A First Timer’s Guide to Smoking a Cigar

Cigars provide smokers with a fantastic way to kick back, relax, and enjoy a pleasant overall experience; stogies are awesome for commemorating special occasions, catching up with friends, putting an exclamation point on beautiful-weathered afternoons and nights, and much, much more.


Consequently, more and more individuals are deciding to join “Team Smoke” with each passing day, and at this rate, it seems as though cigars will remain popular for many years to come. With that said, those who are new to the world of cigars can easily become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of choices and enjoyment specifications that exist. In the end, because of this stress and potentially rushed cigar-smoking decisions, the experience won’t be as positive and pleasant as possible.


To help beginners get the most out of their cigars, let’s take a step-by-step look at how the process should be navigated!


Step One: Choose a Cigar


Choosing a cigar is perhaps the most important part of the first timer’s smoking experience. A bad cigar can taint a smoker’s impression of stogies forever, while a good cigar can unlock all the possibilities of tobacco.


A cigar’s wrapper, or the outer tobacco leaf that holds the smoke together, is generally indicative of its strength. Connecticut wrappers, or light and tan wrappers, usually accompany milder smokes, while Maduro wrappers, or dark, near-black wrappers, usually accompany stronger smokes. Additionally, several wrapper variations exist in between these styles, each with a different strength and taste.


It’s recommended that new smokers purchase Connecticut cigars. Although they’re generally mild, these stogies typically bring with them a wide variety of flavors and tastes. As a smoker builds experience, he or she can decide to enjoy darker and more powerful smokes; sticking with Connecticut early is a great way to determine which sensations are personally pleasing.


Step Two: Purchase the Cigar


New smokers would be wise to visit a local cigar shop when buying their first cigar. Cigar shop professionals can provide useful recommendations. Then, once a trustworthy and pleasant cigar has been selected, the cheaper and more convenient process of purchasing online can be undertaken.


It’s not recommended that new smokers purchase their first stogies online, as web retailers usually deal in quantity—boxes, bundles, collections, etc. If a cigar doesn’t prove satisfactory, there’s nothing worse than being stuck with 20 or more sticks.


Step Three: Enjoy


The next step is to smoke! Use a cigar cutter to make a small incision in the back of the cigar. A guillotine cutter, or the most popular type of cigar cutter available, consists of two blades that the smoker brings together, which then create a hole for smoke to travel through. Most cigar stores and online retailers offer cutters for free or a minimal cost.


To use a guillotine cutter, place the back of the cigar between the blades—up to the cap, or the small, endmost portion of the cigar that’s meant to be cut, and is demarked by a small line—and gently bring the blades together. Be careful not to cut too much off; additional cuts can always be made, but once a damaging slice has been administered, a cigar can come unraveled.


Avoid using butane lighters to ignite a stogie; wooden matches are preferable, as they won’t taint a cigar’s taste.


Step Four: Humidify


Once a desirable cigar has been picked out, smokers can purchase additional sticks. To store these sticks, a humidor, or an cedar-lined box designed to hold moisture and keep cigars fresh, will need to be bought. This humidor should be seasoned, or wiped with distilled water, for a few days beforehand. A humidor’s humidity should hold around 67-70%.


Hopefully this guide will help new cigar smokers to get as much as they can from the world of stogies. A little bit of initial effort will go a long way towards creating a new and exciting hobby. Thanks for reading, and here’s to cigars!