How to Light a Cigar
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If you’re going to spend money on a hand-crafted cigar, you should know how to properly light it up.
Step 1: Cut the cigar
In one quick move with a cigar cutter (never with scissors or a knife) cut the covered head of the cigar just before the end of the cap – the piece of tobacco glued to the head to keep the wrapper together. A visible line often marks the end of the cap.
The “foot” is the end of the cigar you light. The “head” is the end you cut and put in your mouth, generally closer to the label.
Step 2: Choose a light
Choose your lighting method: a butane torch lighter or wooden match. Gas lighters, scented candles, and stovetops will damage the flavor of your stogie.
Many aficionados prefer using cedar strips, found in tobacco shops. You can also break off one of the thin wooden separators on the inside of an old cigar box.
Step 3: Preheat
Preheat your cigar by slowly rotating the foot above a flame until the edges of the wrapper begin to blacken. Your cigar is now primed for lighting.
Remove the label if you like.
Step 4: Grip cigar
Hold the head of the cigar with your thumb, index, and middle fingers and place it in your mouth.
Step 5: Puff and roll
Ignite another flame. Slowly begin rotating the foot of your cigar just above and perpendicular to the flame. Complete one revolution, gently drawing air into your mouth while puffing your lips. Be sure not to inhale the smoke.
Step 6: Check lit end
After rotating the cigar once, take it out of your mouth and look at the foot to make sure you have an even burn. If the glow of the lit end is uneven, complete another rotation.
If you can’t tell whether the glow is even, gently blow into the ember.
Step 7: Enjoy cigar
Kick back, relax, and enjoy a pleasant smoke. To really appreciate your cigar, smoke slowly. You should only take about one puff a minute.
Did You Know?
The word “stogie” dates back to the 19th century, when Conestoga-wagon drivers would pick up stray tobacco leaves and mold them into makeshift cigars.