Ooh-ooh that smell! Cigar smoke odor. It gets on your clothes, it stinks up your car, your man cave, office, wherever you prefer to partake indoors. So how do you deal with it? There are number of options available to you, so let’s get started…
Since I’m fortunate enough to smoke cigars at my job, my clothes can get pretty stinky. The smoke even fogs-up my reading glasses. I have a whole de-stinking ritual I go through when I get home after work. Now, if your clothes absolutely REAK from cigar smoke, toss ‘em in the hamper.
As long as your clothes aren’t dirty enough to chuck in the laundry basket, the best solution I’ve found are fabric deodorizer sprays like Febreze® and similar products. Simply follow the directions on the bottle and that’s pretty much it. I usually hang the spray-treated clothes away from my other clothes, too. I’ve also discovered something else about these products: it usually takes about three days for the chemicals to completely remove the smoke odor, or at least enough so you can wear your clothes at least one more time without smelling like an ashtray.
If the smoke odor isn’t too bad, you can hang your clothes outside and let the fresh air naturally remove the odor. One other solution is to place the clothes in the dryer with a scented dryer sheet and run the dryer on extra low or air fluff settings for about 15 minutes.
Remember that silk does not absorb smoke, so you won’t have to worry much about your tie, and if you do smoke in the house pretty regularly, you may want to consider getting yourself a smoking jacket.
If you are fortunate to have a place to smoke in your house, there are several items you should have. For one, a good smoke filter. There are a number of good units on the market that work very well. If you can’t afford it, or are unable to install a ventilation system in your smoking room, one of the original and best air cleaners is the Csonka Super Smoker Cloaker. Using ozonation (ozone), it will handle smoke odors in a 1,000 sq. ft area and there are no filters to replace. One of the more high-tech solutions is the Rabbit Air Minus A2 purifier. It looks like a flat screen TV and can be placed on a stand or hung on the wall; it even remote control. Using a 6-stage HEPA filter system, it’s ultra-quite, purifies up to 815 sq. ft. of space, and eliminates odors from more than just cigars, too. Rabbit also makes several models with artwork on the screen which adds a little extra décor to your smoking room. If you have a window in your smoking room, you can buy a 2-way window fan that will act as a vent. It works pretty well in smaller rooms, but at high speed it can be pretty noisy.
After you’re done enjoying your smoke, for added odor coverage, keep a can of a high quality air freshener around like Re-Fresh and spray it just before you leave the room. You should also leave the air purifier on for several hours afterwards, too. A lot of cigar smokers don’t smoke in their vehicles because they don’t want to get their car all smelly. You’re also in a very tightly enclosed space. Sure, you can open the windows and that’s probably the best solution, but what if you live in northern Maine or Minnesota. It gets pretty cold out there. Plus, there’s also the risk of dropping ashes on your clothes or your seat.
If you’re the type of cigar smoker who just can’t go anywhere without a lit stogie firmly placed in your jaw, there are a couple of other solutions. Open windows are the way to go, and if you have a moon roof or drive a convertible, even better. Csonka makes an air purifier called the Auto Smoker Cloaker. It’s very handy when you can’t open the windows due to cold or foul weather. For more compact cars they also make a smallerCar Fresh Air Purifier.
I happen to like smoking the occasional cigar while driving. One thing I’ve learned is that if you use the air conditioner to filter the smoke, every time you turn it on, you will smell stale smoke for the first few seconds – and it only takes ONE cigar or cigarette to do it, too. Though most new cars come with HEPA filters, they’re really not made to handle heavy amounts of smoke.
One way to keep your car smelling fresh while you’re driving is to buy a vent deodorizer. (Forget about those tacky tree-shaped deodorizers they sell at the car wash or the dollar store.) The vent sticks don’t seem to do a very good job either, so I recommend the type that have a liquid deodorizer in them; some even come with little built-in fans. Here again, it’s best not to use the air conditioner. Instead, use the vent button which allows outside air into the car as you drive. You can even boost the fan control a little, and whenever you can, keep a window or two open, at least partially.
Also keep a can of air freshener in your car like Re-Fresh (mentioned above) or Ozium®. They’re not the only products out there either, so browse around. Just make sure it really works well on smoke. Once you’ve parked your car and closed the windows, step out of your car and mist the interior before you close and lock your car. This will give you a little added odor elimination insurance. Plus, your car will smell nice when you return.
Finally, I take no credit as the ultimate authority on this or any other cigar-related topics. So, if you have any cigar smoke odor solutions that work for you, please let other readers know about them by leaving a comment.Febreze® is a registered trademark of Proctor & Gamble, Inc. Ozium® is a registered trademark of MEDO Industries, Inc.
It’s ironic. Every day some anti-smoking group wants to take the cigars out of our mouths by advocating another smoking ban, while at the same time minions of new cigar smokers are getting ready to enjoy their first cigar. If you’re among the latter group you may be asking yourself, “What cigar should I smoke first?”
Fair question. With thousands of premium cigars to choose from, it can be a little intimidating. Just walk into a store with a big walk-in humidor and you’ll know what I mean. If you ask most experienced cigar smokers, or the manager at your local cigar store, they’ll usually suggest something mild like a Macanudo Cafe, a Don Diego, or a Baccarat; all good choices, too. So why start with a mild cigar as opposed to a Camacho Triple Maduro or a Padrón Serie 1926? Look at it this way; if you were learning how to cook, you might want to start by making something simple like an omelet rather than Veal Cordon Bleu. Like any pastime you pursue, you have to start at the beginning, and with practice, climb the rope ladder of experience. The same goes for learning how to smoke premium handmade cigars.
Mild cigars are generally best for newbies because one of the most important aspects of smoking cigars is developing an appreciation for the flavor properties in different tobaccos. A mild cigar won’t overpower you. I can cite a number of instances where first time cigar smokers lost their lunch. Which reminds me; DO NOT INHALE regardless of how mild the smoke tastes. (If you’re a former cigarette smoker, this may take some getting used to.)
Mild doesn’t mean bland
Over the years, cigar smokers tend to drift towards more full-bodied cigars. The reason is, as you develop a taste for premium cigar tobacco you eventually tend to desire more flavor, and the most flavorful (in terms of strength that is) are the full-bodied, or what I call full-flavored cigars. Strength is only one component of the cigar, and in this writer’s humble opinion, flavor trumps strength.
On the other hand, “mild” doesn’t mean bland. Some veteran cigar smokers tend to believe this (often for the reason I just pointed out). However, there are plenty of cigars classified as mild that are light years from bland. Recently, some of the top cigar makers have begun introducing cigars with milder wrappers like U.S. and Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut. Connecticut is one of the most widely used mild wrappers and is also sought for its sweet aroma. Ecuadorian Connecticut is also mild, but with a little more flavor and a shade or two darker in color. So, when searching for that first cigar, browse the cigars with Connecticut wrappers first. Other mild wrappers recommended for new smokers are Sumatra (or Indonesian) and African Cameroon. Keep in mind that many full-bodied cigars are also rolled with these leaves, so be sure the cigar you choose is listed as “mild” in the retailer’s store, catalog, or on their website. I would even add “medium-bodied” cigars to the mix. So also keep in mind that there are plenty of excellent, medium-bodied “first-smoke” candidates available to new cigar smokers.
Suggestions from a “professional cigar smoker”
Since it would take up too much space, I can’t list every good mild and medium-bodied cigar available. So, without turning this post into a commercial, here’s a line-up of cigars that I’ve recommended to new cigar smokers over the years with a good share of success.
- Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Flor Fina (Cameroon natural)
- Carlos Toraño 1916 Cameroon
- Flor de Oliva (Sumatra natural)
- Gispert (natural)
- Gran Habano #1 Connecticut
- Macanudo Gold Label
- Occidental Connecticut Reserve
- Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne
- Rocky Patel American Market Selection
Seek and ye shall find
You can start with one of the above, or maybe you’ll find something else. If you like your first cigar, you may want to return to it or, more than likely, you’ll want to try something else. For this reason, I would also recommend starting with a sampler that has a mix of mild and medium cigars. Samplers are a great way to discover your first cigar, for one, because of the variety of cigars in the pack, and secondly because you have a better chance at finding the right cigar for you until you’re ready to move on; maybe even more than one in the pack will satisfy you enough to buy a box. Moreover, part of the fun of discovering the wonderful world of premium cigars is trying new and different blends.
A trendy business
As a new cigar smoker you should note that the cigar business is also a trendy one. Recently, plump, extra-wide-body cigars have become all the rage, while about five years ago Lanceros (long, skinny cigars) were in vogue, and for the better part of the last 14 years, manufacturers have been making stronger and more complex cigars. Lately, as I’ve spoken to cigar smokers who have been partaking for decades, I find that many of them have tired of the heavy stuff and are returning to milder cigars. Even the great Don Pepin has just released Don Pepin Connecticut selection, a mild Nicaraguan cigar with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. I don’t think those cigar smokers are going to give up their Liga Privada No.9‘s, Alec Bradley Prensados, Ashton ESG‘s, or Oliva Serie V’s anytime soon, but you can be pretty sure the majority of them started out just like you!
Some things are so intuitively easy you hardly have to think about them. Starting a car, making coffee with a K-cup, buttoning a shirt. You’d think that refilling a cigar lighter would be just as simple, right? Yes, but there’s a little more to it than you think, and by following the instruction guide below, you’ll not only learn how to fill your cigar torch lighter correctly, you’ll add many more months, even years, to its lifespan.
First things first: Fuel
Torch or jet flame lighters are the most commonly used lighters among cigar smokers. They run on butane, a liquid gas that’s easy to find and relatively inexpensive. But when filling or re-filling your lighter you don’t want to use just any butane. You want the most refined butane, not the stuff they sell behind the counter at the corner convenience store. The reason for this is, the more refined the fuel, the less impurities in the gas. For example, Vector butane is refined five times, while Xikar’s Purofine™ butane is so highly refined that the level of impurities is less than 15 parts-per-million, making them both excellent for use in all jet flame lighters. The cleaner the fuel, the more efficiently your lighter will work, which means the chances of clogging are also greatly reduced. Never use any fuel that is not at least triple refined.
TIP: Before filling your lighter DO NOT SHAKE THE CAN of fuel. This will cause the gas propellant to seep into the fuel tank during filling.
Filling your cigar lighter
The first thing you want to do, even for a new lighter, is release all of the fuel tank’s pressure by depressing on the inlet valve located on the bottom of the lighter. To do this you can use a small screwdriver, a ball point pen, or a cigar accessory that comes with a “bleeder.” Some lighters even include a bleeder in the box. Depress the valve holding the lighter in its upright position, as you do when you light your cigar. Repeat until you no longer hear any hissing coming from the valve. You can also release the air pressure by pressing the ignition and holding the trigger down until any hissing ceases.
Next, turn the flame adjustment to the lighter’s lowest (-) setting. This keeps the opening tight for a more efficient filling, and helps limit the amount of air that could get in by keeping the adjustment dial open to full bore. Turn the lighter upside down and insert the tip of the butane valve over the fuel valve. Now, press down firmly and hold it for about five seconds. If your lighter has a fuel tank window and it looks like it hasn’t filled completely, you can repeat this procedure, but keep in mind that it will only fill-up so much. It’s almost impossible to “top-off” a butane lighter.
After filling you’ll notice that the can and the lighter will be very cold. Wait three to five minutes before igniting the lighter. This permits any excess butane to evaporate, and will bring the liquid gas up to room temperature.
Finally, set the flame adjustment dial or wheel to the height you prefer. Do not open the valve all the way. This will not only cause the flame to shoot out like the exhaust pipes on a dragster. It can also cause the flame to cut out, and more importantly, you’re wasting fuel. Start by adjusting the dial to its midway point. This should give you a good strong flame and then you can adjust it up or down from there.
TIP: An optional trick that will help you fill your lighter more efficiently is to place your lighter in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes. This lowers the air pressure in the lighter. By doing this, when the sub-zero gas hits the freezing cold lighter the fuel will enter faster and more completely. If your lighter has a fuel window, you’ll notice the increase in speed that it fills-up.
Filling a lighter at high altitude
If you happen to live in a high-altitude part of the country like Denver, CO, it is critical that you use fuel that is at least quadruple-refined and higher. Also, make sure that you keep your lighter’s fuel tank as full as possible at all times.
As before, you want to allow the fuel temperature to reach room temperature. One way to do this is by simply holding the lighter in your hand for a minute or two. You can also put the lighter in your pants or a shirt pocket.
Next, adjust the flame dial or wheel to the (-) setting. This will allow more oxygen to enter the combustion chamber and will improve your lighter’s ignition and flame height, by compensating for the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes. At lower altitudes, turning the adjustment wheel towards the (+) setting will increase the fuel flow.
When igniting, depress the trigger slowly until you hear the gas hissing out, then finish depressing the trigger to ignite the flame. Do not do this repeatedly to ignite the flame faster. A slow, deliberate, motion will decrease ignition failure.
In-between cigars, when you’re not using your lighter, keep the adjustment setting at the midpoint as mentioned above. The next time you light your cigar adjust it by turning the dial higher or lower as needed.
Storing your lighter after use
If you plan on storing your lighter for a long time period, wait until you’ve used up as much fuel as possible, then empty all of the remaining fuel. If you did not completely empty the lighter before storing and the lighter has not been used for a long period of time, when depressing the ignition trigger it may appear to be no longer working. If so, simply empty all of the fuel from the lighter as described in the first paragraph under “Filling your cigar lighter” above, then refuel and adjust the flame level as noted. This should help fix the problem.
One of the email questions I receive on a pretty regular basis is, “After delivery, how long should I keep my cigars in the humidor before smoking them?” For all intents and purposes, the cigars should be “smoke ready” right out of the box. Just about all of the leading manufacturers age their cigars for a minimum of 6-months in Spanish cedar-lined rooms before shipping. Depending on the cigars, it could be as long as three to five years, and in some cases, even longer; then you have the tobaccos, themselves, which may have been aged for any number of years. It’s safe to presume that a sizable segment of cigar smokers smoke that first cigar out of the box within the first few minutes the package arrives, or at least within the first 24 hrs. Why not, right? OK, but based on my experience and what I’ve learned from other cigar smokers, letting your cigars rest for even a few days after placing them in your humidor results in a better smoke. This is generally referred to as “settling.” There are any number of things, that can “upset” your cigars while in transit. By letting them settle in your humidor the tobaccos should return to their pre-shipping state. As for cigars bought in a retail store, each store’s humidor set-up is different, and some are better or worse than others. Therefore, even in the case of a same-day sale, it doesn’t hurt to let your new cigars buddy-up with your other smokes for a day or two. The choice is yours.
So what if you were to let your cigars rest even longer? Say a month, six months, a year, two, even several years. Of course, it depends on the cigar and how much patience you can muster. There’s no specific time period, which is why this topic can make for a sticky debate among cigar smokers. Let me give you a recent example which demonstrates that even a home aging your cigars period as short as a week can make a difference. I recently bought a box of cigars from a very reputable manufacturer. Though I had smoked this brand in the past, I hadn’t smoked this particular line extension which used a different wrapper. I based my purchase on the quality of the brand, the blend, my past experience with the company’s cigars, and the price. I placed half of them in my office humidor and took the remaining cigars home. As tempted as I was to light one up, I waited until the next day. Not only did the cigar not live up to my expectations, I was constantly relighting it. They were probably still too moist. Two days later, I smoked another. Not much difference, but they were tasty. One week later – actually, as I was writing this very article I had one going – the flavor had improved significantly. So, I decided to wait another week before I had the next one. I concluded that after a month they’d be even better, and by the time I get to the last few, they’ll be wonderful.
Home aging your cigars tip: Always have a good supply of cigars to smoke on hand while your new arrivals are aging.
So what about long-term aging, like two years and beyond? An email I received within the last few weeks begged the question. Three years ago the customer purchased a 5-pack of a certain high-profile cigar.
“The one I had then was only so-so,” wrote the customer. “However, after 3 years, the remaining ones were amazing. I guess the whole ‘aging improves cigars’ thing really is true! What do you think the ideal time is for aging? 3 years on those [cigars] was great. [Is] 4 better? 5? More? I’ve heard that cigars can keep improving for decades…is that true?” My answer was basically this: I have some top-flight cigars that have been in my humidor for almost 10 years. Mainly because, like a lot of smokers, I was “waiting for the right time” to smoke them. I should know better. Some of those extra-long-aged cigars have held up, but some haven’t. That said, three years could have been right for those cigars. By the customer’s logic it made sense that the longer he aged those cigars, the better they’d get. Then again, they may have tasted just as good after one or two years. The thing is, like some wines, if you age a cigar too long it will lose its bouquet; that is unless it is under very special conditions that can slow the aging process down long enough to keep them fresh for a decade or more. There’s no reason to age most premium cigars more than two to three years. Even some cigars that are blended using a lot of oily ligero long-filler will mellow-out nicely after just one year.
Some cigar makers like Jorge Padrón and Pete Johnson will tell you there’s no need to age their cigars any longer. Light ‘em up and enjoy them for Pete’s sake (no pun intended). Without a doubt, some cigars require extra aging, and almost all do taste better with more time on them, say six months to a year. Again, it depends on the cigar. Secondly, if you prefer smoking the finer cigars on the market, why wait so long when it’s not all that necessary?
At the risk of sounding like your grandmother, you could be hit by a bus tomorrow…then what? You get the idea. In other words, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and enjoy ‘em, but age them on a per-cigar basis. You’ll eventually know which cigars improve best or least by experimenting with different time periods. Two to three years max? Perhaps. But four to five years or more? I think that’s pushing it.
Even with all the wild, wacky and dumbass hijinks you see daily on the internet, there’s one place where etiquette is still the norm – the cigar lounge. Not surprisingly, Zino Davidoff is credited for what we call “cigar etiquette” today. He even wrote a book about it, and I can’t think of a better person to write such a book than Mr. Davidoff. Zino was the quintessential “gentleman,” from his grooming, to his clothes, right down to the way he smoked his cigars. I’m talking “Old World” manners; when men opened doors for women, and removed their hat when entering a room. Though some of those customs have survived, today anything goes. But step into a traditional cigar lounge and you’ll think you stepped into the Bizarro world. I’m not saying that cigar lounges are for the stiff upper lip type; quite the contrary. That said, there are some guidelines that will help you become a better cigar smoker. Even some of Mr. Davidoff’s rules are a little too Victorian by today’s standards. For example: holding the cigar between your index finger and thumb, rather than your index and middle fingers. Zino felt the former method was more “elegant.” He may have had a point, but the way you hold your cigar is pretty much considered your own business. Another is removing the band so as not to “advertise” how costly (or cheap, for that matter) your cigar is. Though many cigar smokers still apply this rule, it appears to have faded over time, since a lot of other smokers want to know what you’re smoking. It’s also a great conversation starter. More often than not today, the band comes off when the ash gets too close. Continue reading
It would be easier to weigh than count the number of emails I’ve received over the years with questions about cigar humidors, especially on how to season one. I’ve written about how to season a humidor on more than one occasion; I’ve even done a video on how to season a humidor which you’ll see at the end of this article. But before you watch the video, read what to do first, since there are some things covered in this article that may not be in the video, and vice versa; then it will all come together nicely.
So, you’ve just purchased a new humidor because your cigars are starting to pile up and you want to keep them fresh for as long as necessary. Here’s what to do: Continue reading
You hope it never happens, but one day when you least expect it…BAM!, your cigar begins to unravel on you. Your heartbeat increases; your mind becomes cluttered with frustration. “How am I going to smoke this cigar now?” you ask yourself. The last thing you want to do is trash it, especially if it’s a favorite, a pricey primo, or both.
The unraveling wrapper is one of those snafus that’s hard to fix unless you just happen to have some roller’s glue, and most cigar smokers don’t own a bottle of roller’s glue. The good news is, depending on how and where the cigar is unraveling there are several ways you can repair it, and you don’t have to be a torcedor either. Just keep in mind that whichever method you use, be it the remedies listed here, or your own invention, wrapper leaf can be very delicate, so caution and patience are the keys to getting the job done right. Finally, NEVER use spit; it just doesn’t work. Continue reading
New Cigars in the News
H. Upmann Legacy “Special Edition Wood Mold Gift Set”
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Cigar enthusiasts can now experience the remarkable heritage of one of the most trusted premium cigar brands with the limited edition H. Upmann Legacy Special Edition Wood Mold gift set, coming soon to Famous Smoke Shop. Each 10-pack of H. Upmann Legacy Toro premium cigars comes set in a rustic wooden cigar mold featuring the H. Upmann logo engraved on the front with a retail price of $75.00.
Traditionally, cigar rollers used these wooden molds after the tobaccos were bunched together and wrapped in their binder leaves to compress the cigar to its shape and form.
“Owning an H. Upmann Legacy Wood Mold is to own an important part of history.” said Janelle Rosenfeld, VP of Marketing, Altadis U.S.A. ” This traditional wooden mold gift set will surely impress and delight long after the cigars have been enjoyed,” she added. Continue reading
If “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” could the same be said for cigar lighters? Maybe, but like cigars, the tools for igniting them are almost as multitudinous as bird species. For the purposes of this post we’re going to focus on the most popular jet lighters used for lighting cigars, as well as how and when to use them. From single jet designs like the XiKAR EX Windproof lighter, to lighters with special tools, like the Vertigo Golf lighter with its built-in divot tool, to the Vertigo Intimidator with its four jets and futuristic design, there’s a torch lighter for every cigar lover. Continue reading
We all do it. When buying cigars, we leaf through the catalog or dissect the website looking for a deal. Open emails that scream about savings of 50, 60, 70% or more on great cigars, then pore over the coupons to find out which deal saves the most cash while bringing home the most cigars. Inside all of us is a hardcore cigar value hunter – which, I assume, is why you’re here as well. But even the most budget-conscious among us is willing to drop a little extra coin now and again for a “good” cigar. But are we really just burning up money that could be better – or more smartly – spent?
In a word, “yes.” Continue reading