Cigar 101: The Essentials
Appreciating a premium cigar – like appreciating good whiskey – is a true gentleman’s pastime. For me, smoking a cigar is a chance to enjoy a quality product as well as being a commitment to relaxation. If you’re just getting into cigar smoking, it can be a bit overwhelming. Let’s start with the basics. Here are seven cigar smoking essentials.
How you light your cigar – and how much you’re willing to spend on a lighter – is a matter of personal preference. Whenever I can, I prefer to use a long, untreated match. Lighting a cigar is a ritual and isn’t about how fast you can get it done.
If you’re thinking about a first lighter, I would recommend a torch. This gets the job done indoors and outdoors – a match can be a royal pain in the arse with even the slightest bit of wind. The ST Dupont Slim 7 is my torch of choice, though if you graduate to a bona fide cigar connoisseur, you may want to consider something more investment-level, like the ST Dupont Ligne 2.
2. Cigar Cutter
You can definitely get by with the $3 cigar cutter on the counter of your local convenience store, but listen up: not all cigar cutters are created equal. If you truly come to love the ritual of smoking a cigar, invest in a high-quality stainless steel cutter. There’s nothing worse than ruining a premium cigar with a bad cut.
3. Carrying Case
Cigars are delicate and you need a safe way to transport them, whether that’s in your pocket, a briefcase or weekend bag. Choose one that has a two or three cigar capacity. My pick: the Ghurka leather cigar case.
Make no mistake, building your cigar collection is addictive and it’s imperative that they’re stored properly (like fine wine). The most important aspect of any humidor is the seal – cigars need to be kept in optimum conditions. Avoid the $10 desktop humidor that companies will throw in as an add-on to a 40-cigar sampler as well as glass top humidors as they are more likely to release moisture. My pick: The Savoy Executive Series.
A quick word on humidification methods. Never, ever, use those little sponge things that come with cheap humidors. Throw that shit out. Immediately. You need something that’s going to regulate the humidity. I’ve heard that crystals can be good – though they create quite a mess if spilled.
My pick: Boveda packs 72%. They are a two-way system – if your cigars need humidity, they add it. If they’re too saturated, the Boveda packs will suck up the excess moisture.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a cigar ashtray is where are you going to be using it most often? If that’s outside, choose one that’s simple, hefty and easily cleaned, like a plain, thick glass ashtray. I made the mistake of buying a nice ceramic one with the logo of one of my favorite Cuban smokes, but in just a few months it’s taken quite a beating thanks to being unintentionally left out in the rain one too many times.
6. Cigar Aficionado
Any cigar connoisseur needs to be reading Cigar Aficionado. It’s the cigar equivalent of The Rake. Great articles, great reviews, great profiles and great advice from true masters of the game.
Curb cigar breath with a strong mint. Because though you may love a cigar, not everyone does.
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style