Cigar Academy: Lighting a Cigar

I did an article a while ago about how to re-light a cigar if it was left to go out, but I realized that I never did an article on a proper light to start.  Some people are of the mindset to cut off a chunk, put it in their mouth and start puffing with a gigantic flame and go for it.  While that will get the job done, your experience will be enhanced if you follow a few easy steps to set up before you begin.  Let’s call this Toast, Puff & Turn.

Start with a toast, not with a glass and Scotch, although if you are I would not be mad at you, but take your lighter or matches and lightly blacken the foot of the cigar evenly.  Do not put the flame directly onto the cigar however, or you will burn the tobacco.  I know, you will be burning it anyway, but it is not the same. You essentially want to make an even base coat, like going tanning before going on a cruise. This will make the lighting more even and prevent some burn issues later on, like canoeing.

Next comes the puff and turn technique.  It is time to puff and add fire.  Again, it is important to not stick the lighter INTO the cigar as I have seen so many people do. This will also hurt the experience.  You want to puff slowly and evenly, not vigorously and frantic, the whole time slowly rotating the cigar so you get an even light.  I always like to look at the end of the cigar after I think I am fully lit and blow on it slightly to see if it is indeed fully lit.  It will glow evenly if you are successful.  Check out the video to see the technique in action: