How to Light a Cigar | Home Of The Premium Cigar Blog | Cigars Direct

Okay, so lighting a cigar isn't like lighting a birthday candle. There's a little more to it. Cigars are fat, and you want all of the material to burn evenly. Here's our basic advice on how to light a cigar.

Choice of lighting implement

Typically, you want to avoid things that will make your cigar taste funny, like an oil-fueled Zippo, sulfur matches, scented candles, or charcoal briquettes from your grill held carefully with tongs. (We know it seems cool, but it can mess with the flavor of your smoke.) Stick to long cigar matches or torch lighters. If you're ultra-fancy, you can also use a "cedar spill." We're not even going to go into these for now.

Lighting method

Don't pop the cigar right into the flame. Instead, roast it like you would food over a fire. Keep it just out of the flames. Turn it carefully to roast it evenly on the outside, then try to get the heat focused in the center where the filler is. This should give you a nice toasted edge and a red, smoking interior. Take a few draws to get it going, then relax.

Monitoring the burn

As you enjoy your cigar, occasionally you might want to take a look at the burn. If things are uneven, you can touch it up with a bit more heat where the burn isn't proceeding properly. Done right, you'll get a full burn on all components of the cigar, giving you the full flavor that so many people worked so hard to create.

Extra credit - alternate methods that aren't ideal, but that get the job done:

  • A plain ol' Bic lighter, shoved right into the foot of the cigar. Look, we all get drunk sometimes and stop giving a shit about doing things properly. If you're sitting on your tailgate and firing up a stogie with a gas station Bic as you pop the top on your fourth cheap beer of your choice, we don't give a damn. Hell, scoot over and hook us up. That sounds pretty good right about now...
  • Leaning into the range top on your stove. No matches, no lighter? No problem. Just be careful not to burn clothes, your face, or that scraggly-ass "yeard" you've been growing. Those things go up like tinder.
  • A magnifying glass and the sun. Some people just have to channel their own inner MacGyver. We won't stop you. In fact, if you want to fire up a cigar this way, and you can actually pull it off without ruining your smoke, you've got some serious skills.
  • Rubbing it against a channel in a piece of wood, Boy Scout fire-starting style. Cigars can't handle this kind of action, but you could chuck the results into a pipe, maybe. What's wrong with you, man? Some Cuban torcedor somewhere would shed a tear if he saw you do that.
  • Pissing off your wife, then holding it in front of her angry laser eyes until it bursts into flame. Perform this method at your own risk. A wife's white-hot angry laser eyes are nothing to be trifled with, trust us.