Cigar 101

Cigar Guide for Beginners:


Cigars are notorious around the globe, and those who indulge in the practice have nothing but good words for it. Many people smoke cigars for the essence, aroma, and taste that intrigues them; others smoke in celebration, and some in their camaraderie.


As a beginner cigar smoker, you must be keenly searching for answers to various questions such as; How to smoke a cigar? Which Cigar should I purchase? How do I identify if a cigar is original or not? And what are some basic instructions for smoking a cigar?


Smoking cigars is an ancient practice dating back to the Mayans, but in the contemporary world, it has its fandom.



In this Cigar for Beginners Guide, you'll learn the basics Cigar 101:



How to Cut a Cigar?

Understanding the design of the Cigar is crucial to its cutting. A cigar has two ends, generally known as head and foot. The easy way to identify the difference between head and foot is by identifying the position of the brand sticker: the sticker is always closer to the head side.


The head side is capped with tobacco leaf to sustain its freshness. It is crucial to know the end of the cap because the line just below it protects the Cigar's wrapper from falling off. A wrong cut can completely unravel its paper. You can use the following instruments to cut a cigar.


1. Guillotine:

It is one of the most used cutters for cigars. Unlike the real guillotine, it chops the head off straight out of sight to ensure a quality touch.

  1. Use your dominant hand to hold the guillotine cutter and your other hand to grip the Cigar.

  2. Push the guillotine cutter approx 1/2 inch into the Cigar. Keep in mind the cap line.

  3. Cut through with your guillotine cutter for a fine surface.


2. Scissors:

Though the cut may not be perfect, scissors can be used to cut up the cap of a cigar. It is a quick way to cut a cigar.

  1. Use your dominant hand to grip the scissors

  2. Hold the Cigar in your other hand

  3. Identify the cap line

  4. Carefully cut the Cigar to open the cap


3. Punch Cutter:

There are many types of punch cutters to clip a cigar available in the market, and they are very famous in the cigar smoking community. Your experience of smoking a cigar highly depends on how you clip it. A wrong clip can leave a residue of tobacco in your mouth.

  1. Identify the bladed end of the punch cutter

  2. Place the bladed side on the cap

  3. Push it inside, and move it around to complete one rotation.



4. How to Cut a Cigar without Cutters?

In case you are struggling to find the right tools to cut a Cigar. You may be surprised to know that you can cut up a Cigar open only with your hands too– in fact only with a thumbnail. It is not aesthetically pleasing, but it is surely a readily available tool. You can use your thumbnail to detach a section of the cap and move around in the perimeter to cut it out.


You can also use a screwdriver to cut it open. Use your dominant hand to hold the screwdriver and the other one to hold the Cigar. Insert the screwdriver at least half an inch inside the Cigar and move around in circumference to make a hole in the cap.




How to Light a Cigar?

Whilst it only seems like an easy step. Your Cigar experience can be ruined if not done right. It is important to light the Cigar correctly to have a pleasant smoking experience. It is advised to light the Cigar from the tip of the foot only, that too, on a soft flame.


To ensure that the flame effectively reaches the entire tip, rotate the Cigar's foot 3mm above the flame. If you have only jet flame available, rotate your Cigar from a distance of 12-25mm (approx.).




How to Hold a Cigar?

How you hold a cigar says a lot about your personality and style. In fact, there are various illustrations available online to help you picture what impression people get of you when you hold a cigar a certain way.


While you can read about how to hold a cigar in the section below, it is important to know how not to hold a cigar– that's right! Like a cigarette! Many cigar smokers project it as an insult when someone holds a cigar within their forefingers like a cigarette.


1. The Forefingers and Thumb:

One of the ways to hold a cigar is by placing it between your forefingers and the thumb. The grip should be a gentle pinch around the tobacco wrapper. To look like a passionate cigar smoker, it is essential not to hold a cigar as if you're clenching it.


2. The Boss Grip:

The Boss Grip is to hold a cigar between your thumb and index finger. This way of holding cigars was mostly followed in Victorian times by doctors and scholars. This practice is also known as "The Pinch" in the cigar world.


3. The Prime Minister:

Many people fancy keeping a cigar in their mouth, and it seems like a fashionable deed but a real cigar smoker will never clench a cigar between their teeth. You can either use your thumb and index finger to hold it as if you're pinching it, or you can use your thumb, index finger, and middle finger to ensure a tighter grip.




How to Smoke a Cigar?

Unlike cigarettes, cigar smoking is not focused on inhaling the smoke. It is rather the process of enjoying the fragrance and the scent as you puff it out. For a pleasurable experience, bring a cigar near your mouth and suck in the smoke. Don't let the smoke come out immediately; keep it in your mouth for 20-30 seconds at least. For a pleasant cigar experience, puff it after every one minute.




How to Put Out a Cigar?

You will not require many tools to put out a cigar. Here are two ways to put out a cigar quickly.


Method #1

  1. Fill a glass with water

  2. Dip the foot of the Cigar in the water

  3. And voila! Your Cigar has been put off.


Method #2

If you are in a rush,

  1. Go to the nearest faucet

  2. Turn on the tap

  3. Put your Cigar underneath the water

For beginner cigar smokers, it is important to know that once a cigar is put out, it is only good for a day or two at max. Most of cigar enthusiasts throw their Cigar after a single use.





How to Keep Cigars Fresh?

To keep cigars fresh, you will need to purchase a humidor– an airtight container that is used to sustain the freshness of tobacco or cigars. However, if you do not have a humidor, you can also use an airtight jar, conditioned that you are able to ensure that the lid is fastened tightly, as cigars require optimal conditions to remain fresh.


The most important thing to remember is that cigars are only fresh until they have the right amount of moisture. The weather changes, unavailability of a humidor, and keeping it out in the air can greatly affect its freshness.




How to Store a Cigar?

There are four common ways to store a cigar.


1. Humidor:

A humidor is a commonly used storage for cigars. It helps to retain the optimal conditions required to maintain the freshness of the cigars. If a humidor's hygrometer is calibrated correctly, then the cigars can last for up to 5 years in a humidor.



2. DIY Airtight Jar Humidor:

In case you cannot find yourself a good humidor. You can create one yourself by following these steps

  1. Buy a glass jar and a sponge.

  2. Soak the sponge in distilled water, and then squeeze it such that the water is not completely drained out.

  3. Place the sponge inside the glass jar.

  4. Place your cigars inside the glass jar once the sponge is set.

While the DIY Humidor might not be as efficient as the humidor, it is still going to survive for at least a few weeks.



3. Ziploc Bag:

They are conveniently available and good for storing cigars for a short period of time. To store your Cigar in Ziploc Bag, follow these steps:

  1. Buy a Ziploc bag and a sponge

  2. Wet your sponge, and flush out all excess water.

  3. Place your sponge inside the Ziploc bag

  4. Place your cigars inside the bag

The Ziploc will keep your cigars fresh for 2 to 3 days.

4. Humidor Bag:

A humidor bag is a great alternative to humidors and can keep your cigars fresh from 4 to 6 months, depending on the weather. They are great for traveling purposes.