Smoking too fast:
Cigars are meant to be savored. Smoking slow and steady will help you do this. If you puff too hard or too fast it can cause an unpleasant experience. First, it can cause the tobaccos to heat up too much, creating a bitter taste and bad burn. Second, it can give you a nicotine rush, causing cigar sickness. Lastly, you don’t get the full benefit from the relaxation cigars can help you achieve. Slower and more consistent breathing can help you reach a more zen space that offers several benefits to you and your cigar.
Cutting too deep and ashing too hard:
Most of the damaged or “bad” cigars that I come across are actually a result of one or two common mistakes. First, the cap on the cigar serves a purpose of holding the wrapper on the cigar. Cutting too far down the cigar, past the cap, will cause the wrapper will to come off and essentially unravel your cigar. Second, aggressive ashing and tapping can crack the wrapper. If you simply rest your cigar on the ashtray between puffs, the ash will fall off when it is ready. You can also gently roll the cigar around the ash tray to carefully remove excess ash. Bonus tip: Don’t remove the band from a cold cigar. After the cigar heats up, the pectin (natural cigar glue) will break down and allow the band to pull off easily with less chance of damaging the wrapper.
Smoking without intention:
Cigars can and should be enjoyed in a variety of different applications. Whether it’s smoking on the golf course, at a BBQ or on the lake, you probably aren’t thinking intently about it and that is fine. However, I recommend carving out some additional time to enjoy cigars when you have the opportunity to sit back and really think about the cigar. It’s hard to decide what you really like and don’t like about a cigar unless you really take the time to contemplate how the different notes really affect your palate. Not only will this help you understand how an individual cigar speaks to you - it will likely deepen your appreciation for cigars. In fact, last week I gave Dan a Davidoff Royal for his birthday and said, “Take a few hours to really enjoy the entire experience. Don’t smoke this one while running around the store doing 5 different things!”.