A beginner’s guide to cigar smoking
Smoking, despite its harmful side effects can be traced far back in the collective memory of human civilisation. For years, we have gathered to smoke tobacco in the good company of brothers while discussing various issues. The cigar smoking ritual is surrounded by misconceptions and misinformation. We at Erington want to contribute to increased insight and understanding of cigar smoking.
What is a Cigar?
Cigars consist of three different tobacco leaves, each with their own unique characteristics and function. These leaflets fall under the terms: wrapper, binder and filler. These names do not need a detailed explanation.
The wrapper accounts for everything between 60% -90% of the taste and flavour of the cigar. What distinguishes an expensive cigar, for example, Cohiba from cheaper alternatives is, among other things, the quality of the wrapper. Premium wrappers contain moderate nicotine levels, a clear and distinct aroma, and the right balance between nitrogen amounts. The wrapper also has aesthetic requirements to fill in colour, graining and odour. The sheets can be divided into several categories but for simplicity we share the following four categories; Connecticut, Corojo, Habano and Maduro.
The Binder has two main purposes. The first consists of providing the cover sheet with an even surface to be attached. In addition to that, the binder contributes to a more even burning process by having the right density and volume. The filler contributes to the volume and taste of the cigar and a more even burning process.
Once you have acquired a cigar of the desired taste and character, it is important to follow some basic steps. Begin by initially smelling the cigar, pulling in its spicy smell and enjoying it. Then proceed to cut the cigar cap. This is done with a pair of cigar scissors, cigar punch, guillotine or v-cutter. The following points require accuracy and patience. There are many ways to light a cigar. But we at Erington are of the opinion that there is an approach that prevails over all others. Through the use of cedar sticks you can guarantee a chemical-free lighting process, which simultaneously enhances the experience when the cedar tree and the tobacco interact well with each other. We strongly advise against using zippo and other lighters.
Leave the band on the cigar as removing it increases the risk of tearing all or part of the wrapper. The cigar band also provides a convenient reference point for holding the cigar. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the band is part of the beauty, it tells others what brand of cigar you smoke, a brand you should be proud to show. The band is after all a tribute to the cigar maker.
Can it turn on a used cigar again?
Since a hand-rolled cigar is made of pure tobacco, there are no chemicals that make it burn. If it is not swollen and filled with air, it will eventually quench. If you try to light your cigar and just get a little smell of smoke, simply remove the ash and light it again. Your best chance to light an already smoked cigar is to do it while it is still hot.
Some people think you can light a cigar that has become cold. Even if you cut parts of the cigar and remove the ashes, there will still be smoke or ash in the tube (body of the cigar) that will contaminate the taste of tobacco. Do yourself a favour and light a new cigar.
A fine cigar can be smoked on its own but goes very well paired with different drinks. If you succeed in pairing the cigar correctly, you get an experience that is more than the sum of its parts.
Rum, Scotch, Bourbon and Cognac are obvious choices, but can also be paired with IPA, Stouts, Wine and Belgian options.
Last but not least, it is important to do away the idea that cigar smoking is less dangerous than cigarettes. This idea is based on not inhaling the smoke into the lungs, and thus the risk would be less. This is unfortunately a myth. Smoking is and will always be associated with health risks, and should always be done responsibly.