your cigar burning and allow for you to taste the wide range of flavors. It’s recommended not to inhale cigar smoke.  

Choosing a Quality Cigar

cigars on table
Local cigar clubs and stores are your premier on-site source for cigars. They’ll have a well-stocked selection and knowledgeable workers. The many different selections are stocked in something called a humidor. These are specialized cigar cases that provide the encasing with moisture to maintain optimal storage conditions for the tobacco. If it’s too humid or dry, cigars will lose their aroma and flavor.   A lot of your cigar decision process comes down to what you like. Look at the different sizes and shapes that you’ll be comfortable with smoking. There’s all kinds of sizes from grande and petit to torpedo shaped ones. Make sure there are no tears or gaps on your wrapper. A good cigar will also have a uniform color. Additionally any cigar that feels dry or flakes and crumbles when you touch is has not been properly stored. A well-cared for cigar will have a certain luster to its look and will be filled evenly with tobacco. Finally, decide what type of flavor and smell you like the best. If you’re at the shop, ask to smell before you buy. Take a deep inhale and savor the scent. Again, if this is your first cigar, avoid buying any expensive cigars as you won’t be able to tell the difference anyways.

A Cigar Smoking Future?

dried tobacco leaves rolled on board
  There is a rich history and culture around cigars. One thing you’ve probably heard about is how Cuban cigars are the best. You may have never smoked, but it’s common knowledge. The fact is that Cuban cigars come from a long history of cigar makers. They’re highly regulated to ensure that only the best are made. They’re created by the most highly skilled cigar rollers in the entire world. In Spanish, “torcedores” are elite cigar rollers who’ve been training their whole lives. Usually the skill has been passed down from a family member from one generation to the next. The Cuban trade embargo made these were highly coveted in America because of their rarity and shaky legal status. A Cuban cigar is not for the faint of heart or inexperienced. It’s an overpowering smell and taste. Compared to Dominicans and other cigars – the Cuban has a much fuller and smoky affect. Overtime your unique taste will develop. Eventually you’ll want to purchase your own humidor. Initially, you don’t want to buy too many cigars without having a place to store them. A dried out cigar is never a good look. If you plan on continuing the manly voyage into cigar land, then a humidor is a must have. They’ll keep your cigars fresh and ready to smoke for a long time. Eventually you’ll find your personal favorite and start developing new tastes. You’ll be a cigar aficionado before you know it.