Most fine cigars are made with a cap on the end. This is done to protect the freshness of the tobacco inside the cigar as well as to prevent the cigar from falling apart. In order to smoke your cigar you'll have to cut off a piece on this capped end and you’ll have to be careful if you don’t want to ruin your cigar. It’s a great idea to buy a guillotine style cigar cutter when you buy your first few cigars because a tool like this will allow you to cut exactly where you need to and will make the job much easier.
The last thing you want to do with an expensive cigar is attempt to bite off the end with your teeth. This is a horrible idea and could result with your cigar falling apart in your hands while you try to smoke it. Most cigar cutters are pretty cheap coming in at around $5 and they are a good investment because cutting your cigar improperly could ruin your expensive cigar as mentioned previously. When cutting your cigar you want to try and notice the cap on the cigar end and when you cut your cigar you want to make sure to try and avoid the cap. Cutting at the cap or above the cap could cause your cigar to fall apart.
Most cigar connoisseurs recommend you cut about 1/16th or 1/8th of an inch from the capped end of the cigar but again what you definitely don’t want to do is cut at the cap line. There are also punch style cutters that don’t even require you to cut your cigar at all and in my experience these things form the perfect diameter hole for you to draw smoke from. With a punch style cutter all you do is push the cutter into the cigar and it makes a hole about the width of a ballpoint pen on the end and you don’t have to worry about cutting off your cap and ruining your cigar.
Lighting the cigar isn’t as complex as cutting the cigar but still there are a few intricacies that you should note. First of all you can light your cigar with anything but wooden matches are preferred by most connoisseurs. Wooden matches are ideal because they don’t have any fuel, like butane lighters, that could negatively affect the flavor and taste of your cigar.
Once you have a lighter or some wooden matches it’s time to light your cigar. When lighting your cigar you don’t want to actually let the flame touch your cigar. Rather you’ll want to keep it about an inch away and you’ll want to draw the flame into your cigar as your puff on the cigar. While you’re puffing and drawing on the cigar you’ll also want to rptate the cigar so that the whole end gets lit. Some cigars have a larger diameter so some may take longer then others. Larger cigars will take a few rotations but the key is to make sure your cigar is fully lit. You can ensure that the entire end is lit by taking a look at it and making sure that you have a nice red glow around the whole diameter of the end of the cigar.
While smoking your cigar you’ll want to make sure that you don’t smoke it too quickly. Smoking your cigar to fast or too aggressively will result in a cigar that burns hot and that will negatively affect the taste and flavor of the cigar.
Smoking a cigar is an art. You’ll have to experiment and determine the right timing between draws to get the best flavor and taste out of your cigar. But at the same time you also don’t want to allow too much time between smoking your cigar because it could go out if you don’t pay enough attention to it. There’s also a lot of discussion among connoisseurs regarding how much of the cigar you should actually smoke.
Personally my rule of thumb is to smoke the cigar for as long as you enjoy it. When the cigar starts tasting bad to you I say it’s time to put it down. For more tips on how to smoke a cigar, check out the video below.