Smoking a cigar is not at all as straightforward as smoking a cigarette. Smoking a cigar is more of an art and skill. If you rush into it, the experience will leave you disappointed. You need to learn the skill of preparing a cigar.

For beginners, this is the make or break moment. The moment they experience the pleasure of a great cigar, or in disappointment, think cigars are highly overrated.

Cigar Preparation – The Good, and the Unsmokeable

Before you go out and purchase a high-quality cigar, you will need to know how to tell the difference between a good cigar and a bad one. Here are a few pointers

Roll the cigar between your fingers. A good cigar should feel soft yet firm, a bit like your finger. If it’s dry and brittle it’s no good. If it’s spongy, it’s no good. And if it has lumps, it definitely is not good to smoke.

Many cigars leave the factory, or shop, perfectly good. But poor storage can make them unsmokeable very fast. If you are satisfied with your purchase, make sure to store them well, preferable purchase a cigar storage box as well. After all, if you are buying the finer things of life, it’s just common sense that you take good care of them.

How to Prepare a Cigar to Smoke

Now that you have your cigar, it’s time to enjoy it. Hold your horses though, there are a few things you need to do first before you light that baby up.

The first step toward the perfect smoke is knowing how to cut your cigar. Yes, cigars need to be cut before smoking – and cut properly for that matter. The cap that you need to cut off serves the purpose of keeping the cigar from drying out.

A few “don’ts” before we look at the “do’s” of cigar cutting. Cutting the end off with your teeth is a definite no (no matter how cool and simple it may look in the movies). A cigar needs to be cut evenly otherwise you will tear the cigar, ruining it. For this very reason, avoid using anything blunt (no pair of scissors please), or a one-sided blade like a knife.

So how do you cut a cigar? Use a cigar cutter. This is a special guillotine that is specifically made for cutting cigars, hence the name cigar cutter. And when picking a cigar cutter, make sure it’s double bladed, especially if you are a beginner. Double-bladed cutters are best because they ensure even cutting of the cigar without damage to the wrapper.

Now for the tricky part. Snipping the cap off. To do this right, place the cigar on the blade (making sure that it’s placed where the cigar meets the wrapper). In one quick move, chop off the cap.

Did you get it right? The wrapper must not, at all costs, get torn. If you got it right, great job. Let’s move on to the next phase of preparing your cigar to give you maximum pleasure.

How to Properly Light a Cigar

You look surprised. A cigar needs proper lighting otherwise you won’t enjoy it. Again, a few things you shouldn’t do. Don’t use a gas lighter or paper matches. The cigar will quickly absorb their flavor and get ruined. Candles? Never!

To light your cigar, use a butane lighter or long wood matches. Better yet, buy a special cigar lighter to make your sessions more special.

Hold it, don’t light it yet, there’s one more thing you need to do. You need to warm your cigar up before you actually light it. Hold your cigar to the flame, making sure the flame doesn’t touch the cigar but with the heat being intense enough to dry the end of your cigar. Rotate the cigar a couple of times until the end is evenly warmed. Remember, a cigar has a bit of moisture in it. For it to light easier, you have to dry the tip first.

Now you can light your light your cigar. Yippee!

To light your cigar, hold the cigar to the flame – without touching it. Inhale just enough to cause the cigar to light. To ensure the cigar is lit, and also to make sure it burns evenly, blow on it gently. It should give off an orange glow.

How to Smoke Your Cigar

Now that your cigar is lit, you can enjoy your smoke. Again, a cigar is not at all like a cigarette, you don’t inhale the smoke. The smoke is meant to be savored in the mouth. Make sure to rotate the cigar often to ensure even burn.

Ready. Light. Puff.

Now that you are ready and your cigar is ready to be lit, go ahead, light it, and enjoy the moment.

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