Lighting cigars with matches

It all started when I ran out of fuel a couple of months ago and had to use some Davidoff cedar matches I keep in my desk drawer for just such emergencies. (See photo.) I also keep some spills around for when the spirit moves me. (See them at left in the photo.) The “soft flame” produced by matches and/or spills, traditional lighters, etc. offers the white part of the flame, which is also the hottest. Holding the foot of the cigar at just the right height and angle will give you a decent toast, but those new to smoking cigars, and even some of the more experienced cigar enthusiasts, may find themselves scorching the wrapper and messing the whole thing up.

Since smoking cigars is supposed to be a relaxing experience, there’s no need to rush lighting-up. Using a match or soft flame takes more patience, but if done correctly, your cigars may smoke and even taste better. The most difficult part of the task is getting the cigar toasted. That’s where I cheat a bit, but it’s worth it, so here’s what I do now:

I toast the cigar with my torch lighter, holding the tip of the flame far enough away to prevent scorching the foot, yet close enough to sear it. Then I use a cedar match (long ones are preferred) or a spill to finish the job, again trying not to char the wrapper leaf. It takes some practice, but if you hold the cigar at just the right angle and slowly bring the flame toward the foot of the cigar, you’ll hit a “sweet spot” and the flame will jump up to the foot. Rotate the cigar a few times, and voila!, a perfect light.

Am I going to give up my torch lighters? No way. After all, how am I going to light my cigars on the beach? Suffice it to say, although it takes a little more time, nothing beats the soft flame for getting the right amount of heat to light your cigars on that first go-round.


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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