Q. Today I ordered the [Alec Bradley] table top lighter/burner hoping to help me with a problem: I inhale when lighting up cigars, often to the point of coughing, and uncomfortable doing so. I’m thinking of putting the foot right into a larger than usual flame for a quick light instead of pulling it from a distance, rotating etc. Good idea?
– Ethan in Massachusetts
A. Not a good idea. The key to getting a good light is to toast the foot of the cigar very slowly. The quicker you try to light it, the more chance you will scorch the cigar’s wrapper, or you may end up making more work for yourself, because most premium cigars won’t light immediately. This is due to the amount of Ligero in the cigar. The more ligero (the darkest tobacco) the longer it can take to light, because ligero is very oily and moist.
Here’s the solution, and you won’t have to inhale at all. If you’re using the Alec Bradley tabletop lighter/burner, position the cigar over a low enough flame to just toast the foot. Slowly turn the cigar, or hold it still and move the lighter in a circular pattern under the cigar’s foot until it begins to glow. Once it’s glowing well, gently blow on the foot of the cigar until it is glowing a solid red across the foot. If you need to, hit it again with the lighter and blow. This method will also help prevent tars from building up in the early stage of the smoke.