Tips and Etiquette
IF I CANNOT SMOKE CIGARS IN HEAVEN, I SHALL NOT GO.
~ Mark Twain, Author
- Aging a cigar is a matter of personal taste. Some prefer fresh cigars, those rolled within the last six months – others will age their cigars a full five to six years before smoking them. Whatever you decide, be it 20 years or more, cigars should be kept in a controlled environment, between 70 to 72 degrees with 70 percent humidity.
- If different types of cigars are stored together in the same humidor, they may take on each others’ flavors. It can get expensive to purchase humidors for each of your favorite brands/types, so make sure your humidor has dividers.
- If you find that you’ve purchased more cigars than your humidor can handle, store them in your freezer in a plastic bag or container with a lid. Two to three days before the planned smoke move them to your refrigerator’s crisper bin. An additional day in a humidor will be best.
- A dry cigar will burn too hot and ruin its flavor. To re-moisturize, place your cigars in a humidor that hasn’t been charged in the last week for two or three days. Fill the humidification system half way and let them lay for a week before fully charging the humidity regulator; this will prevent them from getting too moist too quickly.
- Selecting a drink to accompany fine cigars is a matter of personal taste, which will vary depending on the occasion. The tradition is a fine cognac or brandy; the clean, crisp flavor of these liqueurs perfectly compliment the smooth flavor of a premium hand-rolled cigar. Alternates include Port (its sweetness blends splendidly if you choose a full-bodied smoke), single-malt Scotch, Bourbon and Wine. If you prefer non-alcoholic beverages, try fruit juice or a favorite cola—both do quite well to cleanse the palate between puffs.
- Do not smoke a cigar as you would a cigarette. Take your time—savor the taste, the aroma; if you smoke too fast you’ll develop a burned taste in your cigar. One or two puffs per minute should be enough to keep it lit.
- Do not inhale any smoke and never swallow the residue of any tobacco product; it will make you ill.
- Never light another’s cigar; the smoker will most likely draw in too hard, which is bad for a cigar, so offer your lighter or matches to them.
- Label on, or off -? That is a long standing debate that has no clear end in sight. Leaving it on allows people to see what you’re smoking (Oh! I see you smoke Don Collins—have you another?). Removing the label takes a little practice. They are glued on, and you don’t want to tear the wrapper. You should smoke the cigar a bit to warm it up, then carefully remove the band.
- Smelling a cigar is frowned upon in most cigar stores. It is better to test its quality by lightly grasping it—but take care to not hold it too tightly or else you’ll crack it.
- Ashes. Don’t wait too long to knock them loose; you don’t want it to end up smudging your clothing, tablecloth or carpeting. Keep an eye out for a small crack in the ash, then tap into an ashtray.
- You don’t have to grind out your cigar in an ashtray because it will go out on its own very quickly. If you do, you could wind up releasing even more odors into the air.
- Be considerate of non-smokers. When you find yourself in a non-smoking area, put out the cigar or move to a designated smoking area if asked. If you’re dining or relaxing in an establishment that allows cigar smoking, it is your privilege to continue; should a patron question your right, let the management handle it.