Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Week for the week of August 14. Read the full tasting note:
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How to Smoke a Cigar
Cigars are synonymous with sophistication and class, and they’re often associated with special occasions like a birthday, wedding or holiday. They can be an excellent conversation starter, and they offer a unique opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the flavors and aromas of different tobacco varieties. However, smoking a cigar can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with the process or don’t know how to properly handle one. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your cigar experience and avoid common mistakes that can be made by inexperienced cigar smokers.
The Importance of Quality Tobacco
Cigar manufacturers rely on nature to create their products, and this can lead to wildly different results from one batch of tobacco to the next. The key to a good cigar is high-quality raw materials that are properly handled and constructed, which can make or break the taste and enjoyment of the finished product.
The best cigars are handmade from natural, organic ingredients that are free of dyes and ripening accelerants. This helps to ensure consistency, but even the finest cigars will display minor differences in appearance and flavor from one cigar to the next.
To maximize your cigar experience, you should smoke it with a smooth, shallow puff that’s more like sucking on a straw than actually inhaling. Aim for 30-60 seconds of light puffs to avoid over-heating the tobacco, which can result in a bitter flavor. You should also handle your ash with care, letting it grow to an inch or so before gently tapping it off. A long, graceful ash is an attractive and dignified characteristic of a premium cigar.