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A Trendy Man’s Information to Understanding Cigars

Demystifying a time-honored custom.

Due to La Aurora for partnering with us to make this text attainable.

There’s one thing particular about cigars. 

Possibly it’s the thriller of watching somebody disappear right into a dimly-lit humidor. Possibly it’s their affiliation with celebration – from congratulating a brand new father or marriage to punctuating the tip of some enterprise deal or daring heist. From Wolverine to WWII fighter pilots, from company raiders to camo-wearing revolutionaries, cigars have made a mark in a means few vices have. 

For all that seductive sophistication (and partly due to it), cigars could be intimidating. The identical complexity that makes cigars stand out additionally makes them flip of us off from ever attempting them. Factoring within the potential value and energy concerned, loads of individuals will keep away from cigars in favor of extra acquainted vices. 

Don’t be considered one of them.

cigar with coffee and journal
La Aurora 107

Whether or not you’re an aspiring aficionado, simply seeking to mark an important day, and even simply curious, the reality of the matter is that cigars, and the traditions that embody them, could be loved by everybody. For the trendy man seeking to take pleasure in an age-old ritual, right here’s all the pieces you could find out about smoking cigars the good means and have time doing it!

What Makes A Cigar A Cigar?

You’d assume there’d be a simple reply to that query. Even in our health-conscious society, cigars have had such an influence on popular culture that the majority of us have seen some cartoon stogie earlier than we’d turned 5. Even these of us who’ve by no means smoked can most likely clarify {that a} cigar is aged tobacco (often from Central America or the Caribbean) that’s been dried out, chopped up, and wrapped in additional aged, dried tobacco leaves. Whereas that’s what a cigar is made of, don’t make the error of pondering that’s all a cigar is. Very like scotch, easy substances don’t make for a easy finish product. 

Each cigar is a narrative.  The kind of tobacco used, how lengthy it’s aged, the talent of the individual creating it, and even the soil it’s grown in performs a pivotal function in differentiating one cigar from one other. Whereas that infinite selection can take a lifetime to work by way of, the excellent news is that there are basic guidelines to assist demystify cigars.

Varieties of Cigars

Cigar Coloration & Taste

cigar color comparison
La Aurora 107 sampler

One of many single largest hurdles individuals have with regards to getting began with cigars is, effectively, getting began. Confronted with a literal wall of selections, it’s straightforward to get overwhelmed. How on earth are you supposed to inform which cigars are definitely worth the twenty-odd bucks you’re about to spend from the cigars that style like orphan tears and despair?

Whereas there’s exceptions to each rule, among the best methods to start out is by checking the colour of the cigar. Sometimes, the colour of the wrapper (the outside of the cigar) will point out how lengthy the tobacco’s been allowed to mature, which in flip (usually) corresponds to the final taste profile of the cigar. 

The lighter the wrapper, the lighter (and extra accessible) the flavors are typically – typically with floral, citrus, and cream notes. Alternatively, darker cigars are likely to have heavier flavors – leather-based, wooden, nuts, espresso, and chocolate. 

Don’t make the error of instantly leaping to the darkest cigar you could find. Very like individuals insisting on the smokiest, peatiest scotch, there’s nothing spectacular about ingesting one thing you don’t like in some flimsy try to look masculine. In the event you’re genuinely attempting to experiment with cigars, greatest observe is to start out on the lighter finish (or attempt a range pack).

Cigar Form & Dimension

common cigar shapes

Although the vast majority of cigars you’re more likely to encounter might be “Parejos” – straight, cylindrical, and rounded on the cap, it’s price noting that variations within the thickness and total form of cigars do play a job in taste. 

Figurados”  – cigars with extra torpedo, conical, or American soccer shapes – can add complexity to your expertise. The altering thickness of your cigar impacts the way it burns, which might change the depth of the flavour as you’re employed your means by way of. Regardless of Figuarados tending to be dearer than Parejos, one isn’t essentially higher than the opposite. Thicker cigars are likely to burn cooler and extra slowly, giving particular person flavors extra room to work off one another whereas thinner cigars are likely to burn extra rapidly and extra hotly, often placing a single, intense taste on the forefront. 

Keep away from the rookie mistake of speeding your expertise. One of the widespread errors first-time fans make is underestimating simply how lengthy it takes to work by way of a cigar. Even the smaller varieties can take a strong hour to take pleasure in – don’t make your self sick by attempting to freight-train your means by way of. When on the lookout for a cigar, greater doesn’t imply higher. Whereas cigars can be re-lit after they burn out, rule of thumb is to err on the aspect of smaller, particularly for first-time people who smoke.

Close up of end of cigar

Machine Rolled Cigars vs Hand Rolled Cigars

Similar to scotch, mass-produced doesn’t essentially imply worse. A hand-rolled cigar goes to have extra complexity and character to it – based mostly closely on the talent of the individual creating it. They may also are typically considerably dearer. A mass-produced cigar gained’t all the time have the identical stage of expertise behind it however it’s going to supply consistency. An excellent machine-rolled cigar that you simply loved in 2012 will style the identical in 2022. A hand-rolled cigar might be way more topic to all of the elements that go into creating it. It’d make extra sense to splurge on a hand-rolled cigar for particular events, however for the extra informal smoker, an reasonably priced, mass-produced possibility goes to be the smarter purchase.

Storing & Choosing Cigars

An excellent cigar is a moist cigar, and tobacconists will hold their cigars in a humidor to maintain them from drying out. A mid and even low-range cigar that’s been saved correctly will nonetheless style higher than a high-quality cigar that’s been improperly dealt with. When contemplating a cigar, give it a gentle squeeze. An excellent cigar can have a barely spongy high quality to it. A dry cigar will usually be laborious (or worse, flakey) with none give in any respect. There are, after all, different facets to high quality, however you typically gained’t be capable to inform these till you begin to smoke it. Which brings us to…

What’s a humidor and what does it do? A humidor is a field that helps preserve the relative humidity of the cigars in order that they keep recent and do not dry out.

Some cigars, just like the La Aurora sampler proven in our images is available in a resealable humidifying bag that serves an identical objective.

The Dos And Don’ts Of Cigar Appreciation

cigar with matches and book

Like something that’s been loved by people for hundreds of years, there’s no scarcity of custom and etiquette surrounding cigars, and the one factor tougher than determining which cigar to purchase is studying easy methods to truly take pleasure in them. Whereas each expertise goes to be completely different, there are some common dos and don’ts that each aspiring aficionado ought to abide by.

Do Be Cautious When Chopping Your Cigar

The cap (the closed finish of your cigar you’ll be smoking from) must be eliminated earlier than you gentle your cigar, permitting air and smoke to maneuver by way of as you draw. Whereas there’s numerous methods to take away the cap (every with followers who swear it’s the very best and solely means) our suggestion is the punch technique – making a small piercing instantly into the middle of the cap.

Whereas snipping your cigar with a cutter is a standard technique, it’s additionally straightforward to get unsuitable. In case your cutter isn’t sharp, you danger ruining your cigar. In the event you lower too excessive up far, you danger your cigar unraveling. In the event you do all the pieces proper, there’s nonetheless an opportunity you’ll wind up with some flakes of tobacco caught in your tooth and gums. The punch technique, against this, helps protect the structural integrity of even a lower-quality cigar and could be completed with none particular tools (although punch-cutter instruments do exist).

cut a cigar with cigar punch
A cigar punch

Don’t Inhale (Do Savor)

Nearly each article on cigars goes to incorporate this reminder, and for rattling good motive. Not like different tobacco merchandise, cigars are not meant to be inhaled. Not solely can that heavy quantity of nicotine make you in poor health (extra on that in a second), but it surely utterly defeats the purpose of smoking a cigar to start with (consider chugging a bottle of costly wine as an alternative of slowly sipping it from a glass). Ensure that to savor the cigar, drawing the smoke into your mouth, holding it for a second, releasing it, after which giving your self a second earlier than beginning once more. 

Do Have A Stable Meal Earlier than

Even for an occasional smoker, the quantity of nicotine a cigar will introduce into your physique could make you nauseous, and virtually each common cigar smoker has a narrative from early of their journey about getting sick to the purpose of vomiting. The answer? Have a strong meal forward of time.

Science hasn’t reached a solution on precisely why having meals in your abdomen helps, however the near-universal consensus amongst cigar fans is that it does, actually, enable you keep away from feeling lightheaded or in poor health. Having a good drink available also can enable you tempo your self as you puff away, providing you with a motive (and an all-important reminder) to present your self a break as you smoke.

Do Use Matches

light a cigar with matches

Make no mistake – the quickest option to mark your self as a novice is to spend good cash on a cigar solely to break the style with a cigarette lighter. Whereas it’s a simple error to forgive (in any case, why wouldn’t you gentle a tobacco product with a tool designed to just do that?), the gasoline in your commonplace lighter will create a harsh, disagreeable chemical style that may injury even the very best cigar.

Cigar torches do exist for pretty reasonably priced costs, however for the very occasional smoker, or for somebody solely seeking to smoke for an important day, matches simply make extra sense. You will get matches made specifically for cigars for a really affordable value however even commonplace matches will nonetheless be a step up from a cigar lit by a lighter. As a basic rule, the extra odorless the supply of your flame is, the higher your cigar will style.

Don’t Ash Your Cigar

cigar with ash on it

As satisfying as it may be to look at an avalanche of white-hot ash tumble off the tip of your cigar, don’t deliberately knock the ash off. That build-up helps restrict the air being drawn into your cigar, protecting it burning at a gentle fee that improves the flavour. Overheating the ember in your cigar may give it a scorched, harsh style. As you smoke, rotate your cigar gently to maintain the ember burning evenly and your ash to cling onto place.

Don’t Maintain Your Cigar Like A Cigarette

Whereas there’s not as a lot judgment concerning the “correct” option to maintain a cigar as there would’ve been a century in the past, there are nonetheless good sensible causes for protecting a agency grip in your cigar. By chance dropping (extraordinarily) scorching ash in your garments (or worse, your pores and skin) can break even probably the most enjoyable cigar expertise. The identical goes for spending good cash on an incredible cigar, solely to drop it from holding it too loosely. Any gentle-but-secure maintain will work, however one of the vital trusted strategies is to carry the cigar between your thumb and fingers, permitting you to regulate and rotate the cigar with out having to squeeze it.

how to hold a cigar

Don’t Stress Over The Band

Simply as with the best way you maintain your cigar, whether or not or not you need to take away the band round it’s (principally) a query of etiquette that people have largely stopped caring to reply. Some sources argue that leaving the band on is an indication of appreciation for the corporate that made it. Others argue that eradicating the band was as soon as a option to keep away from bragging about whose cigar was most costly. The selection is yours however one rule to comply with is not eradicating the band till after you’ve began smoking, as the warmth out of your cigar will soften the gum holding the band in place, making it simpler to take away with out damaging the cigar.

Getting The Ritual Proper

Any fanatic will inform you that generally a cigar is not only a cigar. Do it proper, and it’s a ceremony – a convention that’s been constructed upon for generations, stretching all the best way again to the traditional Mayans who used cigars not as a vice however as a part of their sacred rites. However for all the foundations round cigars – both commonsense or beauty – the one factor that ever actually issues is that this: are you having enjoyable with it?

Rituals solely matter when there’s that means behind them and life’s far too quick to not stay it by yourself phrases. Whether or not it’s profitable a sport, spending a night with outdated buddies, or commemorating the tip of a venture, the one greatest rule for appreciating a cigar is to make it really your personal.

cigar sitting on a glass

An excellent cigar is one which relaxes you after a problem, or offers you some much-needed time to quietly mirror. An excellent cigar is one which you could take pleasure in across the campfire with buddies or on the porch with your dad. It’s one that you simply just like the style of and one which you could purchase with out feeling responsible concerning the value. It’d sound like heresy to the snobs, however for those who break each single rule on this record and nonetheless in some way handle to love the tip end result, you then haven’t desecrated what a cigar is supposed to do, you’ve made it precisely what it’s meant to be: fulfilling.

There is one thing particular about cigars – it’s the expertise we construct round them. 



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