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. How are Cigars Sized?
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 are distinct, definable difference between premium and non-premium cigars. Premium cigars, for one, are made entirely by hand, they also use 100% long-filler tobaccos (which means the leaves on the inside of the cigar run its entire length).
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 are typically made by a machine.
4. What are Cigar “Bodies”?
Cigars come in three basic bodies: Mild, medium, and full. These designations have more to do with the fullness of the cigar’s smoke than its advertised strength. The fuller the cigar means the darker the cigar and the “stronger” its flavor. Mild, lighter cigars, have a flavor or taste that is, at least, less strong.
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?
Because cigars are made from natural materials (i.e. tobacco leaves) they are especially vulnerable to decay over time. The tobacco in cigars can last for years—but only if they are stored at the proper temperature and humidity levels.
In general, cigars are best stored in conditions that match the location where they were made. That means the mild temperatures of a Caribbean island, where they don’t have four seasons and never have to deal with ice and snow. In general, the best temperatures for your cigars are what you would find in the shade in these regions: somewhere between 62- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit is your goal.
That said, many cigar fans will work hard to keep their cigars at 70 degrees year-round.
7. What are the Cigar-Country Stereotypes?
Tobacco from the Dominican Republic is mild-to-medium bodied. The strongest tobaccos come from Cuba and Nicaragua. But they combine to create different flavors that have nothing to do with those stereotypes. As a rule, you shouldn’t always make purchasing decisions based on countries; a good cigar can use tobacco from more than one place.
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 a Cigar?
Before you light up, you need to clip the end of the cigar. The best way to do it is with what is called a cigar ‘clipper’ or ‘cutter’. 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 a 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 you use, when lighting a cigar, you should start by holding it in your hands and placing the tip above the flame. Do not stick the cigar directly into the flame as it may ruin the flavor. Before you put the cigar in your mouth, you want to burn the end to sort of “prime” the tobacco. Spin it around as you light to make sure you get an even burn, and once you see a bit of an orange glow, then you’re off to the races!
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 use 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, which means cigar manufacturers try to ensure their cigar offerings taste the same from year to year. Constancy, in other words, is key.
While over time, the taste of the cigar model will change slightly, it’s hardly enough for most non-experts to notice.
17. Should I Inhale My Cigar Smoke?
Cigar tobacco is usually much stronger than that of 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 major red flag!
There you have it, 20 things for cigar lovers to know in 2020. Happy smoking!