Q – How far down do you smoke a cigar?
A – The choice of how far down you smoke a cigar is very personal. While we suggest about two thirds of the way down, many people like to smoke them to the very end. It is much like drinking wine, some people like to go right down to the dregs of the bottle and other people like to stop somewhere above that. Tobacco is its own best filter, so a cigar becomes somewhat stronger and more pungent near the end. To some people this is the best part; again the choice is personal. For us, two thirds of the way down is the best flavor, beyond that it gets a little strong.
Q – Do you take the band off or leave it on?
A – We suggest, and it is considered proper to leave the band on, since taking it off could chip or tear the wrapper, breaking the integrity of a cigar. The vegetable paste that is used to put the band on sometimes spills over on to the cigar. While trying to get it off you could possibly tear or damage the delicate wrapper.
Q – Can you re-light a cigar?
A – Cigars have natural oils in them, that is the reason you heat a cigar before you actually light it. As long as these oils are fluid or soft you can re-light the cigar. This would generally be fifteen or twenty minutes after the cigar fire goes out. Once these oils have crystallized or solidified the cigar will no longer give you the same taste and smoothness. It will become bitter and pungent. By the same token, it is when these oils harden that the cigar becomes somewhat disturbing in the ashtray.
Q – How long should the ash be?
A – There is no special rule or any real benefit about the length of an ash. While it is true a long ash can sometimes indicate a well made cigar, it is more often a measure of the smokers patience and skill. Our suggestion, an ash should not be allowed to reach such proportions that it will fall on the carpet or your best suits causing subsequent damage. Do remember, however, not to knock the ash off, but to tap or roll it gently, remember the cigar knows what to do.
Q – At what temperature and humidity should I keep my cigars?
A – A very general rule of thumb is 70/70, in other words 70% humidity at 70 degrees. In reality, unless storing for a very long period of time, temperature is of little consequence if the cigars are to be kept in a normal household environment. Humidity on the other hand is quite important. Here a range of 68% to 72% is an appropriate benchmark. It is important to note that cigars have very different constructions. Cigars that are packed pressed in a thirteen top or other similar packaging, where it squares off the shape of the cigar is rolled with a different consistency then a cigar that is bundled, for example, in an 8-9-8 packaging. You may like one to have more or less humidity than the other; personal taste is the only accurate barometer. Our suggestion, throw away the dials and learn to feel with your fingers. I never saw a cigar maker with a hygrometer under his bench. Do not, as some may tell you, put your cigars in the refrigerator unless you are still using your Grandmothers which required defrosting. The modern day refrigerators are “frost free” and therefore it takes the humidity out automatically.
Q – My cigars have a white mold on them – what can I do?
A – Plain white vinegar. Dampen a soft cloth with some vinegar and wipe the cigar to remove the mold. The vinegar will dissipate and not linger on the cigars. While cigars will absorb many aromas and tastes, vinegar is not one of them.
Q – What is a good Cigar – How can I choose one that’s right for me?
A – A good cigar is the one you like best, there is no right or wrong, there are no set rules, there is no mantra that dictates correctness, it is a matter of personal choice. Choosing one that is right for you is your own exploration into a world of pleasure. Certainly a good Tobacconist will help describe flavors for you, but the choice of shape is personal and the response of your palate to the blend is strictly personal. Don’t let anyone tell you that one shape is better than another is. The feel of a cigar, the look of a cigar and certainly the taste, is something you can only try and no one can dictate.
Q – What are some of the different wrappers used in cigars?
A – In premium cigars the majority of the wrappers are Cameroon or Connecticut shade or varieties thereof. The same seed planted in different soils will have the same characteristics but slightly different flavors. Most wrappers are a variety of these two seed groups.
Q – What is the bunch or the filler and how many packs of tobacco go into that?
A– A cigar can have many types of filler tobaccos. There are anywhere from three to seven different tobaccos used for the inside of a cigar. Piloto Cubano or Olor, as well as a large spectrum of other South American, Central American, and Caribbean tobaccos which can be blended together to create the basic flavor of a cigar.
Q – Why does a cigar burn unevenly?
A – It is either the fault of the binder or the maker. Even in the best cigars you will occasionally find a cigar that burns unevenly. After all, they are handmade. It should, however, be a very rare occasion, one out of every hundred, not three or four in a box, which would ruin your smoking pleasure.
Q – What is the difference between long leaf filler and short filler?
A – Premium cigars are all made of long filler which means full pieces of the tobacco leaf that run from one end of the cigar to the other. They are hand rolled together in accordion fashion so as to permit you a smooth, proper, even draw of the cigar. Short Filler cigars are made with chopped tobacco, much like a cigarette and are often held together with a homogenized binder.
Q – How do you put a cigar out?
A – You leave it in the ash tray and let it die with dignity, its as simple as that. Don’t snuff out a cigar.