Have you ever been in a situation where someone has offered you a cigar as a celebratory gesture? Maybe your friend just got a new job, bought a new house, had a baby, closed a big deal at work?
So the gentleman whip out a few cigars to celebrate. And you’ve never smoked a cigar before. Your panic sets in. You don’t want to look like a fool in front of your friends because you’ve never smoked one before?
Well I suppose now is as good a time as any to learn wouldn’t you say?
May as well discover how to do it now instead of looking a fool later right!
If that’s not the case, then maybe you are looking to get involved in the cigar smoking community, and simply want to learn the basics of the art?
Begin to learn and dabble in the finesse of the cigar smoking universe? Expand your knowledge and start collecting?
Hence the reason why Mardo has created a little bit of a guide for cigar beginners.
You are about to learn how to choose, cut, light, smoke, and store your cigars.
All of your basic general rules to cigar smoking, in one single spot. Courtesy of Mardo Cigars. Let’s jump right in.
Choosing The Cigar
The first step, of course, is choosing your cigar, and finding out what flavors you like.
If you are just starting out in the cigar game, you will want to start with a light bodied cigar, and then gradually make your way up to other flavors.
It may go without saying, but be wise about where you buy your cigars. Perhaps that $2 gas station cigar is not a good idea!
For your first cigar tasting, you most certainly want it to be a great tasting cigar for a good first impression. That means yes, chose to purchase a more high-end cigar, rather than a cheaper one.
To learn more about which cigars to chose, visit our blog Top 5 Cigars For Beginners:
Pro tip: Don’t smoke your entire first cigar. In fact, opt for a short length light bodied cigar as your first one.
For beginners, an entire cigar’s buzz can make you sick. Take it easy, smoke slowly and savor the flavor. Listen to your body, and don’t continue to smoke if it might make you sick.
Cutting The Cigar
This part can be confusing for some! You have to cut the tip of your cigar before you smoke it? What?
Yes! There are different ways you can chose to cut your cigar. However, we suggest a cutter specifically designed for cigars.
There are 3 different types of cutters that will create different cuts on your cigars, depending on what you’re looking for. You can learn more by visiting our other blog:
(blog here on types of cuts)
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As a beginner, you should stick with a simple straight bladed cigar cutter.
Here are some cutters you can choose from.
While yes, you can cut your cigars with scissors or pocket knifes, it is certainly not suggested!
Start by cutting the cap on the ‘head’- that’s the end you smoke (the ‘foot’ is the end you light). You will also want to create enough of an opening to smoke out of comfortably, but you do not want to distort the shape or structure of the cigar.
These different types of cuts will allow for different options, you simply have to find your own personal preference, as one does not provide more scientific flavor profiles than the other.
Though you do have to be careful not to cut the cap too far, or too deep, as it can ruin the cigar.
Lighting The Cigar
Of course, like most things in life, you can choose how you want to light your own cigar.
However, there are ways to light a cigar properly, without distorting the flavor or the cigar!
We suggest using a torch or butane lighter, rather than matches, or a cigarette lighter.
Matches, while providing a nice clean flavor, will definitely take way too long.
Cigarette lighters will bring the flavor of lighter fluid to your smokes.
You want to start first, by “toasting” the foot of the cigar rather than lighting it on fire or covering it in flames immediately.
Simply hold the torch lighter away from the cigar about 2 inches at about 45 degree (not straight up) and simply use the heat of the torch to toast and blacken the end of your cigar.
We do this because holding the lighter straight on the cigar will burn your tobacco and ruin it’s flavor.
Toast the foot evenly- don’t just hold the flame to one spot and expect it to light! You want to rotate your cigar while also circling the flame around the foot and edges, toasting evenly.
Once your thoroughly toasted, you’re ready to light. While rotating your cigar and your flames, light your cigar, taking long slow drags from the cigar. Light it evenly and draw the flames in nice and slow.
Smoking The Cigar
Perhaps one of the most common questions beginners have about smoking a cigar. Do you inhale, do you not inhale? How do you “put one out”?
Here are some pro tips you need to know about smoking a cigar.
Unlike smoking a cigarette or vaping, cigars need to be enjoyed slowly. It is more of a social event. Enjoy the company of friends- talking, chatting, and relaxing.
Smokes and vapes are meant more for quick nicotine fixes. You hit them fast, finish them fast. But cigars take a much longer to burn through and finish.
Unlike smokes and vapes, you do not want to inhale the smoke. Instead, you want to hold it in your mouth, enjoy the flavor, and release.
This is because cigars are much larger, you get much more smoke from a drag- if you inhale you will ruin your experience my friend by coughing up a lung.
Pro tip: Always be slowly rotating the cigar to ensure it is burning evenly through.
If you don’t happen to have enough time to finish your cigar, never put your cigar out by stubbing it out in an ashtray. Instead, rest it down in the ashtray and allow it time to burn itself out.
If you did not get around to finishing your cigars, you can in fact, save it for later. However, just like saving a half smoked cigarette, it will ruin the flavor with the taste of tar and ash.
You know what we’re talking about. That stale half smoked cigarette smell and flavor. Same situation.
However, you can still save your half-smoked cigar if you wish by storing it in a plastic ziploc bag or your humidor (you will learn about this in a minute). When you go back to smoke it, you will want to cut all the way down past the ashed part of the cigar.
This will help get rid of some of that stale half-smoked cigar flavor. Of course there will still be a bit of tar and ash further up into the cigar, but you can at least avoid the majority of it!
Storing your cigars correctly is perhaps one of the most important things to know. Cigars are all about flavor and freshness.
If your cigars aren’t stored correctly, you will lose both of those things quickly.
We suggest a humidor. What the heck is a humidor you might ask?
A humidor is simply a specially designed container to hold cigars. Humidors are great for preserving the flavor and freshness of cigars with the perfect combination of temperature and moisture.
Humidors come in all shapes and sizes, different materials, different looks, etc. If you’re looking to simply store a small collection of cigars, a personal sized humidor would be ideal.
However, if you only have a couple cigars at home you’ve been saving for a special occasion, but you don't yet have a humidor, what do you do?
If you have a couple of cigars you plan on smoking sooner rather than later, you can certainly place them in an airtight plastic Ziploc bag to preserve some of that freshness. Of course, this won’t work long term- you will want a humidor for long term storage!
You can view some of our humidors here:
Waa-laa. You are now ready to experience the joy of cigar smoking my friends.
Until next time,