A lot of how we enjoy cigars is about finding the right balance. Humidity is wonderful, but too much can ruin your cigar. Cutting your cigar is necessary but clipping too much off can cause it to unravel. Setting your cigar on fire is encouraged and required if you're going to smoke it but torch the tobacco too much and it tastes like... burnt leaves.
In the video above, I show you how I personally light my cigars. Everyone is a little different, and you may find that you like your way better. But if you find yourself torching the end of your cigar like a marshmallow and aren't satisfied with the way it tastes, this video may be of assistance.
How to Hold Your Cigar and Lighter
You wouldn’t think this would be a big talking point, but I’ll never forget a video recommending to hold your cigar at a 90-degree angle. I’m more of a 45-degree guy myself, but to each their own. The reason I prefer this angle is so that I can ignite the outer edges of my cigar first without searing the wrapper tobacco.
As for the lighter, you always want to keep the actual flame away from the cigar. Give it some room to cool before you blister and incinerate the tobacco. I don’t know that there’s any specific distance required since you can adjust the flame on most lighters, but I like to keep the heat to a minimum while slowly lighting the tobacco.
Just like you want your cigars to burn from the outside in, I like to light my cigars the exact same way. Working around the outer edges first, we ensure that the cigar doesn’t burn from the inside out and cause all sorts of terrible problems.
After blowing on your cigar and verifying that the foot is uniformly lit, go ahead and briefly hit it with the torch again while taking your first pull. The goal here is just to keep your cigar lit, so be careful once again with getting the torch too close.
Lighting my cigars this way, I’ve really reduced the amount of issues that can arise from lighting cigars improperly:
- No canoeing
- Less tunnels
- More enjoyable flavor profiles
- Less popping/cracking from humidity or temperature issues
Remember that there is no right or wrong way as long as you're enjoying your cigars. Hopefully, though, this helps someone out there enjoy their cigars just a little bit more.