Experimenting with cigar brands will introduce you to their different styles of flavour and allow you to establish your preferences. Once familiar with styles from rich Cohibas to lighter cigars from the Domincan Republic and so on you can choose the right brand to suit your tastes on any occasion.
When your mind is made up there is another point to remember: if you smoke more than one cigar a day subsequent cigars should be of equal or fuller flavour. Never follow a strong cigar with a lighter one as you will not taste it. There are cigars for morning, afternoon and night.
The size or vitola of the cigar should be decided
upon by giving consideration on how much time that you have to enjoy the cigar. A
cigar's flavour develops
in the course of its smoking and its true potential is not usually reached
until the half way mark. Bear in mind that slow burning heavy guage
cigars tend to offer a fuller flavour than slender ones even with the same
The head of a handmade cigar is sealed with a cap of tobacco which helps to secure the wrapper leaf in place. Before lighting the cigar you need to create a broad opening in it. Using a cigar cutter make an incision across the shooulders of the cigar, leaving the bottom part of the cap in place to stop the leaf unravveling.
Removing the band at this stage can damage the delicate wrapper leaf, if you wish to take the band off do so after a few minutes. The band should be peeled off not plucked like a ring on a finger.
Cigars are delicate products that develop and mature if stored in the right conditions. Their flavours become rounder and mellower with time. A cigar must be in perfect condition when smoked or it will taste harsh or burn badly; therefore it is essential that cigars are stored correctly up until the time that they are smoked.
To keep cigars properly they should be stored at between 16C and 18C and in relative humidity(RH) of 65 to 70 percent.Placing your cigars in a humidor is the best place to store them.
To test a cigar squeeze it between your fingers; if it is soft but firm
it is in good condition.
Lighting is about following 2 simple rules; take your time and do a thorough job. The whole foot of the cigar must be alight before you can settle back to enjoy it, otherwise the cigar may burn unevenly. The fatter the cigar, the more time will be needed to light it.
Lighting can be done with a wooden match or a butane lighter (other lighters especially Zippo types should be avoided as they impart strong aromas). If your cigar goes out you need not abandon it but simply re-light it by clearing any ash left over.
To enjoy a cigar you should not inhale the smoke. The true pleasure of the cigar is to be found in the composition of the tobacco flavours and these are best detected on the palate by your sense of taste.
Do not try smoking a cigar after it has half gone out as it will only offer a disappointing mix of hot air and thin smoke, try to coax it back to lighting with a light and some vigirous puffing.
There is no need to stub out your cigar. Just lay it on the ashtray when you feel that you have had enough. It will go out quickly of its own accord. Let it die with dignity!
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