Getting a cigar going on the right foot (wait, they only have one foot!) is important. We mean getting it properly lighted is a vital step in enjoying a relaxing smoke.
Here are a few helpful tips for lighting a cigar.
1. Use a butane lighter or a wood match. Butane is relatively tasteless. Other lighter fluid types will taste bad if you draw them into the cigar while lighting it.
If you choose a match, light it and let all the sulfur burn off of it first. Hold the match with the head down, so that the flame will crawl up the wood to get it burning.
Some aficionados will light a cedar spill first and then light the cigar with it to produce the most natural taste.
2. Roast the foot before drawing through the cigar. Let the flame do the work while you rotate the cigar to evenly heat the foot.
3. Once the tobacco begins to glow, it’s ready for a draw. Take a smooth, consistent draw. Drawing too quickly will heat up the cigar and may cause poor taste.
4. Once the stogie is lit, check to see that the burn is even. If there’s part of the foot that isn’t burning or burning well, it will need a touchup from your lighter or (probably a second) match.
If the area is very small, blowing gently on the tobacco that is struggling to fully ignite might help. You won’t need a second light in that case.
It’s important to get the stick burning evenly to prevent “canoeing” in which one side or one small area burns better than the rest of the cigar.
5. If one area seems dry and is burning faster than the rest – though the rest is lit – it might need to be slightly dampened. Wet a couple of fingers and apply the moisture just ahead of the burn line to try to slow it down. This isn’t commonly needed, but a nice trick to know. Don’t lick the cigar to slow down uneven burn, by the way. It’s bad form, for one, and could get you burned!
Lighting Someone Else’s Cigar
The general rule of thumb is to offer a man your lighter or a match and let him light his own cigar. It’s awkward for a man to have another person light his stogie, for one, and each person has their own way of doing it.
If a woman asks you for a light, then hold the flame while she fires up. If she asks to borrow your lighter, then just hand it over.
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