Inverse cigar lighting theory (or, putting a foot in your mouth)

Q. I am told that if you toast a cigar properly,then invert the lit end and place it carefully in your mouth and exhale, the cigar will always burn more cool and be much more tasty. (I actually saw this strange practice at Jimenez on the Rambles in Barcelona.) Is there any truth to this?
Jonathan P.

A. If you’re saying, take the lit end (the foot), put in your mouth and blow through it towards the head, if I didn’t know better I’d say this was a joke someone was playing on you. Even if it’s considered a “legitimate” cigar lighting technique among some cigar smokers in Spain, I wouldn’t try it. More importantly, it’s not necessary.

The tried-and-true technique is to toast the cigar as gently and evenly as possible until the end begins to glow. Don’t scorch it! Gently blow on foot of the cigar and turn it to get it glowing evenly across. I usually work from the outside-in when I toast the cigar, because I want to keep the flavorful ligero tobacco in the middle burning slow to form a nice conical ash. Once the foot is glowing you can blow gently through it from the head which will expel some tars, then begin puffing from there. (This blowing through the head technique is common especially when relighting a cigar.)

Basically, it’s like good barbeque, slow cooking produces more flavor.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor at

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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