Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Smoking:
The journey of a seasoned cigar smoker is a long, hard-fought, continuously evolving, and ultimately rewarding one. And for the aspiring “cigar samurai”, the whole process can seem a little daunting. So many of the most helpful cigar tips come from experimentation, and often these lessons are taken for granted – leaving a continuous cycle of newbie cigar smoking pitfalls to go on forever!
Fear not, we’re here to sort through the madness… Cigar newbies, this is your guide to becoming a cigar-smoking master!
Essential cigar tools:
Before you go off theorizing on the proper relative humidity settings and how to build an insulated man cave smoking room, let’s discuss the tools of the trade. These are the basics, if you’re actually serious about this, you’ll want to get these tools ASAP.
This is your baby, your base station, from which all successful smokes are launched! Right away, any seasoned smoker will tell you, buy big or buy twice (or three times, or more!). New smokers often buy a humidor for the amount of cigars they currently smoke – thing is, once you start storing these stogies, it’s addicting! Buy a humidor at least three times larger than your initial guess!
Season your humidor:
Season your humidor before use. Many place a small, shallow bowl (or two) of distilled water at the bottom of the humidor for a day or two or wiping the humidors interior several consecutive days with a damp sponge and when the RH (relative humidity) reaches 80, you’re ready to add your cigars…
Cigar Leisure personally uses the Boveda Humi-packs for their simplicity, reliability and ease of use.
You want a decent cut on your cigar, it’s the first step towards smoking! There are 3 basic forms of cigar cutters: guillotine, punch, and v-cut. I will tell you straight away, start with the straight cut, double guillotine. With a double guillotine cutter, the blades move from both sides (as opposed to just one), making for a cleaner, even cut! Punch cutters often make for a tough draw – they can be good, if you find a quality model; however, my choice hands down is the V-cutters. Some claim they make for a better direction of the smoke to your palate; they also have an interesting advantage of retaining a similar surface area while keeping the cigar’s head primarily intact (avoiding unravelling).
There are many ways to light a cigar, almost all are acceptable, with the exception of lighter-fluid-fueled lighters such as a Zippo (foul odor affects taste). Butane lighters are the preferred method, because they burn clean. We recommend the torch, as it is the most wind resistant and easiest to use. There are single, double, and triple and recently SIX flame torch lighters! We commend at least a triple..
Be sure to get a very high quality butane – lighters break easily enough as it is, do yourself a favor and spend a few extra bucks on the good stuff.
There are actually few essential tools required for your humidor, you will need at a minimum:
Digital Hygrometer strongly recommended!
Travel humidors are exactly what they sound like, they are used to store cigars on the go–usually holding between 1 – 20 cigars. Larger travel humidors often have their own humidification devices, but these are really not necessary unless you’re keeping your cigars there for more than a day (e.g. actually traveling…). People often over-obsess about their humidity, but cigars can actually be left out for a day (sometimes more) and some even intentionally “dry box” cigars for a better burn.
Long story short, buy a travel humidor that holds at least 5 cigars. This will save you some serious cash at cigar bars IF your local cigar bar allows BYOC!
Practically everything in the cigar world is subjective, and there are many opinions on how things should be done. This is simply our advice!
Sincerely; Donald Rich CWO-4 USMC (Ret)