The Art of the Good Cigar

A Matter of Taste

The Perfumes of Fire: Lighting Your Cigar

Posted by herfergrrl on June 19, 2009

Once you’ve got that bad baby cut, punched or snipped, it’s time to lean back and light up. Patience is definitely the key here, and you will be rewarded with a better smoke in the long run. A few things to remember when lighting your cigar:

  • Too much of a good thing is definitely too much. You might need some fire to get your stogie lit, but keep in mind that heat is what makes those wonderful aromatic oils in the cigar volatize. You want those aromas to be released slowly and sensually across your palate, not carbonized in a split second. Hold your cigar just above the flame, not in it, and rotate slowly to ensure an even burn. It may take several seconds, or even longer, to get the end glowing a uniform cherry red – but the wait is worthwhile.
  • Don’t light your cigar with flare rockets, incense sticks, the smoke from burning tires, a bonfire made of old sweat socks or anything else that has a strong smell – those odors will permeate your stogie, and they don’t taste good. Some less intuitively obvious bad lighting ideas include gasoline fueled lighters, wax candles and sulphur matches. All of these can leave strong and undesireable flavors in your cigar.
  • Butane lighters offer a clean, odorless burn, as does the flame from any nontoxic wood. A cedar spill is a long, thin piece of Spanish cedar, usually from a cigar box divider, that is considered a preferred lighting method. If you must use matches, try to find the wooden ones, and give them a moment to burn off the chemical striking heads before placing the flame under your cigar.
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