How’s this? You’re hanging out with your compañeros, enjoying some cigars, drinks, snacks, etc., and you reach one of those moments when everyone goes silent. Here are my picks for the top 10 cigar smoking tricks you can do with your cigars to liven up the mood.
- Longest Ash: Try to make your ash burn as long as possible. This takes a perfect light, patience, and a cigar that burns with a very firm ash. (A 90 Miles 1980 is a good choice.) There’s also an urban legend about the defense attorney who won his case by placing a thin wire inside his cigar to keep the ash intact. While the DA was making his closing arguments, the jury was so mesmerized by the defense attorney’s super long ash, they barely paid attention to the DA’s case.
- Standing your cigar on its ash: Some ashes are so firm you can actually stand the cigar on its ash. This takes a little practice, and as noted above, you need a cigar that burns with a very firm ash. Once you feel the ash is strong enough, try standing the cigar up. If the ash is firm, and flat enough on the bottom, the cigar should stand on its own. Take a picture, quick!
- Blowing smoke rings: Smoke rings are always fun and never fail at getting attention. The technique is hard to describe, but basically works like this: Fill your mouth with smoke; make as perfect a circle as you can with your lips and use your tongue to “push” the smoke out. Practice makes perfect!
- Making an “X” cut with a V-cutter: First, you need a V-cutter for this. I recommend the Xikar V-cutter, since it makes a razor-sharp cut. Make the first cut as dead center as possible. Turn the cigar 90º and slice again.
- Making a “figure 8” with a punch cutter: This is a neat one. Using a punch cutter, rather than cutting a hole in the center of the cigar, do it more toward one side of the cigar’s cap. Now, make a second cut right next to it. The result is a figure 8 shape and a better draw.
- Making a “clover leaf” with a punch cutter: Same as above, except you want to turn the cigar another 45º and make a third punch. Make a fourth punch across from that one and you’ve got a lucky little 4-leaf clover with an even better draw.
- Making a “perfect cut” with a double blade cutter and a tabletop: Using a sharp double blade cutter, lay the cutter on a table and open the blades. Then stand the cigar straight-up inside the opening. Now, bring the blades together. This assures a nice straight cut that doesn’t go too deep.
- Biting the bullet: Tapered head cigars like Torpedoes, Belicosos, et al. sometimes tend to draw poorly. This is often due to the narrow space the smoke has to pass through at the head, causing the draw to seem a little tight. (It can also negatively affect the burn.) You can try cutting the cap a little more. Or, if you’ve already cut far enough, try this: As you take your next puff, gently bite down on the head. If that doesn’t open the draw, slowly rotate the cigar. Each time you turn the cigar, give it that little bite. At some point during the rotation, you’ll notice the draw open-up. Once you’ve found the spot, try to keep the cigar in that position as you continue to smoke it, too.
- Fixing an uneven burn: Nothing is more annoying than a cigar that refuses to burn evenly. Here’s a trick that really works. Purge the smoke by gently blowing through the cigar, and then set it down on the ashtray with the slow-burning side down. Once the burn has caught up, rotate your cigar while smoking for a continued even burn.
Here’s how it works: Smoke rising from the resting cigar displaces oxygen, thereby decreasing the rate of combustion at the “top” of the lit foot. At the same time, a convective current of air increases the combustion rate at the “bottom” of the foot. With a little patience, a well-made cigar should even itself out without having to touch it up.
- Smoking through the band: Finally, here’s one that will blow your friends away. First you’ll need to buy a La Gloria Trunk Show Liga JD-05. For these cigars La Gloria uses a piece of homogenized tobacco leaf
(HTL) for the band. Because the La Gloria logo is stamped on the band with a non-toxic vegetable dye, you can literally smoke right through it! Now, here’s the coolest part: As you smoke through the “band,” the wrapper reveals a negative image of the La Gloria Cubana logo. (Just make sure you’re the only one who’s familiar with this particular luxury cigar.)
There you have it, 10 of the slickest cigar smoking tricks you can easily master and use at any herf to impress your buddies and show off your knowledge. I’ll leave you with my video demonstration of trick #6: