Cigar FAQ

Cigar Smoking FAQ

I often find myself answering a lot of cigar related questions when I am smoking with friends. One of them suggested I create a Cigar FAQ and upon realizing this was a great suggestion I decided to put one together. If you have any questions not listed here leave a comment and I will answer it, or send me an email

Q: How does come to it’s ratings?

A: We use the same method of ratings as a popular cigar magazine in an attempt to create conformity. When we review a cigar we give:

  • Up to 20 points for appearance & construction
  • Up to 30 points for flavor/notes
  • Up to 25 points for burning characteristics (burn line, draw, ash, etc)
  • Up to 25 points for overall impression

Q: What type of cutter should I use?

A: The cutter you use will directly affect how your cigar smokes. I use four different methods to cut my cigar.

1.      Bullet/Hole Punch: This puts a small circular hole on your cigar cap. If you are smoking a full body cigar and you want to limit the strength of the cigar, the best thing to do is limit the amount of smoke you get. The Bullet is the perfect cut to do just this.

2.      V-Cutter: This puts a V like notch on the head of your cigar. It too can restrict the intake but not as much as the Bullet.

3.      Straight Cut: This is the most traditional cut. A straight cut snips off the top of the cigar by the cap.

4.      Capping: I use this method when I can’t find a cutter. I just bite the cap of the cigar off. While this is not a great way to cut a cigar, and I do not recommend it. But sometimes when you do not have a cutter without you have no other choice.

Q: When I use a straight cutter, how much should I cut?

A: No more then 1/8th of an inch on a regular sized cigar. All you need to do is remove the cap. The top of the cigar.  If you are smoking a torpedo/ belicoso cigar you should cut off what makes you comfortable without getting carried away. On a torpedo cigar the more you cut the more intake of smoke you will have and that will affect the strength.

Q: I cut my cigar now what?

A: Take the time to study your cigar, enjoy the cigar starts at the pre-light ritual. Smell the wrapper and take in the scent. Try to identify what it smells like. Do the same thing with the foot of the cigar, take a sniff and once again try to identify it. This will help you identify the notes of the tobacco when smoking it. Before you light it, take a pull, and once again try to identify it.

Q: How should I light my cigar?

A: Never use a Zippo lighter to light a cigar. I know some people will disagree with me, but when you use a Zippo the fuel is very noticeable and it will destroy the taste of your cigar.  When you light the cigar you want to lightly toast it. Hold the cigar just far enough away from the lighter where the end gets warm, and begins to turn red. When this is done, then place the cigar in your mouth and pull from the flame to fully light the cigar.

Q: How often should I be taking a pull from my cigar?

A: You should be taking 2-3 pulls from the cigar a minute. When you are not taking a pull you should hold the cigar with a free hand.  Pulling on a cigar more often will cause it to burn hot and ruin your cigar experience.

Q: I see people say they get all these flavors from a cigar, yet I don’t. Why?

A: When I first started to smoke I was the same way. In time it comes, but you have to be in the right setting for it. You need to be able to relax, and sip your cigar like a fine wine. On each pull, as you exhale you can try a small chewing action this might help make your palate more acceptable of the notes. If not, don’t worry about it. Enjoy your smoke, relax and in time it might come to you.

Q: Sometimes when I smoke I get nausea and light headed. Why?

A: When you smoke it affects your blood sugar. When you get nauseous or dizzy it is because your blood sugar has risen giving you a sugar high which can be quite dangerous. When this happens it is best to drink lots of water.

Q: How long should I wait to ash my cigar?

A: The ash will help keep the burn cool. The cooler the cigar, the less heat in your mouth, the more enjoyable the experience. At the same time the last thing you want to do is drop an ash on your shirt. Watch the ash, and most of the time you will begin to see when it is time to ash. A general rule of thumb though is to at least 1″ form if you want to ash.

Q: What should I drink with my smoke?

A: That is really up to the cigar smoker. I like to drink water when I am rating a cigar. Water has no flavor and it will not affect the flavor. However some cigars go really great with coffee, espresso, cognac, and single malt scotches. When I am smoking to relax I will do so with some glenfiddich single malt.

Q: What should my humidor be kept at?

A: Your humidor should be kept at 65 degrees and 68-73% humidity. The more humid the humidor is the spongier your cigars will be. This is a person preference within a specific range. It is important to watch the temperature of your humidor. If it is too warm, tobacco beetle eggs could hatch destroying your cigars. They hatch at 75 degrees.

Q: I can’t get my humidity up! (or) I can’t get my humidity down!

A: Invest in a digital hygrometer with temperate gauge. They aren’t that expensive and are far more accurate then the analog devices. Before I invested in one my humidity level was reading 60-62. Ever since I installed the digital hygrometer it’s been easier to maintain and track my humidor.