Some people just don’t get it. We cigar lunatics do not burn cigars for a quick fix or to take the edge off. Rather, we look forward to an experience appealing to many of our most tangible senses – sight, smell, and taste. Burning a cigar creates a ‘slow down’ moment in our busy lives filled with relaxation and enjoyment. A moment we make time for. There is no set of rules put forth by some governing cigar body stating how one must go about enjoying a cigar. However, there are ways to receive optimum results each time you light up, further enhancing your experience and the sensations each of our senses picks up. Let’s discuss....
The draw of a cigar is vital for maximum cigar enjoyment. If the draw is too tight, not enough smoke will reach the palate, thus hindering the level of flavor your taste buds receive. Also, the less smoke one pulls in with each puff, the less smoke one exhales, decreasing the amount of aroma noticed. There’s nothing better than sitting in a pillowy cloud of pleasant aromas while burning a fi ne stogie. There are several methods to correcting a tight draw. One can massage and pinch the clipped end of the cigar to work out some of the ‘knots’ or use a draw poker to open larger airways through the body of the barrel. Sometimes, a tight draw is the result of a cigar containing too much moisture, which causes the filler leaves to expand and restrict airflow. For this reason, we recommend storing cigars at a humidity level slightly lower than 70%. Lastly, a draw can be too loose, also resulting in less smoke hitting the palate. Nine times out of ten this is the result of a poor roll.
The draw is perfect, what now? Well, many enthusiasts utilize the ‘1-2-3’ method. This is where you puff on the cigar three times with each draw. The first two puffs are quick, but strong puffs to get the cigar going. The third puff is long and slow, filling the entire palate with smoke. Now that the smoke is in your mouth, keep it closed and roll the smoke around a bit before slowly exhaling. In doing this, you might notice the smoke clings to the different areas of your palate, leaving behind a longer and more satisfying aftertaste.
Be careful. Puffing on a cigar too furiously can cause it to burn too quickly, making it hot and harsh. Oils heat up and run through the barrel of the cigar from foot to head. It is recommended that you blow into the cigar every now and then, pushing these oils and any residue they might contain out through the foot. Doing so minimizes the chances of a cigar turning harsh later on.
Another excellent tip is using your nose. Every now and then, exhale through your nose a bit. It is a fact that most of your taste receptors are located in your sinuses. By exhaling through your nose, you can pinpoint more or different flavor and strength sensations. This is how many enthusiasts detect notes of wood, leather, earth, coffee, chocolate, etc. The mouth is mostly responsible for elements like balance and sweetness. Don’t worry, you only have to exhale about 10% of the smoke through your nose and you don’t have to do it every time. However, once you start doing this you’ll probably find that your old favorites never tasted (and smelled) so good!
The bottom line is, enjoy a cigar in whatever fashion pleases you most. The tips above are merely suggestions that might enhance your experience. Whether you use them or not, know that there is no wrong way to enjoy a cigar. Unless, of course, you’re doing so with cigars from our competition!