The premium world of cigar smoking can sometimes feel overwhelming. Endless choices, different opinions, and elite gatekeeping can make this beloved pastime confusing. However, whether you’re a cigar aficionado or a novice cigar smoker just making their first steps, there are some facts you should be aware of.
We don’t want you to feel embarrassed next time you’re lighting up with your boss or father-in-law because you don’t know the basics. That’s why we put together this cigar knowledge chart to shed some light on the behind-the-scenes. Let’s get to it!
1. The Cigar Anatomy
Every cigar comprises three components: the wrapper, the binder, and the filler. The wrapper is the outer leaf visible at a glance. It should be pristine in appearance, without blemishes, rough textures, or too many veins. If there’s a flaw, it’s no longer considered a wrapper. Generally, wrappers determine a cigar’s flavor and identity.
The binder is essentially a wrapper that didn’t pass the quality test. So it’s now used inside the wrapper, holding the filler in place. The combustion of a binder plays an important role, as a good-burning binder helps the filler burn easier.
Finally, the filler is where the magic happens. A filler is where different types of tobacco from different countries are used to give the cigar flavor, strength, and complexity. This is where cigar makers can unfold their creativity to create different aromatic experiences.
2. Price Doesn’t Indicate Quality
Price is only a part of the equation. You can find quality cigars at $5 or $6 that still taste better than those at $20. There’s a lot that goes into determining the final cigar price. For example, you might be paying for marketing and packaging instead of actual taste and aroma. Oftentimes, expensive cigars are the rarest ones.
So, don’t neglect bundle cigar offers or avoid cheaper bargains. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy your cigar pleasure. Instead, look for other qualities when buying your cigars, such as their country of origin, tasting notes, wrappers, size, and strength.
3. Cigars Age Like a Good Wine
Just like wine, you can store your cigars in the proper conditions and let them age. Specifically, you’ll need a humidifier where you can store cigars at 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can leave them there for decades.
This process helps bring out a more mellow personality to the cigars while eliminating undesirable qualities such as acids, bitterness, or harshness. If you decide to age your cigars, make sure they are of quality and not sour or damaged, as aging will only damage them further.
4. Sip It Don’t Dip It
You’ll find that some cigar aficionados dip their cigars into whiskey to give them a better taste. However, when you’re dipping cigars into liquid, they get plugged, and, as a result, the draw is compromised.
So instead of dipping them, take a draw and then take a sip of whiskey or your favorite beverage. This will marry the flavors, giving you a taste of heaven.
5. Cut & Light Like a Pro
After you purchase your cigars, they are not ready to smoke. You need to cut the head before puffing the sweetness. There are three ways of cutting your cigars: the v-cut, the guillotine cut, and the punch cut. Try to avoid cutting too much off your cigar’s head. So, if you see the wrapper unraveling, it’s a no-no. Usually, cigars come with a “shoulder,” which helps you avoid cutting below it.
As with all precious things in life, lighting up a cigar should be a delicate experience. It’s suggested to light up cigars with a clean flame since it can take a while. That’s why most cigar aficionados use only triple-refined butane to fill their lighter, to avoid any impurities. Avoid liquid fuel lighters that take away the cigar’s taste.
March Your Way to the “Sigar” World
Cigar smoking is not for the faint-hearted but rather for those with refined tastes. We can’t guarantee that you’ll love it if you’ve never tried it before, but we’re confident that you’ll find a lot of benefits in cigar smoking.