Cigars 101-How to Smoke a Cigar!
By Randy "Tank" Tantlinger
OK sweetheart, if you want to look like some backwoods hick; then keeping smoking your $12.00 cigar like a rookie! However, if you'd like to learn a little something; then pour yourself a smooth Hendricks gin and tonic and listen up. The Ole' Tanker gonna educate you about the basics.
1.) Whats in a cigar? The tobacco plant has several leafs per plant. Some leafs get thrown away. The others comprise the cigar. There are three layers of leafs.
The Filler: The middle of the cigar. There are two leafs used as the filler. The “Secco” leaf is the thinnest and mildest and holds the body, Second is the “Ligero” leaf it is stretchy, thick leaf and holds together well. Most of the nutrients in a cigar are in these leafs. Here is where your robust flavors, aromas and spices are found. It's the heart and soul of a fine cigar.
The Binder: This leaf is thick and stretchy. It wraps around the our fillers. After the binder is wrapped; the cigar is placed in a hand press.
Wrapper: The roller wraps the delicate wrapper leaves around the Filler and Binder leaves.
2.) What are sizes , shapes and gauges?
By all accounts there are well over 21 sizes of cigars ranging from small to extra large. Best known are: (Smallest) is Nub ,Corona, Robusto , Bellicosa, Churchhill to Diadema (Extra Large)
3.) What are ring gauges gauges? The cigar gauge is the diameter of the cigar. It is broken into 64th's of an inch. The bigger the gauge the rounder it is and the longer the cigar will burn. I nice Diadema 60 Gauge will burn about two hours. A small 4 inch 42 gauge Corona maybe 30 minutes.
4.) How do I cut a cigar?
A.) Cut: The “Cap” is the rounded edge on a cigar. Do not cup the whole cap off; the cigar will unwrap! Make a small cut at the tip of the cap; leaving most of the cap in place.
B.) Punch: The punch puts a hole through the cap and allows and nice smooth draw.
5.) How do I light or “toast” a cigar?
This is important. If you light it wrong it will burn uneven. Get yourself a nice lighter. Do not put the cigar in your mouth. Roll the cigar in your hand as you let the flame dance around the edges of the cigar. Do this for a minute. Then blow on the cigar. Again roll the cigar and let the flame dance on the edges and the body of the cigar for another 30 seconds to a minute. Blow again on the cigar until you see glowing red amber all the way around the diameter. Now take a few gentle puffs to allow the heat and smoke begin to work through the cigar and unleash the flavors of the filler leafs. Now enjoy!
6.) How do I hold a cigar while smoking?
If you watch most old school cigar manufacturers from Miami or central America you will see that they hold their cigar vertically when they aren't smoking. This allows the cigar to continue to burn from the tip up and to continue the smooth, even, slow burn.
7.) How long should I let the ash get?
The ash is a sign of quality. A well rolled cigar will have a long, long ash. Maybe even as long as an inch or two. With that said, it's your choice on how long that ash can get. I have a bad habit of smoking until its falls off and Genesis and Phil Collins are exploding through my speakers and ash goes flying all over the leather seats of the Mitsubishi 3000-GT and they get into my tumbler of ice cold Hendricks gin with lemon and lime. I drink it anyway; it adds flavor!
8.) What do I do with the ring wrapper label?
If you are over the age of 8 and you are still trying to “impress people” then leave the label on and go see a shrink loser! Otherwise, take the ring label OFF!
9.) How do I age and store my cigars?
70% humidity is the exact ingredient to age your cigars to perfection. Like a fine wine cigars only get better with time. Aged five years a cigar should be at it's peak of flavor. Anything beyond ten years and it's flavors are weak and mild. Store them in a nice cedar humidor that you can monitor at 70% humidity. Keep them out of direct light and they will always be a friend you can turn to in times of sorrow, joy, laughter and even tears!
OK, there's my two cents on how to look like a pro and not a “shamoe” while smoking a cigar. Tank out!