20 Things Premium Cigar Smokers Should Know
It’s the 20’s again, what better time to learn a thing or two about your favorite pastime of lighting up, sitting back, and smoking a premium cigar. Here are 20 things every cigar smoker should know in 2020.
1. Cigars Size Matters
There are two things that matter when it comes to a cigar’s size: length, which is given in inches, and “ring gauge,” a designation of a cigar’s diameter broken into sixty-fourths of an inch. A cigar with a 44-ring gauge, for example, is 44/64 of an inch in diameter.
2. What Makes a Premium Cigar?
There is a distinct, definable difference between premium and non-premium cigars. Premium cigars are premium for good reason. It’s not just the quality of tobacco they are made with. It’s also how they are made. Unlike many mass-market cigars, premium smokes are handmade. Cigar manufacturers also use 100% long-filler tobaccos as part of their ingredients. That means that the internal leaves run the entire length of the cigar.
3. How are Premium Cigars Made?
Cigars can be made by either hand or machine. A premium cigar is made by hand while your typical, low-end, gas-station cigar is typically made by a machine.
4. What are Cigar “Bodies”?
Cigars come in three basic bodies: Mild, medium, or full. However, these designations have little to do with the strength of the cigar and more to do with its fullness. The fullness of a cigar refers to the depth of its flavor, not its strength. And, the fuller and the darker the cigar, the deeper the flavor. Consequently, a milder or lighter cigar has a milder taste.
5. Why do Tobacco Leaves Matter?
Tobacco leaves are to cigars what grapes are to wine: They account for almost everything! The cigars body, its taste, its look, and its cost are all influenced by the type of tobacco leaves used.
6. How Should You Store a Premium Cigar?
Cigars are made from natural ingredients (i.e. tobacco leaves). So, it’s reasonable to suggest that they are vulnerable to decay. Cigar tobacco can last for years if you store them properly. The right temperature and humidity levels matter.
It’s best to store your cigars in conditions that match their location or origin. Consider the mild temperatures of a Caribbean island as a good example. The temperature and humidity are nearly constant. The best temperatures for your cigars are what you would find in the shade of these regions. You can expect to maintain a goal temperature range of 62- to 72-degrees Fahrenheit.
That said, many cigar fans will work hard to keep their cigars at 70 degrees year-round.
7. Cigar-Country Stereotypes
Good cigars use tobacco from different places, often, that includes more than one place as well. Each place and type of tobacco lends a unique flavor to the cigars produced there. Cigars from the Dominican Republic, for example, offer a mild-to-medium-bodied flavor. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something stronger or bolder, then you might choose a cigar from Cuba or Nicaragua.
The country of origin for cigars has nothing to do with stereotyping. One is not better quality or flavor than another. So, ditch the stereotypes and, instead, consider your own preferences for a good smoke when making your purchasing decisions.
8. What Makes Cuban Cigars so Good?
Cuban cigars are unique in that, unlike other cigars, they use 100% Cuban-grown tobacco. The available spectrum of flavor is limited by this. As such, this puts a limit on the types of Cubans you can buy as they are all made from tobacco grown in a relatively similar region.
9. How Do You Cut Your Cigar?
Before you light up, you’ll need to clip the end of your cigar. A cigar ‘clipper’ or ‘cutter’ offers the best way to do this. You can also use a knife (although doing so can be difficult) or, of course, your teeth. A proper clipper, however, is far and away the best way to cut your cigar.
10. What is the Best Type of Beginner Cigar?
When you are new to cigars you need to test out your palate—which, in most cases—means sticking to lighter, mild flavors and smaller half-corona sizes for at least your first few times smoking.
11. How Do You Light Your Cigar?
You’ve got a lot of options here, but among long-time cigar smokers, torch lighters are typically preferred. Wooden matches probably come in at a close second—though they do take some skill to work with and may not, therefore, be suitable for beginners.
Regardless of the kind of lighter or match your use, when lighting a cigar, you should start by holding it in your hands. Place the tip above the flame. Do not stick the cigar directly into the flame as it may ruin the flavor. Before putting the cigar in your mouth, burn the end of it. This “primes” the tobacco. Then, spin it as you light it. This ensures an even burn. Once you see an orange glow, you’re ready to smoke!
12. What are the Most Common Types of Premium Cigars?
Some of the most popular types of cigars are:
13. How are Tobacco Plants Grown?
Tobacco seeds are small (a thousand of them can fit in a thimble) and pretty high-maintenance. Once planted, cigar tobacco plants need approximately eight hours of sunlight each day.
14. What Does Christopher Columbus Have to Do with Cigars?
In 1492, Christopher Columbus first landed on the island known today as Cuba. There the natives introduced him to tobacco which he proceeded to take back to Europe with him when he eventually returned.
15. Why Do You Need a Humidor?
Cigar humidor typically uses Spanish cedar which should be kiln-dried to stop the sap from bleeding. If properly stored a premium cigar can last a lifetime.
16. Do Premium Cigars Age like Wine?
Cigars are what’s called a ‘nonvintage’ industry. That means cigar manufacturers try to ensure consistency in their cigar offerings and taste from one year to the next. Consistency is key.
While over time, the flavor of the cigar model changes slightly. Yet, it’s not enough for most non-experts to notice.
17. Should I Inhale My Cigar Smoke?
Cigar tobacco is usually much stronger than cigarettes and you should NOT inhale. Instead, keep the smoke in your mouth for a few seconds and then simply blow it out. It’s always best to do this while enjoying a nice drink or a meal.
18. How Do You Enjoy a Great Cigar?
Your cheeks, not your lungs, are what matter when it comes to enjoying a cigar. When you draw on a good cigar let the smoke hang a bit before you exhale giving your palate some stimulation from the smoke. This is how you properly “taste” a cigar.
19. Can I Buy Cuban Cigars in the United States?
The United States’ import ban on Cuban goods, including cigars, has only been lifted for personal consumption. That means shops in the U.S. can’t legally sell Cubans, but if you’re in Cuba you can buy them for your own personal use.
20. How Can You Spot a Fake Cuban Cigar?
Just by looking at a Cuban, it can be difficult to tell whether it is real or fake. Generally, you can tell fairly easily after as and after you smoke it, but by then you may have already made the mistake of buying a fake cigar! What you can do is look for a stamp of authenticity which the Cuban government ensures is on every cigar and second ask to see the box from which the cigars came—dealers selling fake Cubans will often times not have the proper box to go along with their cigars, the is a major red flag!
There you have it, 20 things for cigar lovers to know in 2020. Happy smoking!