Cigars 101

Resting Your Cigar Between Puffs

Why resting your cigar between puffs will help your cigars last longer and taste better.

It’s one of those things you don’t pick-up right away; generally speaking, it takes a little experience to discover that cigars not only last longer but taste better if you let them spend a little more time in the ashtray saddle, and a little less time in your mouth.

Over the years, I’ve received a number of emails from readers asking me why their cigars were turning bitter, especially early on in the smoke. In some cases, they were active or former cigarette smokers who were used to constantly puffing. Just the other day, I was with a woman—a cigarette smoker—who told me she tried a cigar some years ago and got an instant tummy ache because she inhaled it out of habit. Even those who’d never touched a cigarette were either puffing too hard or too often on their cigars, or holding them too long in their mouths. (I tend to do the latter sometimes when I’m writing.) It may not feel like you’re puffing, but just breathing with a cigar between your teeth can cause it to burn hotter and turn prematurely bitter.

You can teach someone “the proper way” to smoke a premium cigar, but unless it’s someone close to you, like a relative, a spouse, or a friend, the odds are you won’t. So, if you follow this simple rule—letting the cigar rest, either between your fingers or on the saddle of the ashtray,—you’ll find that the cigar will be more consistent as it smokes down. The usual wait time is about one to two minutes, depending on the ring size and length of the cigar.

Larger cigars have more tobacco, which can make them very juicy as you smoke, especially if you draw too hard or too often. By giving them some rest time between puffs, the flavors will caramelize better; it’s when the cigar gets past the halfway mark that you want to extend that waiting time. The same goes for shorter cigars like Robustos (5″ x 50), Coronas (5½” x 42), Rothschilds (4¾” x 49), and Petite Coronas (5″ x 38). Since you have less length to work with from the start, you want to make sure the cigar has cooled down enough so that each puff is smooth and doesn’t bite your tongue. Plus, the further you “nub” your cigar, the longer you want to let it rest. The key is not to let it rest so long that it goes out on you, since relights can make your cigar turn bitter, too.

Finally, you don’t have to sit there holding a stopwatch over your cigar. In time, you’ll know how long to let your cigars rest regardless of their size, shape, or length. I’ve dished-out a lot of cigar advice over the years, but if you want to enjoy more of your cigar, keep this tip handy.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com 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.

Show all Gary Korb's Articles
nowsmoking todos las dias toro cigar review Cigar Advisor Cover

#nowsmoking: Todos Las Dias Toro

#nowsmoking the Todos Las Dias from Steve Saka: “solidly-built”…”uber-creamy”…”the dark Criollo wrapper is flawless.” Click now to get the tasting notes, and everything else you need to know about the TDL in under 60 seconds…

Read More
cacover fan mail cigar questions pt 25

Fan Mail: Your Burning Cigar Questions, Answered (Part 25)

Fan Mail returns: so many questions have come in since our last presentation it was hard to choose, but some of topics we’re talking about today include tips for cutting extra-wide ring gauge cigars, a trick to unplug a torch lighter, plus questions about Maduro and cigar flavor profiles…watch our videos now!

Read More
Ashton cigars guide ashton cigar reviews CACover

2018 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to Ashton Cigars

Ashton Cigars are often considered the epitome of "refinement"; and to introduce you to this legendary premium cigar brand, the Cigar Advisors have smoked & reviewed all 7 Ashton selections - and they're ready to report their findings. See the results, get the notes and learn more in our Ashton Cigars Buying Guide now!
Read More
Jesus Fuego J Fuego cigars

Master Blenders: Jesus Fuego of J. Fuego Cigars

Big flavor and big ratings are the calling cards of Jesus Fuego, Learn how this Master Blender does it, straight from the great himself in this interview.
Read More