It’s not as easy as lighting a cigarette. Learning how to light a cigar is instead imbued with mystery and etiquette. And yes, it’s possible to come across burning issues, which further necessitating the need to know how to light a cigar properly.
So whether you are a cigar aficionado or a beginner, you should learn the correct method for lighting your cigar. You want to avoid a dying cherry or an uneven burn right after you’ve paired your cigar with your drink perfectly.
How then are you supposed to light your cigar? It starts with choosing the right flame.
Choose Your Flame
Seasoned cigar smokers will tell you that no two cigar flames are the same. Therefore, be specific about the type of lighters you want to use for your cigars. The best lighters include the butane lighter, cedar spills, and wooden matches. The best lighter for the tip of your cigar is a torch lighter.
Remember that the chemical you use to lit cigar will release its set of by-product traces and odors. This is why you cannot use certain products, like candles, cardboard matches, and oil-fuelled lighters, to light your cigar since they affect the cigar flavor.
Now that you have your lighter of choice, the next thing to consider is how to toast the foot.
Toast The Cigar
Toasting is the process that primes the tobacco products for the lighting. It gives the outer parts of your cigar a head start and chars the foot of the cigar. Here’s how:
- Hold the cigar with one hand
- Hold the flame steady with the other hand and approach the cigar at an angle of 45 degrees
- Once you reach close to the flame, about two or three inches, stop. Do not move the cigar any closer
- Start to rotate the cigar so that you can get an even exposure
- You’ll start to notice a glowing ring forming on your cigar edge. Stop the rotation once these edges become black
Blackening the tobacco on your cigar dries it and gets it ready for lighting. It is recommended that you move the cigar instead of the flame because it gives you more control. Also, make sure the flame doesn’t touch the cigar because it will damage the cigar wrapper. Then start to ignite the filler.
Learning how to light a cigar is an art in itself. It requires a bit of skill and precision. In the process of igniting a filler, for instance, you need to ensure that you have a soft flame because the cigar should be closer to the flame.
This can be hard because the filler is the centre of the cigar’s foot. To do this:
- Adjust the angle of the cigar to a more horizontal position
- Move the cigar closer to the flame but leave a one-inch distance between the flame and the cigar
- Start rotating the cigar again while you ensure the flame burns around the filler to get an even burn
- Once the centre starts to smolder stop the rotation, you’ll see glowing embers on your cigar
If you find that the only parts ignited are the cherry parts of the cigar, burn the blackened areas some more but ensure you do not burn the edges. You can also blow on the embers instead to ensure you do not burn your cigar. Then prepare for your first draw.
The Draw Release
Once you notice your cigar has picked up an even burn, start to puff on your cigar. Bring the cigar to your lips. Hold your flame at least half an inch below the foot of the cigar. Start to draw in air as you rotate your cigar.
Release the air pressure and repeat the process. Only stop this process when you notice a surge of flames has billowed from the foot of your cigar. Ensure that the embers are consistent and adjust your puffs to get the best burn. This often only happens with stubborn cigars.
Make Your Burn Consistent
You might find that your cigar will not burn evenly. This can happen if you get overzealous when lighting or puffing a cigar. Sometimes, handmade cigars are not appropriately rolled, making it harder for the cigar to burn evenly.
In that case, one side of the cigar burns faster than the other, or you find that a burning hole will appear under the wrapper of your ember. You can prevent this from happening by ensuring you have a consistent and pure cherry.
Do this by releasing the final draw with a conclusive blow. Ensure you blow from the side of the embers towards the areas that are charred. This will disperse the heat from your cigar without exposing the head directly to the flame.
Once this is done, you’ll have a cherry that glows consistently. Let it sit for a few seconds to give the cigar foot a chance to stabilize. Now you can start to enjoy your cigar.
It is important to note that other reasons like improper storage and windy weather can interfere with your cigar burn. Wind can especially cause your cigar to go out. In that case, this is how you should relight your cigar:
Relighting A Cigar
Cigars are never treated to keep them burning because they are made from natural tobacco leaves. Therefore, when smoking a cigar, it can go out if you take time between puffs. If this happens, don’t take time before relighting the cigar to ensure the taste is not lost.
Remove leftover ash and any blackened leaf with a penknife. An excellent cigar cutter will also do the trick. Once you cut a cigar, relight it by holding it and turning it over the flame. Expect the flavor to be stronger. But it will be back to normal after a few puffs. Now that you know how to light a cigar make sure you find an aficionados group to showcase your expertise.