No matter how you light it, your first impression of a cigar often comes on your first puff. Lighting a cigar is something that most of us do without even thinking, however it is very important! Improper lighting can dramatically impact the taste of the cigar and can start your experience off with a bad impression.
Here is the recommended method to get the best taste out of your cigar:
1. Cut your cigar in your preferred method.
2. Hold your cigar at a 45 degree angle, just over the tip of a soft flame (ideally using a cedar spill) for ~30 seconds and rotating the cigar in a circular manner.
3. Once the entire end of the cigar has been toasted, bring the cigar into your mouth and puff the cigar 2-3 times while holding the flame just off the end of the cigar.
4. Inspect your cigar to make sure the entire cigar is lit, if there are any spots that are not glowing, bring the cigar back to your mouth and repeat step 3.
While cigars can be lit with a variety of options, here are the most common tools to light your cigars!
This has quickly become most cigar smokers’ preference. These torch lighters hold up to wind well, light your cigar quickly and are easy to carry around. These torch lighters often have multiple flames (our most popular uses three flames) but single flames are also available. These single flame lighters give you the most precision but take longer to light your cigar. While these torch lighters are convenient, some people feel that they can negatively influence the taste of your cigar. The high temperature flame can scorch the wrapper and most tend to skip the “toasting” stage of lighting your cigar when using a torch lighter. Another negative is that torch lighters cannot be taken on airplanes.
When most people think of a lighter, this is the model that pops into mind. The soft flame also uses butane but burns at a lower temperature than torch lighters. This prevents much of the scorching that is common with torch lighters. These soft flame lighters are more convenient than matches or cedar, but do not told up to wind as well as torch lighters. Unlike torch lighters, TSA does allow for soft flame lighters to be taken on airplanes.
Note: It is not recommended to light cigars with a BIC, oil based lighters or stock zippo lighters. This is because of the type of fuel used by the lighter does not burn cleanly and can leave an unpleasant aftertaste on your cigars.
This is the most classic way to light a cigar, but is certainly not convenient for most situations (using a match in the wind is almost impossible). If you are going to light your cigar with matches, look for sulferless extra-long matches. Shorter matches can be used but several will be required (try using 2 at a time as it gives a wider flame). Matches are also not allowed on flights by TSA.
Cedar Spill -
People who are looking for the absolute best taste out of their cigar use cedar spills. These are small strips of cedar that are first lit by another flame source. While this may be overkill for most and not convenient for almost all situations - it certainly looks cool and is the most romantic. Rather than purchasing cedar to light your cigar with, most cigar boxes come with cedar sheets inside… Break these into smaller sections to use for your cedar spills.
While sometimes the ritual of smoking a cigar can get stale and repetitive, it can also dramatically affect the overall experience with your cigar. First impressions matter! Take a little bit more care with how you light your next cigar and see if you can notice any differences!