‘Tis the season to visit family and feel completely out of your element the minute your father-in-law brings out that beautiful box of cigars he got for Christmas. But before your eyes bulge and your fingers fumble through the unknown motions of smoking a stogie with him, read on for the basics—we promise you’ll at least look like you know what you’re doing if you follow these simple steps.
- The cut. Cigar makers cap each cigar to keep it from unraveling and drying out; cigars need to be cut to ensure an enjoyable smoke. Use a guillotine cutter and use it confidently. Aim above the first cap line and swiftly snip. If the paper tears, don’t fret! Even the most experienced cigar smokers do this sometimes. Just chalk it up to a slip of the finger.
- The light. Don’t put the cigar directly in the flame. Instead, twist and turn the cigar to ensure and even burn. Next, move the flame closer to the foot, puffing and rotating while the cigar is being lit. Not sure if it’s lit? Blow the end of the cigar to see where you should concentrate more.
- The smoke. Do not inhale. Cigars are not cigarettes. They are smoked for flavor and enjoyment, which brings us to number 4…
- The conversation. While smoking your cigar, pay attention to its flavors. Is there a hint of coffee or leather? Is it sweet? Spicy? Discussing the flavors in the cigar will not only be an easy conversation, but it will help you learn more about what you do and do not like in a stogie. That way when you’re ready to purchase your own box, you’ll know what to look for.
- The finish. Let it rest and burn out on the ashtray. When it’s done burning, dispose of the butt.
*Stogie: a slang term for cigar derived from the name of a wagon manufacturer, Conestoga Township, in Pennsylvania. Wagon drivers were known to smoke long, thin cigars.