Part of learning how to smoke a cigar is knowing how to light one. It can be an overlooked part of the process, but it makes all the difference. If you don’t know how to light and smoke and cigar, you may not be able to enjoy the experience to the fullest. Read on to discover our take on how to light a cigar the right way.
Lighting a Cigar
So, we have a cut cigar in our hands, and it comes time to light it up. This can be tricky, even for the most tenured smoker. In addition to knowing where to light the cigar, one must know the best cigar lighters on the market.
There are many options to choose from, ranging from soft-flame to cigar torch lighters. For example, the 4-flame torch lighter has 14,000 BTUs, meaning it gets very hot. To find the best cigar lighter, you must reflect on the techniques you like the most.
I prefer a soft-flame lighter or a single torch, but I can appreciate what each lighter has to offer. Here are a few tips to get you started:
-Matches and lighters with soft flames take more time to light than other options.
-4-flame cigar torch lighters can burn the foot of the cigar too quickly. If you don’t light properly it can taste like char.
-Each lighter requires a different amount of time to light.
There are a few basics cigar lighting strategies that can improve your entire experience. First, we recommend you steer away from candles, car lighters, scented lighters, and lighters that use oil. These can change the flavor of the cigar and leave it tasting off.
Next, be careful with the type of matches you use. We recommend wooden ones that are longer in length. It can take about 3 cigar matches to properly light a cigar. If you use shorter matches, you may end up using 6 to 8.
If you do choose a lighter, be mindful of the flame type—is it soft or torch? Be sure to recognize how many elements (or flames) it creates. Even soft flames that only have 2 or 3 options can create substantial heat.
When it’s finally time to light the cigar, it’s important to execute an even light with a strong red ember at the end. Depending on the tool you are using to light the cigar, the process will vary.
If you are using a cigar match, make sure you have chosen one about 4 inches in length. You will need at least 3 of these matches ready. Light the first match and hold it at the foot of the cigar. You’ll want to make sure the flame isn’t quite touching the cigar.
Next, roll or rotate the cigar around so it gets an even distribution of heat from the flame. Stay aware and make sure the tobacco does not turn black along the side of the cigar.
Do this until you use about 2/3 of the first match. Be careful not to burn your fingers. Next, execute the same process with the second match until the foot of the cigar gets a uniformed red ember. You’ll have to keep rotating the cigar to accomplish this.
With the last match, inspect the cigar and see if there are any areas less red than the others. These areas will look lighter in color. Hold the final flame under the foot of the cigar and start puffing while rotating. When you take the cigar out of your mouth, you can blow the foot to see if you have it enveloped in a full red ember.
When you finish lighting, you can sit back and enjoy your cigar smoking experience. How to hold the cigar in your mouth can also dramatically impact your smoke. You must decide if you want to be a wet smoker or a dry smoker.
Cigar Torch Lighter
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are devices known as cigar torch lighters. Each torch element is about 2900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt most metals.
When you use this kind of device, you must focus on the heat that this tool produces, not the flame itself. The hottest part of the flame is the part that is blue in color. You do not want the cigar to get close to this part of the flame. Remember, we are letting the heat do the work.
As many of us learned early on, heat rises. I suggest you hold the flame below and in front of the foot of the cigar. The butane cigar lighter will push the flame out and create heat, regardless of the direction. Anything will work, other than upside down.
It’s always best to start off further away from the cigar. Once you’ve found the sweet spot, you’ll take the same approach as you do the matches. In this method, you won’t need to continuously relight.
Generally, the more heat there is the faster the process goes. A single match or soft-flame lighter is closer to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. If you think the 3-match process takes about 2.5 minutes, then the 4-flame torch will do the job closer to 15 seconds.
Plasma and Electric Lighters
Typically, I am not a fan of the plasma or electric lighter, but they can do the job. As far as buying a store-bought lighter goes, it’s important that the lighter uses butane over oil. While I am a fan of the Zippo brand from a wide lens, I do not recommend you use one for lighting a cigar.
Oil-based flames and cigars do not mix well. Oil will leave a film at the foot of the cigar that alters the taste of the smoke.
Master cigar blenders set out to create natural, flavorful cigars and it would be a shame for an oil-based lighter to sway the experience. Luckily, there are aftermarket inserts that can replace the oil with butane. This is a much better route to travel down.
Best Way to Enjoy a Cigar
In the end, patience is always on your side. Remember, don’t jab the torch into the foot of the cigar to rush the process. This will negatively impact the cigar’s flavor. Take your time to get an evenly toasted cigar. Once you think you have this accomplished, let the cigar rest in your mouth, sit back, and enjoy.
The process of selection, lighting, and cutting the cigar is all worth it. Once these steps are taken, you can remain fully present with the cigar. I allow it to take over my senses and my body sinks into the aroma and flavors. This, my friends, is what the cigar lifestyle is all about.
Lighting a cigar takes practice so feel free to ask cigar smokers what their methods look like. Proper lighting makes for a much more enjoyable encounter. Discover your unique preference and curate the best cigar smoking experience possible.