Reading Time: 3 minutes An educated consumer is our best customer.” That’s the motto for SYMS, the nationwide clothing store chain. Fortunately, the internet allows consumers to price check at warp speed, making that motto even more relevant for just about everything we buy, and that includes premium cigars.
Reading Time: < 1 minute Year after year, I swear I’m going to rein it in a bit during Thanksgiving dinner. And year after year, I fail to do so. The simple fact is, if I even sample a tiny amount of everything on the table, I’m going to be stuffed like the very bird that adorns it.
Reading Time: 2 minutes
If you enjoy cigars, odds are you have a friend or group of friends you enjoy smoking with. One thing I’ve come to love about the cigar-smoking community is their eagerness to share, and resistance to pettiness.
However, once in a while, you’ll find yourself on the short end of the stick, so to speak. You’ve just given your buddy a Camacho 10th Anniversary 11/18, and he returns the favor with a Famous Buenos Madurito Petite Corona. A decent smoke, for sure, but by no means a fair trade.
In my mind, there are several things to consider when sharing cigars. When done in good-faith, it offers the double-benefit of expanding your cigar horizons while reaffirming camaraderie.
- If participating in an online trade, make sure you’re dealing with someone you can trust. Many forums have systems in place that indicate members’ trustworthiness.
- Don’t confuse a “gift” with a “trade.” If you gift a cigar, don’t expect anything in return. If you’re looking to trade in-kind, make it clear. If it’s more of an open-ended trade, don’t expect a cigar immediately. As the saying goes, “the best things come to those who wait.”
- Don’t let MSRP be your sole guide when offering a trade. Instead, take a moment to consider availability, price paid, and whether the recipient will actually enjoy the cigar. Macanudo Vintage 2000 I might be a $17 stick, but it’s hardly a fair trade for a Padrón Serie 1926 80th Anniversary, especially if the other party prefers a full-bodied smoke.
- If offered an open-ended trade or gifted a cigar, accept it and thank your benefactor. The time will come when you smoke a cigar he or she would really enjoy, and when it does, return the favor graciously.
Trading cigars shouldn’t be about “getting ahead” or “tit for tat,” but rather about sharing some great sticks and trying stuff you don’t normally smoke. Use this as your ultimate guideline, and remember: always let your cigar-conscience be your guide.
Reading Time: < 1 minute If I had a nickel for every time somebody asked me (or freely shared his opinion) about Cuban cigars, I’d probably retire to a private island. Seriously.
Reading Time: 2 minutes
One of the side effects of cigar smoking is a tendency cigars have for turning stronger and bitter in the last couple of inches. If this is something you can relate to, there’s actually something you can do about it.
Construction, burn and draw issues aside, all cigars, regardless of their strength, build up in tars, nicotine and moisture as they smoke. In many cases, at least with some of the more complex blends, the flavors will improve and taste great right down to the knuckle, while in others, the cigar will begin to “turn,” leaving a sour taste on the palate, at which point you’re probably better off letting the cigar go. If you paid around $5 or more for the cigar, you might be hesitant to trash it, and there are some cigar smokers who will puff-on as long as possible, even if the cigar tastes crappy, if only to get their money’s worth out of it. I have three words for that: not worth it.
There are a few things you can do to help alleviate this problem and get the most bang (you’ll excuse the expression) for your buck.
The first thing you need to do is take notice of how you smoke your cigar. If you tend to hit on it a lot, the faster those tars will build up. If you draw strongly on your cigar, that may have a negative effect on its taste in the middle and latter stages. Cigars were made for relaxation, so do it! Take your time when you smoke a cigar, and let it smoke itself for a minute or so between puffs. This will allow the flavors to caramelize more slowly, and therefore, offer a much more flavorful smoke that will hold-up longer, as well.
The other thing you can do is when you clip your cigar, try to expose as much cap as possible. The more narrow or smaller the cut, the more likely the concentration of flavors will increase, hence more tars and nicotine, too. If you normally use a piercer, punch cutter or a V-cutter for clipping your cigars, they will tend to be stronger and hotter as you smoke. That’s because the small cut size restricts the amount of smoke coming through the head.
One the other hand, cigars with tapered heads such as Torpedoes, Pyramids and Belicosos are purposely designed to do this. However, they also tend to be wider in ring gauge, so you have a lot more tobacco to filter the smoke.
Using a single or double-blade guillotine cutter or cigar scissors naturally exposes more cap, thereby allowing more smoke to get through and helps decrease the buildup of bitter tars, excess moisture and nicotine.
As noted above, the ring gauge, and even the length of a cigar can determine how much tar and nicotine will build-up. If you smoke Coronas, try smoking a Robusto or a Toro. If you smoke Lanceros, try a Lonsdale. Most cigar smokers tend to settle into a particular shape after a while, so if you’re not willing to change your shape, try doing some of the other things mentioned above and you’ll significantly extend the enjoyment of your cigars.
Reading Time: 3 minutes So there you are enjoying your cigar, and you realize it’s not burning properly. The cigar appears to be burning only on one side. This is called “canoeing” for the dugout canoe-like appearance your cigar has taken on.
Reading Time: 4 minutes You’ve been smoking cigars on a regular basis for a while now and it’s become a passion. Time to buy a humidor for your cigars.