Culture

1 Rule and 4 Tips For Smoking Cigars

Enjoying a cigar

Enjoying a cigar

So, you want to smoke a cigar. Have you bought the required wooden matches? Do you have the super-crystal ashtray? Is your mink lined humidor at hand?

Snort. If you want to smoke a cigar, don’t let the cigar puritans from doing so. Yes, there are all sorts of cultists, er, purists out there who will pompously tell you that you have to smoke only cigars made in a certain way, lit with matches made from virgin’s hair, and all sorts of other nonsense. Go ahead and laugh at them, I do.

There is only one rule in cigar club: There Are NO Rules.

A nice desktop humidor, sadly not mine

A nice desktop humidor, sadly not mine

1. How to Store Your Cigars.

Well, to be honest, for me it does have one rule: explore. To me, half (or more) of the fun is in exploring. First, you have the cigars themselves. There are tremendous ranges in flavor, intensity, and other qualities that will affect how much you enjoy them. There are acid cigars, robustos, hand-rolled, and many other types for you to explore. Secondly, there is the “gear” that goes with smoking a cigar. You can put as much or as little into it, but I do think some gear is crucial to have.

I will also admit that if you bring a certain brand of flavored quicky mart cigar with you, I may laugh. That said, there are a range of flavored cigars out there that can be very fun to explore: cognac, coffee, mocha, etc. If anyone laughs at you for trying them, feel free to laugh right back at them, and blow smoke in their face.

Aside from the cigars, there are a variety of ways to store and prepare them to be smoked. Storage is the only one that is important, as a dry cigar is a bad-tasting cigar and a horrible smoking experience. Add to that the fact that broken cigars make me cry, especially given the cost of some of the ones I really like. What can I say, I’m a Scot. A good humidor will keep your cigars at the proper level of moisture and ensure the best possible experience.

There are very nice humidors out there and I admit I would love a nice desktop one to augment my travel humidor. You can get a nice looking one fairly inexpensively, a larger and more ornate one, or something even larger and nicer.

A view into my travel humidor

A view into my travel humidor

2. How to Travel with Your Cigars.

Because I travel so much, I use a travel humidor. The nice wooden ones are great for home or office use, but won’t fare terribly well with the baggage smashers. You can get a small one, one similar to mine, or one that let’s you take your home cigar collection with you. If you just want to travel with one cigar kept in ultimate safety, you want this.

3. How to Light Your Cigars.

Preparing the cigar to be smoked can be as elaborate a ritual as you want to make it. You generally need something to cut the tip off (trust me, using your teeth is overrated), and you may need something to poke a hole or three up into a cigar that is too tightly wrapped to let air flow through. For the cutters, you can join me at the low end, go for something a bit nicer, or go all out if you like.

The same holds true for lighting. I’ve met some who swear a wooden match is the only way to go. Me, I’m a better living through technology type on this, preferring a triple jet lighter. They come in inexpensive, moderate, and more expensive models.

A nice ashtray bought for a friend

A nice ashtray bought for a friend

4. How to Pick Your Ashtrays and Accessories.

There are many more accessories you can get, but the one I will highly recommend for home use is a cigar ashtray. One for cigarettes will not work well for a larger cigar. There are literally hundreds to chose from: small, marble, portable wood and stainless, crystal, floor stands, portable stainless steel, and many more.

If you haven’t caught on yet, you can spend as much money as you like on cigars and accessories. My own preference is to not spend as much on accessories so that I can put it in to cigars. As much as I like certain cigars, I’m almost always willing to try something new and different. My current cigar pusher (Cigar Villa, Smyrna, GA) and others in the Atlanta area are pretty good about helping with that. Odds are, there is a good cigar dealer/cigar bar near you. They are glad to work with all experience levels, and can be a great way to try cigars, lighters, cutters, and more before buying.

Also, I lied to you at the start. There truly is one rule for cigar club: Enjoy. I highly recommend exploring, as I find it a great way to enjoy a variety of flavors and experiences. I don’t smoke often, but when I do, I enjoy the flavor, the experience, and the people around me. I hope you will too.