So you spent some time picking the perfect cigar to enjoy, carefully cut just the right amount off of the tip, and now it’s time to light it up. Just stick some fire to the thing and you’re good to go, right? Not exactly.
Let me walk you through the proper method for sparking up your stogie the right way, and some different tools you can use.
First, let’s talk about what we should not be lighting a cigar with. We want to stay away from anything that will alter the natural taste of the tobacco, and make the flavors odd or less enjoyable. Things you should not light a cigar with include candles, zippo or oil-fuel lighters, or sulfur-tipped matches. One of the traditional ways to light up a stick is with a strip of cedar spill, often found inside of cigar boxes. If that is not readily available, using sulfur-free long matches are a good way to go. More commonly, we’re going to be using a torch lighter. These lighters are specifically designed for cigar lighting, and are fueled by butane, which is odorless and flavorless, and great for lighting up with. If you’re in a pinch, and your only option is one of the less desirable options, let the flame burn for a bit before bringing it to the cigar. Lighting up a premium cigar takes a little bit of patience and care, to make sure that the flavor is upheld and the burn is even. This can be done with the following three steps.
- The first thing you want to do is toast the foot of your cigar. This establishes a good foundation for creating an even ember. To do this, we bring the flame close to the end of the cigar, and begin the heating process. Remember roasting marshmallows over an open campfire? Do this the same way – you don’t want to bring the flame too close to the tobacco, but just enough to allow it to toast up nicely.
- Next, while keeping the flame near the foot, continue to keep the flame going while rotating the cigar to create an even distribution of heat. After this point, we should have a nice glowing red ember, with no unlit areas. If there are, feel free to touch up those spots lightly. Be sure not to expose too much direct fire, with risk of overheating the tobacco and creating off flavors.
- Now, take the first puff or two, just to really set things in motion, and make sure that the ember is glowing nicely. You can blow on the end of the cigar gently to help create evenly burning ash development. The cigar is now fully lit and ready to smoke.
You are officially a cigar lighting pro, and can continue puffing on in absolute smokey bliss. Enjoy! Check out and feel free to reach out if you need help with choosing the right stick, or perfecting your cigar experience.