If you’ve been around cigars for any length of time, you’ve no doubt heard the terms “retrohale” and “retrohaling” being thrown around. But what exactly does that mean? In this email, we take a closer look at what retrohaling is, how to do it, and why anyone would even want to.
What is retrohaling?
Retrohale, or retrohaling, is a term used by experienced cigar smokers to describe the process of blowing a portion of the smoke through your nose.
In last week’s email, we touched briefly on retrohaling. If you missed that email, you can find it here. We talked about how to get the most from the palate when smoking a cigar—the full range of flavors to be enjoyed, which include sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami (savory). In that email, we touched briefly on retrohaling.
So what’s the deal with retrohaling, and why do smokers do it? The exercise of retrohaling adds another dimension to the cigar smoking experience. It allows you to combine your sense of taste with your sense of smell. When you retrohale, smoke travels down through your nasal cavity, activating the olfactory bulb—a large nerve that extends from the top of your nose and connects directly to your brain. When you breathe cigar smoke through your nose, it adds a significant amount of flavor and intensity.
How do you retrohale?
For some people, retrohaling properly takes a lot of practice—but with others, it comes easily. The simple way to retrohale is by simply drawing the smoke into your mouth and blowing some of it through your nose with pressure from your lungs. This is made easier by pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you’re blowing out.
If retrohaling doesn’t come easy, take it slow. Try it one or two times per cigar until you master it. Trust me, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. Just be careful not to inhale the smoke into your lungs.
Notes on retrohaling...
I typically do this only two or three times per cigar. It isn’t necessary with each puff. I also find it easier to do with mild or medium cigars that have a bit of spice. This may prove true for you as well, especially if you’re just starting out on your experimentation of retrohaling.
Got questions? As always, we’re here to help and offer our support, no matter where you are on your journey of cigar discovery.