Cigars 101

Cigar Q&A: What’s the Best Method for Lighting Cigars?

Q. What’s better for lighting cigars, cigar matches or torch lighters?
– Frank (from his iPhone)

A. Long cedar matches are very “traditional,” and still used by many cigars smokers. The main drawback is, sometimes it can take a couple of matches to get the cigar properly lit. Of course, the pros do it with one. But if you want to get the job done in a more efficient manner, a torch lighter is probably the best way to go,

Because a torch lighter flame is so intense, you have to be careful about over-lighting or scorching the cigar, which will negatively affect the flavor of the tobacco. When toasting, try to hold the flame as far away as possible while still permitting the foot to char-up. Eventually, it will start to glow.

One technique I’ve tried that works pretty well is to start with the torch for toasting the foot, then complete lighting the cigar with a long cedar match or a cedar “spill.”

In case you’re not familiar with them, cedar spills are made by cracking the cedar divider sheet from a box of cigars into narrow strips. Light one with any lighter to get it going and you can light up your cigar like “a real pro.”

Regardless of what method you use to light your cigar, the important thing is not to rush it.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

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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