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11-13-2008, 04:13 PM #1
L4P ARTICLE™ Cigar 101 - Cutting and Lighting
How to properly cut and light a cigar?
By: Jason P. Lasher (JLasher22443)
A fine cigar is something that should be enjoyed and never rushed. Smoking a great hand-made cigar or even a factory rolled cigar is more of an honor and a great opportunity to taste and experience what an artist has done with a simple plant. Tobacconists have been putting together fine cigars for kings and queens for centuries. Most consider these cigars pure and effortless masterpieces. I tend to agree.
So here are a few tips on how not to ruin a masterpiece. Even though you may think it is just about biting off the end and spitting it out on the floor. Then taking out your trusty BIC lighter and begin puffing away like in the old westerns you watched as a kid, it is just a bit more complex then that.
Cutting a cigar
The vast majority of cigars on the market today come with one end that is capped, and this is the end one should always cut. Everyone has their own ideas on what is the best way to enjoy a good cigar. I have heard and read so many things along the way to finding that perfect cigar and have tried most all of them. Here is how I prep my cigars for cutting.
Some say that a cigar should be treated with the utmost respect; enjoying the flavor and body in this gift we call a cigar.
So first I like to take a smell of the cigar that I have just purchased. Yes please purchase first before sniffing. Because no one wants a cigar that someone has had their nose all over, sniffing away, and then just placing it back ever so nicely in its original box.
Next, I like to roll the cigar lightly between my fingers to feel and hear how tight the cigar has been rolled and how well it has been kept. Again, do this gently so you don’t break the cigar.
After getting a feel and a sniff; I like to taste the cigar before lighting it. This helps in achieving all of the flavors that nature and the tobacconist have provided for your enjoyment. I normally taste the cigar for about a minute or so before I cut it. By doing this you are taking in the aromas and natural flavors of a cigar before a flame has changed it.
Now for the cut; and how to find the exact place to make the precise and accurate cut.
There are many different ways of cutting the end of your cigar. You can cut a V in the end, (called Notching or wedge cutting) punch a hole into it with a lance cutter (or called a bullet). But I prefer guillotine cutters which make a cut all the way across the end of the cigar.
First thing you must do before you cut is take a look at the end of the cigar and look for the cap or flag leaf that closes the cigar. This is at the end of the cigar that is pointed or rounded and is called the head of the cigar.
You will notice a fine line running around the end of the cigar about a quarter of an inch or so down the shaft of the cigar; that is the cap leaf. While leaving some of the cap glued around the end of the cigar to keep the filler leaves together; cut about a sixteenth of an inch off the end of the cigar. This is normally right at the point where the cigar is about to become straight and the round or point end of the cigar ends. Make a swift and brute forced action to make a one time cut.
Once you have made the cut do not try and change what you have done. Trust your judgment and leave it alone. By trying to make another cut you could take the whole cap off of the cigar and this can lead to unraveling of the wrapper. Normally I always get a few small pieces of tobacco in my mouth and this is where you can spit now. Just don’t spit at anyone near you. The cigar is now prepared for lighting.
Lighting your Cigar
This too is a touchy subject. I have heard many ways and again have tried most of them. Lighting a cigar can be a very important part in enjoying a great cigar. So when your buddy breaks out his Zippo with a 2 inch flame shooting out of the end; kindly say, “No thank you”. Here is my opinion on the best way to light a fine cigar.
Some say the best way to light a cigar is with a cedar strip known as a spill. By doing this, this will not add any unsavory flavors to the tobacco with fuels from some types of lighters and sulfur matches. This is by far the best way to light a cigar.
If you are one that does not want to carry around cedar strips all the time then a cigar lighter is the next best thing. A cigar lighter is a lighter that uses odorless fuel (butane) and has a wider flame then your average BIC lighters. Using these is the most common way people light there cigars. So go out and get yourself a nice cigar lighter if this hobby of cigar smoking is something you are going to continue with. Choosing a lighter is a personal preference and you should get what best suits your style, so shop around.
However, if you must use matches then let the sulfur on the matches’ burn off before using them on the cigar. Also it is best to use wooden matches instead of the free pack you picked up at the local convenient store.
Once you have your cigar cut and you are ready to light, you then roast the uncut end of the cigar. When I say roast, this is when you take the flame and cook the end of the cigar and make sure to do this evenly. Rotate the cigar as you are burning in the end to be sure and get the entire end. After getting a good ring of ash around the tip of the cigar it is now time to take your first draw of the cigar.
Place the unlit end in your mouth; yes the unlit end, not the end that will burn your lips and ruin the experience.
When taking your first puff it has been said that the first puff should be blown back through the cigar to ensure you do not toke any impurities or unsavory flavors through the cigar. Do this only once if you choose to do so and only once. You should never do more then one outward puff.
Now sit back and appreciate your cigar.
By: Jason P. Lasher (JLasher22443)
Last edited by RAWMEAN; 11-13-2008 at 05:20 PM.
11-13-2008, 05:44 PM #2
Thanks Jason P. Lasher (JLasher22443) for a great article and insight.
11-13-2008, 05:59 PM #3
Awesome article, thanks Jason.
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11-13-2008, 06:03 PM #4
I dont use a cutter anymore I go old skool and use my thumb and index nail or I bite it off...I used every kind of cutter Davidoff Scissors, Zino, Xikar etc etc all good but I cant be bothered...However I NEVER use anything but a lighter or wood matches
11-13-2008, 06:16 PM #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
Great write-up Jason!
11-13-2008, 06:18 PM #6
Excellent first article!!When I'm not here, I'm slinging IT infrastructure or gone golfing
2007 E550 - the DD
2006 Touareg V10 TDI - the baby mobile
11-13-2008, 06:32 PM #7
Nice job Jason. I enjoyed the read and look forward to seeing more.
I forget, did I mention that it would be nice if we had a cigar section on L4P? =)
02 E39 M5
Imola w/ Imola / Black Interior
11-13-2008, 06:33 PM #8
Yes Jason nice write up..I always char the end a bit and then light up holding wooden match or butane lighter away from the actual smoke.
11-13-2008, 06:53 PM #9
11-13-2008, 06:54 PM #10
Quality Write-Up.. Good Tips.