Wetting a cigar

Q. I’ve noticed that some cigar smokers lick their cigar before lighting-up. Is this a common practice?
– Elliot in Marblehead, MA
A.  For this one I yield the answer column to my friend Gene McCann, who sent me an email on this very subject a while back. Take it Gene…

I have been an avid Cigar Collector/Aficionado (wanna-be) for many years and have read all the books (including “The Bible” by Zino Davidoff). In “the old days” it was common to wet a cigar before smoking by licking it and/or putting it deep in your mouth repeatedly. I realize that this no longer is required or encouraged because “good” cigars are aged and shipped humidified.

However, from a strict “pleasure” point of view, I often spend about 30 minutes with a cigar before I start to light up. During this “foreplay,” I cut the cigar; check the draw, generally admire the stick and yes, I moisten the cigar a bit before lighting up just because it tastes so damn good. So, while I don’t recommend that readers take this as license to suck on their cigars like popsicles, I say, “viva la difference,” and if it tastes good it feels good.

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