Smoking Cigars 101

Cigars are an art form, and there is an air of elegance and sophistication in smoking them. Each cigar has an individual flavor, from a mild sweet blended cigar to a bold, full tobacco taste with just a hint of spice, and the list goes on and on. The most enjoyable portion is selecting the cigar from the box or the humidor, sitting down with a group of buddies, and smoking it from beginning to end. And at Festival, we like to think that everyone should know a little about the art of smoking cigars, even if you’ve never smoked one. Here are a few things you should know before picking up your first cigar.

The cigar is the perfect compliment to an elegant lifestyle”. – George Sand

Hand-Rolled vs. Machine Made

Most cigar connoisseurs would agree that hand-rolled cigars are the way to go. Machine made cigars are mass-produced and may contain preservatives and chemicals, while hand-rolled cigars are made with pure tobacco. And, more than not, the tobacco in hand-rolled cigars, like Macanudo and Fuente, just tastes better. It’s always better to spend a little extra money on a good quality smoke. 

Cutting a Cigar

Using a scissor-style tool, also called a guillotine, cut the line that rings the end of the cigar (the cap). Be careful not to cut below the line as the wrapper leaf will unravel, and you will cut off everything that’s holding the cigar together. If you are worried about cutting below the line, you can cut the cap slightly above the horizon line.

Lighting a Cigar

When lighting a cigar, its best to burn the end of it while also rotating it. This is called toasting, which ensures an even burn and keeps the smoke cooler. Don’t draw from the smoke when lighting the cigar. It is safer for you and makes for a better smoking experience overall.

Smoking a Cigar

When smoking a cigar, let the smoke roll around on your palate. Drawing from a cigar is a cheek function rather than a lung function. It’s all about allowing the taste to linger in your mouth before exhaling. Specifically, there are two different flavors, one flavor while the smoke is in your mouth and another flavor remaining once you have expelled the smoke. You will also notice the strength and the body of the cigar, whether that be light, medium, or strong.

Cigar History & Fun Facts

  • Legendary author, Mark Twain famously smoked 300 cigars per month
  • The best and most experienced Dominican cigar roller can produce at least 200 cigars a day.
  • The original native word for tobacco was “Cohiba”, and their word for smoking was “Sikar”, which Europeans eventually turned into the word cigar.
  • The phrase, “Close, but no cigar,” originated in the day when a cigar was a popular carnival game prize.

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to smoking cigars. Our humidor carries a variety of cigars for all tastes and flavor preferences. With over 20 billion cigars smoked each year, there are a lot of options! Stop by Festival and ask for your favorite cigar or we can recommend a selection. The great part about getting premium smoking cigars from Festival is that you can also get your wine or spirit of choice too. We recommend tequila!