Lighting your cigar

Like most things, this too may get you into some trouble at the local cigar store.  Remember to always take everything said with a grain of salt, and to be open to new ideas (even ones not presented here!)

So, let’s get to lighting this sucker!  You’ve seen it done a million times.  You take your lighter and put the cigar to your lips…. whoa there cowpoke- you just skipped a major thing!

Your lighter.  It needs to be a butane, or you can get fancy and use cedar matches- or even fancier and try cedar planks.  We’ll leave the cedar planks method and matches for another article.  This post will solely focus on lighting with a lighter.

Let’s start with the types of lighters you may encounter.  There’s the ever-present “bic” style:

Just… don’t.   Avoid it at all costs. It will make any cigar you light with it taste like a cat box that has been freshly used.

There’s a Zippo:

Great for all other applications except this one. It uses something other than a flavorless gas to burn, and when you have spent your hard earned moolah on a cigar, there is no reason to ruin it with a bad choice in lighters. There is a butane version of the Zippo, but I found it to be clunky and… just too much effort to get a single torch out of the thing.  That’s me.

A table lighter:

These are great, but can be a bit intimidating to the newbie.  There are so many styles that a whole website could be dedicated to just table lighters. Let’s just move on to the most likely candidate you will find in your shop, or amongst fellow cigar snobs:

The Torch.

These come in single, dual, triple, quad, and yes, even multiples from there!  For the newbie, I would not go for more than a triple flame.  Quads, in my experience, require fiddling after the first tank empties, and takes a bit of patience to get just right.  This one by Jetline is a favorite of mine, and costs about 8 bucks:

We’ll cover refilling this bad boy in a later article, but for now, know that when you buy it- it shouldn’t be full.  (Federal law or somesuch.  Maybe you’ll get lucky!) Your seller can, and should, help you fill it.

OK! We have a lighter!  You’ve cut the cigar as per our article, and you’re ready to light this thing!  This is where some controversy comes in. Toasting.  Yep, actually toasting the end, or foot, of the cigar.

Hear me out here as it’s worth it to take care of your cigar.  First, take your lighter, and slowly approach the binder of the cigar.  The idea is not to let the “blue” of the flame actually touch the outer wrapper.  That’s what we’re heating up, the outer wrapper and the binder inside.  Rotate, using your protractor, at a 45 degree angle for approximately 38.74 parsecs. Ok, that’s silly.  Instead, just rotate it until you see a small bit of smoke- again on the outside.  You’re not trying to burn the outside, but to gently “warm” it up. Imagine it has snow on it, and you’re trying to melt it without burning the tobacco underneath.  Once you’re fairly sure you have done this, move on to the inner part of the cigar itself.  This can be tricky with an unfinished foot, or a weird shaggy end on it- it’s ok, you’ll be fine.  Remember, you have to keep a low temperature here to keep the draw even, the ash even, and your mood even- because if you get it too hot, you can get tar, and tar leads to the dark side of the force.

Ok!  You have it smoking, but… it’s not really lit.  Now, and only now, is when you can put it to your lips and draw, while having your lighter at the end of it.  This is the scene in the movie where the mob boss just off’ed someone, and is having a celebration.

You know how to do this, you’ve seen THIS part, a bajillion times.  Light it evenly, again, not trying to set the thing on constant fire, and you’re golden.

Now, enjoy the damned thing!

One thought on “Lighting your cigar

  1. I prefer an old fashioned soft flame when smoking indoors, I have a classic late 1960’s Ronson varaflame and absolutely love it. Outdoors I use a single jet. Multiple jets are overkill and char your cigar, not helping in the flavor department.

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