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Stogie Tips: Five Rules for Introducing Someone to Cigars

31 Mar 2010

I like smoking cigars so much that I cannot for the life of me understand why everyone doesn’t do it. I often recommend that friends and acquaintances try a cigar, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I’m sure many of you do the same.

FirstCigarNow, we all know smoking cigars is pretty simple. Mostly, it’s step 1: light up; step 2: enjoy. But there are some steps that can help you make a friend’s first smoke a fine and memorable occasion.

1. Size — For an introductory smoke, it’s best not to go too large. Newbies should be introduced with a preview of premium tobacco, not a two-hour commitment. Opting for a smaller size, such as a petit corona or Rothschild, increases the odds of a pleasurable experience.

2. Construction — Chose a cigar that you know draws well and burns easily. A first-time smoker is best served by never having to worry about relighting or drawing hard. A cigar that maintains a tight ash is also a good idea.

3. Setting — I recommend visiting a great cigar shop, but other places can work equally well. Just be sure it’s a spot to relax and have a cigar as part of an enjoyable occasion. Pairing the smoke with a favorite drink almost certainly will enhance the appeal.

4. Strength — While conventional wisdom is to go with a mild stick, I recommend a medium-bodied cigar. With a mild cigar you run the risk that the new smoker won’t really taste much of anything and wonder what the heck it’s all about. And a full-bodied powerhouse is likely to end poorly.

5. Simplicity — Avoid spouting off dos and don’ts. (OK, one reminder not to inhale.) Focus on making sure they realize that smoking cigars is about enjoying yourself and, frequently, enjoying the company of others who like it just as much. It’s not about rules.

George E

photo credit: Flickr

Drew Estate

12 Responses to “Stogie Tips: Five Rules for Introducing Someone to Cigars”

  1. dmjones Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:22 am #

    If you did "Five Rules for Totally Pissing Off the Anti-Smoking Nazis" that picture of the baby would definitely be among them! Excellent!

  2. Dave in Ashburn Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    I've introduced a handful of friends to cigars and the most frequent mistake I've made is overwhelming them with details about lighting. Toasting the foot and keeping the flame a quarter inch away doesn't take much thought when you've been smoking for a while, but when you're just starting out it can seem a bit contorted. So now I have a friend who takes 20 minutes to get his cigar lit as he's so worried about charring the tobacco he rarely gets the match close enough to work.

  3. Ethan K Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 3:04 am #

    Good advice here.

    As Dave in Ashburn did, I used to talk too much and did not let my friends find for themselves whether they would like cigars. The one friend that I introduced to cigars correctly, burns almost half an inch to begin and then puffs every 10-15 seconds, but he loves it that way; so, I keep my mouth shut.

  4. mighty Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 6:02 am #

    It's also not a bad idea to tell them how to just tip their cigar down in the ashtray when they are finished. No need to mash, mash, mash, the cigar like you see people doing with cigarettes to put them out.

  5. st Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    #5 is great advice. No one wants to be treated like an idiot, and smoking a cigar just ain't that hard.

    I would add #6 – remember that smoking a good cigar is objectively enjoyable. When I try to interest someone in a cigar, I have to stop myself from saying "good, right?" or "isn't this great?" every ten seconds. Why am I bothering? If they like it, they don't need my affirmation, and if they don't, they won't suddenly start liking it because I tell them they should.

    George, I know the reviews may be more fun, but keep these context posts coming – they leaven the bread nicely.

  6. big mike Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    the year was 1993. the cigar was a cohiba robusto. i can still taste it to this day. my friend was just so laid back it felt like we had been missing something by me not smoking with him sooner. i try to be as laid back as i can when i introduce friends to cigars. cigar smoking is about pleasure,relaxation,and good times for me. i try to convey that without saying it out loud.

  7. fdxeng Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    I just had this conversation with a younger guy an hour ago (didn't see the post until now). Good advice and for the most part I gave him all the advice posted here save the mashing out of the cigar. I sent him to a cigar shop in NH that is inviting and they ask you questions to help you get the best cigar for your price range and/or experience. No hard sell to get you to buy the most expensive cigars. Enjoy the blog very much.

  8. furious Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    Simplicity is best when introducing someone to cigars. No need to complicate the experience with intricate procedures or verbose descriptions of flavors. Great post, George.

  9. George E Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Thanks for all the kind words!

  10. LIRight Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    I have, what is probably a dumb question, but I'll ask it anyway.

    When I purchase a quantity of cigars that are encased in cellophane – – – should I take them out of the wrapper when humidifying?

    I really don't know so please point me in the right direction.

    Thank you.

    MMM

  11. learn more Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    I have a friend who is into smoking but has not tried it even once ion his life. I gave him this article and he turned out quite the smoker he wanted to be. I guess words can change once life. Thank you! I am loving your articles!

  12. Sam Monday, January 14, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Nice and simple. I especially liked the last point. It's not about rules, it's about enjoying your cigar.