Cigars 101

Lighter Fluid Worries

Q. Good morning Gary,
First, I want to tell you what a great site you have, and how much it makes cigar smoking so enjoyable by providing really good cigars, great and accurate descriptions (making choices easy to make) and fair prices and shipping.
My favorites to date are Oliva Serie O and Nicaraguan Selection 3000. I just won some Tabamex Maduro on Cigar Auctioneer and I am amazed at their quality.
Now, the question: For Christmas my wife bought me a top of the line Zippo lighter (the kind with the fluid). I’ve read that this type of lighter taints the flavor of cigars (all I use up to now are wooden matches). I asked her to return it and I tried to explain what I had read. It really is a beautiful lighter. Is there any way of using this lighter? And does it really taint the cigar’s flavor?
Thank you and have a very blessed new year,
Bob Treharne

A. Hi Bob,
Thanks for the kudos. True, there is an “oily” emission from the flame that may affect the flavor of the cigar, but I often wonder how much this really impacts the taste over the entire course of the smoke. (I think the more “anal” type cigar smokers subscribe to this logic.) You might as well try it once and taste for yourself.

However, DON’T give up on the lighter. Because if you’d rather avoid using lighter fluid – assuming it’s a regular shaped Zippo, not a slim version – for around $12 you can buy a Thunderbird insert.

Just remove the original Zippo insert and replace it with the Thunderbird. I have two of them and they work really well.

Finally, I kind of like lighting the cigar with long cedar matches. It’s a bit old-fashioned, but if you position the flame just right you can get a really good light.