What’s the proper way to light a cigar?

As with many aspects of the cigar smoking experience, there are various different methods of lighting the cigar, both based on your preferences and what is convenient for you. Perhaps one of the most common and indeed convenient methods is using a match though you should be aware that one match will not be enough to light a cigar , unless you are using a long match. If you are planning on smoking outside then you may want to consider a torch lighter as opposed to the match, given that it is less likely to be put out by a gust of wind. Some argue a gas lighter will do the same job but there is some debate about whether or not the butane affects the taste of the tobacco and you may have to be the judge of that. Lastly you may want to consider using a cedar strip. A cedar strip is a more old fashioned and therefore inconvenient way of lighting a cigar. However, due to the fact that it contains no chemicals or sulfur, for many say it is the only natural and safe way to light your cigar with many arguing it also adds to the aesthetics of your experience.

The tool you decide to use may affect how you actually light the cigar but the method of lighting is pretty standard. Unlike lighting a cigarette, lighting a cigar takes patience and a certain technique. To begin you need must light the foot of the cigar by gently toasting it above an open flame often compared to the process of toasting a marshmallow. You should never put the cigar into the flame as this would light the tobacco inside and your objective is to evenly light the outer bindings of the cigar. The best technique is to slowly turn the cigar above the flame until you achieve a glowing ring at the foot of the cigar. If the cigar is not burning evenly you may want to gently blow on the embers to ensure all of the foot is burning.

From this point the techniques diverge slightly. Some people suggest leaving the cigar for a minute before you do anything in order to let it stabilize. Others suggest taking one puff and blowing it through the cigar to avoid any unwanted taste from the lighting tool. Some even swear it’s not a properly lit cigar until a burst of flame comes from the foot after the first inhale and some suggest inhaling as you light the inside filler.

Whatever method you decide, remember to be cautious about relighting as this will not only be more difficult but can often affect the taste. So once you get it lit, best to try and keep it that way.

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