What do you do when your cigar stops burning like this…
And starts burning like this…?
Few things throw off the cigar smoking experience like a canoed burn. There are a few ways to correct this issue that don’t involve throwing your cigar into the backyard in a rage. Here are a few suggestions, one of which you may not be familiar with, but first, a few “do nots” of touching up your cigar.
Do nots of touching-up a cigar:
1. If you are using a flame to touch-up the cigar, be careful not to burn the wrapper of the cigar with the flame. So much of the flavor comes from the wrapper that burning it prematurely will release the flavors oils on the wrapper, and therefore the flavor. Don’t let it happen!
2. Don’t clip your cigar just because you’ve had a burn that gets uneven. It is totally unnecessary.
A few ways to touch up our cigar:
1. Traditional flame approach: hold the cigar close enough to the match where the overhanging part of the wrapper slowly smokes and turns to ash, but do not let the cigar touch the flame. This will ensure that the wrapper doesn’t light on fire and prematurely burn.
Depending on how uneven the burn is, it is possible that the cigar has actually drifted from being completely lit, so it may be important to actually relight the cigar.
2. Using the purge to straighten the burn: One of the lesser known ways of straightening the burn is simply by pushing air outward through the cigar 2 or 3 times, then pulling in. Pushing air through the cigar not only purges the cigar and improves flavor, but it also pushes the ember in the cigar forward and out, catching the pieces of the binder and wrapper that weren’t burning before.
A tip here though: don’t purge too hard or you risk pushing the ash off of the cigar, which could complicate the burn even more. Pushing too hard could also overheat the ember and crack the binder/wrapper.
3. Using a torch lighter: The same principle as with a match. Aim the torch at the uneven wrapper/binder elements, and without lighting the whole cigar on fire, gently burn even the burn.
4. Turning the uneven portion so that it faces downward: I’ve always found this trick to touching-up my cigar to be pretty non-effective, but you’ll find cigar smokers on forums all over the place that swear by it as a method. Just don’t hold on to this method for too long. If it doesn’t work, try a purge, then pull out your lighter.
For cigar smokers, the question of the health risks of cigars is an often-debated topic. Beyond debate, however, is the sad fact that when you smoke irresponsibly, tragedy can be the result.
This was the case for Lyn Baumeister, who was killed after her husband’s discarded cigar caught fire in a trash can. The fire spread to the sofa, and the toxic fumes released by the combustion killed Mrs. Baumeister and her seven month old black lab.
“The chair had been set alight by a cigar discarded by her former partner George, with whom she still lived. He had stubbed it into an ashtray and then into a waste paper basket. He then left for work, unaware it was still smouldering…
She left three children and six grandchildren.”
This tragic story should remind every cigar smoker that when you are done with a cigar, DO NOT PUT IT IN A GARBAGE CAN. Simply set it down in your ash tray, ember towards the center, and let it go out to avoid risk of an ember catching. And if you are smoking inside, take the extra precaution and take your cigar outside.
It is really hard to hate a cigar lounge. From the beginning of the experience (saying hello and picking out a cigar) to the final puff and the stroll back outside, the experience is meant to help us relax and enjoy the art and elegance of the leaf. That doesn’t mean that this thoughtfully designed experience is always a sanctuary from stress. Most veteran cigar smokers have seen the experience soiled by loud and idiotic patrons, rude shop owners, and a whole slew of other distractions. So, what exactly is it that pisses us off?
In order to come up with the list below, I took to our social networks, particularly our Facebook page, and asked our audience what their biggest lounge pet peeves are. I also dropped by Twitter and the Reddit cigar community (r/cigars) and was given some great insight.
If you are a new cigar smoker heading to a lounge or just hoping to get through the cigar bar experience without alienating your boss and his heavy-hitting friends, this might be a helpful list of things NOT to do next time you are out at a lounge.
13 Ways to Make Everyone at a Cigar Lounge Hate You
1. Lick the wrapper of your cigar before having it cut.
This tradition of licking the wrapper before lighting is really a vestige of a forgotten past when cigars were not humidified properly by importers and shops. 99% of the cigars you see, touch, and smoke in a shop are humidified perfectly, so go easy on the slobber – it really won’t make you look like an aficionado.
2. Criticize or belittle someone’s cigar choice.
Don’t do it. It doesn’t matter if their cigar costs $2 or $25. If it isn’t your flavor profile, don’t ruin it for someone else (yes, complaining about a cigar will taint their perception of it even if it’s a great stick).
3. Tell everyone how that Cuban you had the other day was better than every other cigarever.
This is the other side of the cigar criticism coin. No one gives a damn if you smoked a Cuban. You don’t sound cool by repeating that you did. And yet every 5 minutes someone on this planet has the urge to affirm themselves by touting their Cuban cigar experience.
Want to know the likely truth? That Cuban you had in Puerto Rico on your business trip was probably a fake. It was probably made of some generic Dominican tobaccos and given a fake Cohiba wrapper.
And even if it was a real Cuban, this is typically how the conversation goes, and this is how dumb you will likely sound:
Cigar smoker 1: “Dude yeah I love cigars. I was smoking this cuban the other day it was so good.”
Cigar smoker 2: “Yeah? What was it?”
Cigar smoker 1: “A Cuban, it was so good, so much better than anything here.”
Cigar smoker 2: “I heard you. I asked which Cuban.”
Cigar smoker 1: “Uh a churchill I think. It was so good.”
Be prepared to receive an annoyed expression.
4. Interject into another conversation and quickly begin talking about yourself and your opinions.
This really is common sense, but it deserves repeating because of the way that cigars tend to bring out the egos of those who only smoke to stroke their ego: stop talking about yourself so much. Chances are, you are much less interesting than you think you are, and you might just find that those around you are interesting themselves.
5. Start a heated debate on politics and religion.
As much as you might love talking about the importance of metaphysical realism to the development of Western rights theory, or your most hated politicians, etc., there are just some topics that, unless you really know the person you are speaking to (one on one), you should avoid.
Cigars draw all sorts of individuals together, and that means people with wildly varying political and religious sensibilities. So before you go bashing Obama as a Muslim socialist or talking about how dumb you think conservatives are, take a moment to check yourself, and perhaps instead ask your friends if they have any special plans for the season or what their favorite spirit to pair is.
6. Blow smoke in someone’s face.
I’ll admit, I’ve done this a few times back when I first started smoking. But the truth is, it really isn’t funny. Enjoy your own cigar and let your fellow cigar smokers enjoy theirs.
7. Light up a cigarette.
How would you like it if I poured some kool-aid into that nice $40 bottle of wine you are drinking? Oh, you wouldn’t? Then please don’t pollute everyone’s smoking experience by blowing cigarette smoke everywhere, because it is the same thing. Aroma makes up 80% of the taste for many cigar smokers (myself included), and I can smell cigarette smoke immediately, even across the room.
It will ruin everyone’s smoking experience, and you will not be making any friends.
8. Puff another person’s cigar.
Don’t do it. As Aguilar7 on r/cigars put it, “It’s like asking to kiss someone’s spouse, to see what it’s like; get your own.”
9. Mooch cigars off of other cigar smokers.
When you’re sitting down, relaxing with a nice cigar, the last thing you want to hear is someone all-too-politely beating around the bush about how much they want to try the cigar that you just bought five of. Even if you know that there is a particularly generous cigar smoker that might bless you with a free stick, don’t be a cigar bum. Save your own money, buy your own cigars.
If you really want to, ask another BOTL if he’ll trade some cigars with you so it is a fair deal.
10. Give yourself generous amounts of other people’s liquor without supplying any.
Cigar smokers are some of the most consistently generous people you will ever meet. But don’t take advantage of that fact. If someone brings a bottle to share and offers you some, accept it graciously. But if you didn’t bring any to share, be polite and forgo pouring yourself more glasses of their hard-earned money.
11. Walk away with someone else’s cutter or lighter.
I can’t even count the amount of torch lighters and cutters I’ve lost because I let some forgetful person borrow them only to have my tools vanish. It’s normal to borrow cutters or a lighter – just be sure you don’t walk off and enter a deep conversation while your friend is forced to now borrow another cutter or lighter.
12. Stamp out your cigar when you’re finished with it.
Cigars are not cigarettes – don’t treat them the same. It is considered bad manners to smash a cigar against an ash tray when you are done smoking.
13. Get drunk and smoke too many cigars – throw up everywhere.
Yeah, this happens. No, your boss won’t be impressed. But your friends will laugh – at you. Not only that, you’ll smell like cigar smoke and puke. And that’s disgusting.
Head spinning from so many rules? Well, don’t be discouraged. The common thread running through all of these rules is common sense, civility, and thoughtfulness. Don’t show off – just show up prepared to relax and enjoy the company of others.
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I’m not sure whether there’s any kind of academic, peer-reviewed research to prove this, but everyone knows it anyway: there’s something about cigars that just fosters greatness. They deliver not only a pleasing aroma and an excellent taste, but a certain state of mind that oozes with panache and savoir-faire.
Whatever the reason, great men tend to smoke cigars. Here are some of the great things they’ve said while smoking them:
1. “I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time” – Mark Twain
2. “You should hurry up and acquire the cigar habit. It’s one of the major happinesses. And so much more lasting than love, so much less costly in emotional wear and tear.” – Aldous Huxley
3. “Lastly (and this is, perhaps, the golden rule), no woman should marry a man who does not smoke.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
4. “I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form.” -Winston Churchill
5. They had no good cigars there, my Lord; I left the place in disgust.” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson, English poet, returning from Venice
Who has a favorite cigar quote? Leave it in the comments!
Every hobby has its myths, and new hobbyists tend to have to go through periods of believing some silly myths (i.e. all wine gets better with age, the Irish invented distilling, etc). So recently I took to Reddit (r/cigars), to try to isolate the top myths related to cigars.
So, without further ado, here are some of the top myths many still believe about cigars and cigar smoking. The list is ordered from the most silly myths, to ones that many veteran cigar smokers still believe today:
Myth #1: “Cuban cigars are unequivocally the best in the world.” (submitted by venganza24)
This myth crops up time and again, mostly from the uneducated cigar smokers, but also from many wealthy cigar smokers who are “Cuban only.” Though it might be true that Cuban cigars are very good and even some of the best in the world, it is impossible to make the blanket statement that Cubans are the best for a few reasons.
First, tastes are relative. Some profiles are enjoyable to one cigar smoker and unenjoyable to others. If you love the kick of a spicy Nicaraguan puro, you might not have the same appreciation for most Cuban cigars, and vice-versa. Second, since the embargo, quality standards in terms of quality control, construction, and technology in countries like Nicaragua, the D.R., Honduras, etc., have increased one hundred fold, rivaling and on average besting Cuban cigars in quality (and I’ve had many Cuban cigars).
So why do people (including seasoned cigar smokers) continue to insist that Cubans are categorically better? For U.S. smokers, it is typically because Cubans are not available in the states, so people tend to elevate them by perception alone. For European smokers that love to boast about how amazing Cubans are, I’ve found that it is often, simply put, snobbery. Most importantly, however, is that Cuban cigars are seen as a status symbol of the sophisticated and well-off.
Myth #2: “All cigar smokers are snobs.”
Put a large number of people together to talk about a hobby, and there will be snobs. Hell, I’m willing to be that if you put 20 clay-mation animators in a room and had them watch Wallace & Gromit, at least one of them would look down his nose.
So why the wide-spread perception that cigar smokers are snobs? Well, we have Hollywood to thank for that, along with the already-snobbish who get into cigar smoking just so that they can be extra-snobby.
Myth #3: “Cigar smoking is for the wealthy.” (submitted by aguilar7)
If this myth were true, I certainly wouldn’t be smoking cigars, and neither would most of my friends. This myth is, like others, supported by Hollywood, who often portrays cigar smokers as wealthy, corrupt, or criminal. Of course, it is true that some cigars are expensive, and some idiotic companies even play this myth to their advantage.
The truth is, there are many world class cigars for under $5 a piece. If you are wise with your money and don’t overspend, even a poor college student can have good sticks on hand for special occasions or even a regular smoke with friends.
Myth #4: “The darker the wrapper, the stronger the cigar.” (submitted by MattyBlayze)
Many beginning cigar aficionados make the understandable mistake of assuming that if a cigar has a dark wrapper, it must be a strong cigar. The truth is, there are plenty of incredibly dark cigars that, though flavorful, are hardly what I would call powerhouse cigars (e.g. Macanudo Maduro 1997, Rocky Patel OWR, Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro, etc). Additionally, there are lots of cigars that, though lighter in complexion, pack a serious punch (some Savinelli cigars, Hispaniola Connecticut, etc).
Myth #5: “A cigar’s flavor comes from the wrapper.” (submitted by MattyBlayze)
This isn’t a myth you’ll hear a lot about from the uninformed. Although it comes from a generally true observation (the wrapper adds a lot of flavor to a cigar), many cigar smokers will emphasize the point a bit past what is true. A cigar’s flavor is determined by a lot more than the type of wrapper. The size/shape (vitola) has a lot to do with what you’ll taste in a cigar, and so too the binder/filler tobaccos have a lot to do with the taste as well.
Myth #6: “White ash means the tobacco is high quality.”
This myth has always struck me as a bit bizarre, but the reasons for it seem pretty clear. It seems like human nature to connect purity to quality. We do it all the time with wine, cigars, whiskey, fabrics, you name it. If the ash looks “clean” then the tobacco must be processed better, right?
Wrong. Cigars with very white ash tend to have higher amounts of of calcium and magnesium, which, though important for a good cigar, don’t make a good cigar. There are plenty of cigars with salt and pepper ash that smoke incredibly well, and I’ve had white-ash cigars that are incredibly bland. A good discussion on it here.
What cigar myths are missing from this list? Let us know in the comments below. I can think of one more off of the top of my head, which I’ll have to credit to psi_chi from r/cigars:
“My favorite myth: you can keep money in your bank account once you start smoking cigars.”