A Cigar Maker's Cigar Tips: Substance and Style
Cigar Smoking Pro Tips from Ernesto Padilla
I've visited many smoke shops throughout the country and let me tell you, you see and hear some pretty funny things on the road. Sometimes it's little habits that guys have picked up throughout the years; maybe they mimic something they saw in a movie, or learned from a cigar-smoking friend. Other times it's a well-meaning misconception about cigars or cigar tobacco that took root and spread.
A lot of it is excusable, especially among people who don't smoke cigars that often. But some of it is folks (I'm looking at you, men) being afraid or reluctant to ask when they don't know something.
As cigar smokers, I think it's incumbent on us to help educate our Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf. When we meet a new cigar smoker, let's take the time to introduce ourselves and talk cigars. We should ask questions, and help clear up any misconceptions.
Spread knowledge, and spread the love...know what I mean? Here are some cigar smoking pro tips you can give to newbies.
- Thinner doesn't mean less-strong.
- Experiment with smaller ring gauges. You'll thank me.
- Don't inhale, and learn to retrohale.
- I've seen more than one guy light a cigar with the cedar sleeve still on and/or remove the outer wrapper tobacco. Don't be that guy.
- If the bevel on the foot is bulging or bubbling as the cigar burns, it's a sign of under-fermentation
- A properly-made cigar should have a flat or cone-like ash.
- If your cigar is plugged, you're pretty much f*cked.
- There's a "sick period" 7 to 30 days after rolling, so if you get a fresh-rolled, smoke it then and there, or plan to rest it for at least a month.
- When relighting, purge the cigar by blowing through it, and brush away all the ash (or cut behind the burn line, if possible).
- Don't smoke too fast. This will carbonize the sugars instead of caramelizing them (think burnt onions vs. caramelized onions).
- Don't brush your teeth right before smoking a cigar.
- Cigar tobacco is very absorbent of odors, so don't put your cigar in your pocket after you spray yourself w/ cologne.
- Likewise, don't store flavored cigars with non-flavored cigars. Ever.
- Never leave a half-smoked cigar butt with unburned cigars.
- Like a variety? Get at least two humidors, or two zones in the same humidor. Stronger cigars need less humidity than milder cigars.
- Be careful with condensation, which often happens to cigars left in a car overnight. That moisture will quickly become musty-smelling.
- Under-fermented tobacco won't benefit from "more time in the humidor." As a consumer, you can't recreate the heat and pressure necessary for fermentation.
- A cigar should be ready to smoke when you buy it. Don't waste your time aging most cigars, and then, only stronger ones, for no longer than 2-3 years.
- Thin wrappers like Connecticut shade or Cameroon will crack in dry climates. Avoid smoking them outside in the desert heat, or winter in the northeast.
- Darker doesn't mean stronger. Darker tobacco has more starches, but basically it will be sweeter. Strength comes mostly from the ligero in the filler blend.
Ernesto Padilla was born in Havana, Cuba to a family of tobacco growers rooted in Pinar del Rio. His father, Heberto Padilla, was one of Cubas foremost poets and an outspoken critic of Fidel Castro - which led to his arrest and eventual exile to the United States with his family. Today, Ernesto has a hands-on passion for his work and is involved in all aspects of the cigar business, from designing the bands to selecting the blends.Show all Ernesto Padilla's Articles