How To Smoke a Cigar Like a Pro

By on November 28, 2012

Maybe it’s like becoming one with the cigar.

You lose yourself in it; everything fades away: your worries, your problems, your thoughts.

They fade into the smoke, and the cigar and you are at peace.

~Raul Julia



Cigars have been around for centuries, however have become more popular today.  The main countries that provide tobacco are: Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and the Eastern United States. The exact history of cigars is not exactly carved in stone…however it is believed that the Ancient Mayan’s used to smoke rolled tobacco bunched together and as time has gone by has spread throughout Central America to countries from North America, to Asia and Europe.  Since they have been in existence for a very long time, there are hundreds of brands of cigars.  Two manufacturers pretty much dominate the industry:  Altadis and Swedish Match.  Much like the number of cigars is staggering; there also exist many social groups, clubs and individuals who all have different tastes and preferences in quality. One thing is common though, they can all agree that smoking a fine cigar and a good liquor is exquisitely gratifying experience!


Cigar Sizes

There are three basic cigar sizes:

Large cigars – measure more than 7 inches in length or more. They contain between 5 and 20 grams of tobacco. These type of cigars can take between 1 and 2 hours to smoke.

Cigarillos – a bit bigger than a cigarette or a small cigar, are a type of smaller cigar. They contain about 3 grams of tobacco. Take approximately 10-20 minutes to smoke

Little cigars – sold like cigarettes and comparable in size. Contain about 1 gram of tobacco. Can be inhaled like a cigarette because most come with a filter. Take approximately 5-15 minutes to smoke.


The Three categories of tobacco leaves make up a cigar are Wrappers, fillers and Binders:

1. Leaves used as Wrappers – The wrapper is the outer covering of the cigar; it dictates the colour of a cigar and has a huge effect on the flavour. It ranges however at least a quarter of the flavour if a cigar comes from the wrapper and the remainder comes from the binder and filler. There are many types of wrappers used in cigars however the most commonly used are:


Common Wrappers

Double Claro – They are light and are slightly greenish (chlorophyll) these leaves are picked before maturity and are dried out quickly.

Claro – Shade grown tobacco plant and are very light in colour.

Colorado Claro – Sun grown tobacco plant, they are medium brown in colour.

Colorado – Shade grown tobacco plant and are a medium brown colour.

Colorado Maduro – Sun enriched tobacco plant grown in Cameroon, Honduras and Nicaragua from Cuban seed. They are naturally a Darker brown colour.

Maduro “Ripe” – They are a very dark brown or black colour, leaves are put through a longer fermenting period. They are primarily grown in Connecticut (USA) Mexico, Nicaragua and Brazil.

Oscuro – They are very black or dark in colour because the leaves are left on the plant for a longer period of time, they are very oily flavourful and sweet. Mainly grown in Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, and Connecticut (USA).


Other Things You Should Know About Cigar Wrappers

Thin and Thick Leaf Veins: Sun and Shade grown leaves have an effect on the thickness of the leaf. Thin-leaved wrappers are either grown in shade or picked before they mature. Tobacco Plants that are grown in direct sunlight produce Thick-leaves.

Aged or Non-Aged Wrappers: This refers to the manufacturing process. Where the cigar is aged with the perfect humidity, allowing the oils and sugars in the leaves to ferment properly. A nicely aged cigar will be very smooth to smoke.

Shade-Grown and Sun-Grown Wrappers: Shade grown tobacco plants produce less oily lighter colour leaves with thinner veins. Whereas sun-grown plants produce darker leaves with thicker veins and wrappers tend to be much oilier and produce a stronger flavour.


2. Leaves used as Fillers – Are the third final inner layer of the cigar. As stated before the majority of the flavour comes from the binder and Fillers. Using different types of tobacco leaves determine the quality. As stated above, the oilier and the darker the leaves the more sweeter and stronger the flavour.

3. Leaves used as Binders – Binders are the second layer, they are discarded tobacco leaves that are not suitable enough to be wrappers, so they are used to hold the fillers.


Cigar Brands and types

There are many cigar manufactures that specialize in a particular brand of cigar and there are hundreds of brands of cigars. Each one ranges in cost accordingly to brand and quality, some popular brands are:

Arturo Fuente





El Rey de Mundo

H. Upmann

Hoyo de Monterrey




Rafael Gonzales

Romeo y Julieta



From Choice to the first Draw

So if you are interested in becoming a cigar aficionado, this is a good place to start.  Now remember there are many severe health risks to smoking any type of tobacco as they have a higher level of cancer-causing substances, more tar, and a higher level of toxins. Now and again in moderation is well worth the experience, just remember to enjoy with caution. Below are the key steps that are to be done in order. Once you get comfortable in the technique with practice, you will feel more a part of this unique culture. Also don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask questions or advice from your local smoke shop. It’s better to do the right thing and understand it, rather than do it incorrectly and feel that you have failed. Here are the steps listed below:


1.       Choose

Choose a starter light mild blend cigar rather than a full flavoured robust blend.  You can inquire with a tobacconist on what they recommend for mild’s.

2.       Check

Check the cigar for cracks or blemishes in the wrapper. Use your thumb and index finger to gently squeeze from top to bottom, the length of the cigar to make sure there are no soft and hard spots. A good cigar will be firm not soft or hard. Aesthetically, a good cigar should have a smooth oily finish to the wrapper. Also remember the smoother and smaller the veins in the wrapper the better the quality of tobacco.

3.       Cover

Any type of tobacco has an expiry date. If you purchase cigars it is ideal to purchase a humidor to store it and keep it fresh. If you do not own, nor do you wish to purchase one, leave the cigar in its covering and try and smoke it as soon as possible. The longer you leave it the dryer it becomes. If there is no packaging, try and store it in a baggie or a plastic container for the time being.

4.       Cut & Light

Cut the head or smaller end that you smoke from. Ideally it should be covered or capped and would require cutting.  There are several types of cutters, as there are many types of cuts. The most common is the straight cut made with a guillotine cutter. Hold the cigar with one hand and the guillotine with the other, then insert the head of the cigar into the guillotine and cut into the cap, the amount to cut can be comparable to the thickness of a 5cent piece (nickel), anywhere between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. If you do not have a cutter the best recommendation is to cut it with a sharp knife, scissors or you can poke a hole in the center of the cap. Biting the cap from a cigar may cause it to unravel and the whole thing has gone to a waste. The best way to light a cigar is to use butane lighters, preferable a torch style lighter or wooden match. The longer the match the better because you have more control over lighting without burning your fingers. Avoid using anything other than these lighting tools as others can contain chemicals or substances that can cause the cigar to change in flavour. Hold the lighter in one hand, and securely hold the cigar in the other. A good grip is three fingers (index, thumb, middle) do not hold it like you would a cigarette; this reduces the control in holding it. Place the flame as close as you can to the end that you are lighting, avoid touching the flame to the cigar, it won’t light evenly. Gently rotate the cigar allowing the flame to catch the circumference evenly.  You can also start puffing on the cigar while rotating as well, just enough to give the end a light glow.  Once the cigar is lit, and you have gathered ash at the end avoid tapping the cigar like a cigarette to remove the ash. A good cigar should burn a nice even steady ash. To remove gently bring the cigar to the ashtray and roll the ash off, and it should effortlessly fall into the ashtray. If you need to relight the cigar, then follow the same steps above. The idea is not to puff away or ‘draw’ like a fiend, and there requires no inhaling into the lungs. When smoking, you ‘draw’ the smoke into the mouth, tasting the aroma of the tobacco along with a good liqueur.


What to drink!


Happiness is a good martini, a good meal,Cognac & a Cigar

a good cigar and a good woman…

or a bad woman, depending on how much

happiness you can stand.

~George Burns


The idea is to match the aroma or body of the cigar to the aroma or flavour of the drink. The softer and the more mild the cigar, then your drink choice should be subtle and mild. A full flavour robust cigar would be best matched with a stronger stiffer alcohol. The most desirable types of liquor or alcoholic beverage to enjoy with a cigar varies according to aroma and taste, however the most common are:









Cigar Accessories

Here is the common cigar accessories you can purchased from just about any tobacconist or on-line. We recommend our friends at Frank Correnti Cigars Ltd., there you will experience great service and knowledge, you will be sure to be a repeat customer.


Cases & Containers








Final Thought!

Smoking a fine cigar is like driving a luxury sports car. There are those who want to be seen behind the wheel and there are those who want to open it up on the freeway and experience the thrill. It is definitely a quality experience and is a class of its own. If it is something for you, don’t smoke to impress others, do it to impress yourself!


Disclaimer: ēgō does not condone nor do we promote any activity that may pose as unhealthy. Please be mindful that our publication and/or presentation of such information are not for the sake to practice or promote the mentioned activity. We wish to provide insight and knowledge on a topic which may be already practiced by said viewers or for those whom share a particular interest. Please read and enjoy at your own risk.






About Michael

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