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Stogie Tips: Time for a (Better) Light

26 Aug 2009

I’m always amazed when I see someone who’s meticulous about keeping the temperature and humidity just right for their cigars and then lights up like a late-night arsonist intent on scorching away all the evidence.

Torch

If there’s a faster way to start your smoke off the wrong way than by overheating and charring the tobacco, I don‘t know what it is. Remember, you’re lighting a cigar, not practicing for a job as a welder.

If you’re a regular StogieGuys.com reader, you know we’re serious about this. Over the years we’ve written numerous times about lighters, matches, and tips for lighting up.

What you use to bring the stick to life, of course, is up to you. I believe it’s possible to light a cigar correctly with nearly any form of flame that doesn’t carry a taste or odor. And there are really only a few points to keep in mind.

First, keep the flame from directly hitting the foot of the cigar, especially if you’re using a butane torch, which can easily exceed 2,000 °F. Such extreme heat can virtually obliterate tobacco on contact, something you have to worry about much less with matches or a burning cedar strip (known as a spill).

Also, don’t light the cigar in your mouth. Hold it in one hand, the flame in the other, and rotate the stick. Stop and take a light draw a couple of times during the process to help make it even.

Finally, take your time—advice that fits with nearly every aspect of cigar smoking. Going slowly will pay off when you take those first few puffs and enjoy the tastes the blender intended, not burned tobacco.

So save the caveman flames for the barbeque grill. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the cigar afterward much more.

George E

photo credit: Wikimedia

Drew Estate

6 Responses to “Stogie Tips: Time for a (Better) Light”

  1. Franklin D Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 3:25 am #

    So true! I can't tell you how many times I've seen a video of some moron flash frying the foot before a "review" — no wonder the stick starts with "a blast of pepper spice." Thanks for keeping it real, George.

  2. st Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 3:53 am #

    When i light with a match, once I have toasted the foot well, I often will put it in my mouth and give the foot a wave of the match on the first gentle draw. Done with a match, I don't think this flash-fries anything, and it helps me get a nice even light. A butane torch, sure, that's a different story, but I don't think I'm ruining my smokes when I do that with a match.

  3. George E. Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 6:28 am #

    ST – I think your technique sounds fine. A match flame is far cooler than a butane torch. And keeping the flame moving, as you describe, greatly lessens the odds of it scorching any of the tobacco.

  4. cigar palace Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    i agree with you genrge, i prefer the matchs but before i start taking the first draw i blow through the cigar to take any unwanted smoke and to correct the burn. I learnd that from the Doc

  5. cigar palace Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    i agree with you george, i prefer the matchs but before i start taking the first draw i blow through the cigar to take any unwanted smoke and to correct the burn. I learnd that from the Doc

  6. chris s. Friday, March 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    don kiki of cuban crafters chars the foot before finishing the light with the more standard toasting method; any thoughts?