How to light a cigar

How to light a cigar

To get the most out of Cuban tobacco, you need to know all about lighting a cigar. Gas torch lighters, candles and cardboard matches for ignition are usually not recommended, as they can spoil the true taste. Cigars are able to absorb different smells that is why the lighting process must be smart.

How to light a cigar

Table of Contents

How can you light a cigar?

There are many options. Every smoker has a favorite lighter or other tried and tested for lighting a cigar. When used correctly, any of the ways can help set the piece on fire in a proper way:

  • Gas lighter;
  • Multi or single flame torch/jet lighter;
  • Butane-based Zippo lighter;
  • Cedar match straws;
  • Regular matches;

The most proper way for lighting a cigar

Slow and with little heat is the greatest method for lighting a cigar. Even the heat created by a match or a regular gas lighter is enough to light a cigar. However, this process requires some patience. Very often you can see smokers with a cheroot in their mouths who hold a jet lighter very close to the tip and puff.\

How to light a cigar

The heat generated in this way is definitely too high for a piece. Tobacco burns at a very high temperature and the taste becomes bitter. After that, it takes several minutes to cool down the tobacco piece. This effect is exacerbated if a smoker continues to frequently and stubbornly tighten a cheroot.

How to light a cigar

The item’s tip should be set on fire evenly over the entire diameter of the item. By blowing slightly on the burning tip, you can check whether it is fully lit or not. Start at the edge, setting fire to the coverslip and binder sheets. In particular, the bonding sheet has good burning properties that help to set fire to the filler and ensure the best way to burn a cigar.

Lighting a cigar with a torch lighter

Modern torch lighters, with their distinctive blue flame, are now the most popular lighting devices among smokers because they are very practical. Their intense flame will not fade away even in wind or rain, but you should keep the cheroot just above the flame, not allowing it to touch. Gas lighters, such as the classic Zippo model, are usually not applied for lighting a cigar, because gas vapors can penetrate the piece and affect its taste.

How to light a cigar

Ideally, the flame should heat the cig without touching it, but it takes a lot of patience and practice. If you have not yet become handy with matches, there is an alternative – the blue flame of a torch lighter. They don’t produce enough heat to make a taste bitter, though you should still avoid tightening a cigar while lighting it.

How to light a cigar with matches?

A cigar can also be set on fire with a cedar matchstick or match. These methods require patience. Cedar matches that resemble wood straws are by far the most stylish way to light a cigar. The burning cedar has a wonderful aroma, which makes the ritual of lighting a cigar even more enjoyable. A matchstick made of cedarwood is made specifically for lighting cigars. Such matches can be purchased separately, and they often come with a box of Cuban cheroots.

A step-by-step guide to lit a cigar with such matches:

  • When burning cedar straws, very fine ashes are created, and it can never be blown out, otherwise, the ashes will scatter throughout the room, like a big cloud. Instead, hold the straw with the flame upright; it will go out in a few seconds;
  • Bring a cigar to the flame, and carefully scrolling it, set fire to the tobacco product from different sides;
  • Hold the piece well with your lips, raise it above the flame and sip the smoke without stopping the rotation;
  • After the tobacco product is lit, you need to slightly blow on it;

How to hold a cigar when lighting it?

Usually, smokers hold the piece with two fingers, supporting the bottom with a thumb. Between puffs, it is necessary to take such a position so that the ash looks up and does not fall down.

When lighting, a cigar must be in your hands, not in your teeth. Keep it above a short flame, at a distance of about a centimeter with an angle of 45o and slowly rotate until the heat (but not the fire) passes to the tip and spreads evenly over the entire area. It’s worth repeating: the fire should not touch a cig, you do not want to get it charred.

How to light a cigar

In this case, the process takes more time than smoking a whole cig. Nevertheless, this method is preferable. If you sip a cig, you will have to face the hot caustic smoke, a quite harmful one, but it can also spoil the pleasure of your first puffs, especially since the open cap of a fresh cigar can be slightly dried out, and when you light a cigar, you can taste the callousness.

To avoid undesirable consequences, some smokers use another method – when a smoldering corolla forms at the cap and the heat begins to move to the center, they blow the cheroot slightly several times, expelling hot smoke.

Lighting a cigar for the second time

Is it possible to light a cig again after the flame has gone out? Yes. But, of course, there are some exceptions. The tipping point occurs approximately 15 minutes after the cheroot is completely extinguished. So what happens then? Why is it necessary to cease the re-lighting of a cigar? When tobacco is burned, various substances contained in it are activated. After the cig goes out, these contents settle in and penetrate tobacco. If you light a cigar again for the second time, the taste will be changed and become unpleasant.

But if you need a light a cheroot again, remove ash completely from its tip in advance. Otherwise, it will be difficult to burn a cig properly for the second time. After the cigar has cooled down, the ash will go off easily.

Final thoughts

What is the best way of lighting a cigar? You see, a cigar should be burned carefully so that the tobacco does not overheat and does not become bitter. All of the above options can help. The main thing here is patience and the need to avoid tightening the cig too much, otherwise, even a match or torch lighter can cause excessive heating of tobacco.

How to light a cigar

My name is Jacob Williams, and I’m a logistics manager. My job is full of nervous moments; therefore, I started to smoke 8 years ago. I like to do different tricks with smoke using cigarettes, hookah or vape. That’s why my friends called me “Smokeprofy”. I started this blog to share my experience with you, and I hope it will be interesting.

How to light a cigar

There are many ways to light a cigar but let’s explore the proper way to do it. This will ensure it burns evenly and will result in a great smoking experience. The best way you can light a cigar is with a butane lighter. There are, however, other ways to do it.

In the following post, we’ll examine the other options and different flame types for lighting a cigar. Here at Cigar Cigar, we recommend the use of butane lighters, they work exceptionally well. Butane lighters are the cheapest and easiest to use.

There are cigar smokers that prefer to use a match and even cedar strips. The key thing when it comes to lighting your cigar is that the flame is odorless. Any chemicals that are in the matches/flames will transfer to your cigar which will alter the aroma and flavor.

You may as well leave the cigars in the box if you don’t intend to light it properly!

If you are a complete beginner stick to a butane lighter-it’s the easiest method and will ensure your cigar burns evenly throughout.

Best Ways To Light A Cigar

First and foremost let’s take a look at the best ways to light your cigar.

Torch Lighters

How to light a cigar

Butane lighters- the best and most reliable way to light cigars. Torch lighters are great for lighting cigars, they also have a much higher success rate of keeping the cigar lit and avoid an uneven burn. Take a look at our best cigar lighter selections.

Torch lighters are extremely powerful and are very impressive. Great for outdoors but still easily handled indoors. Torch lighters use butane fuel, which is the only fuel you should use to light cigars, there are also a lot of lighter styles to choose from.

If you aren’t into such a big lighter then the smaller butane lighters are probably more for you.


How to light a cigar

When using the correct matches and in the correct way, they can be a great way to light a cigar. In terms of cigar matches, you can purchase long wooden matches that are specifically made for cigars. They are produced with phosphorous instead of sulfur.

These matches are much longer and therefore burn longer and also have no chemical smell which can alter the taste and aroma. While we still recommend using a butane lighter, matches can be a cool, alternative way to light your cigars.

A great idea for celebratory events or special parties, just make sure you rotate the cigar when you use matches.

Cedar Spills

How to light a cigar

In many traditional cigar circles, cedar strips are the correct ways to light a cigar. We are yet to try them here at Cigar Cigar but you burn the cedar strip and that then burns the cigar. They look cool and we are eager to give them a go.

The huge advantage and possibly the reason why cigar aficionados like using them are that there are no chemicals, no fuel, no butane, no sulfur, and no phosphorous. Meaning your cigar is going to be enjoyed with all its’ flavors and aromas intact.

The disadvantage is that it can take a long time to light and is a bit of a risk to do so indoors.

Ways you Should Never Light a Cigar

Sulfur Matches & Candles

How to light a cigar

Using sulfuric matches or a candle flame will change the flavor and aroma of your cigar. Candles have a residue that is present in the wax. When burning this residue transfers into the flame and then into the cigar. This is also applicable to sulfur matches.

Sulfur is present in the flame when the match is first struck before the flame has started burning the wood. Upon striking the match the sulfur burns for a few seconds, this is going to transfer over to your cigar, giving it a tainted taste. Basically ruining the flavor and aroma of your cigar.

Zippo/Bic Lighters

How to light a cigar

Another method to avoid when lighting a cigar. While they may seem like a good idea a cigar should never be lit with a zippo or bic lighter. These lighters were predominantly produced for cigarettes.

The fuel used in these lighters varies and for that reason, you can never be sure if it has butane fuel in it. Any other fuel is going to leave an odor on your cigar which will change the taste. Sometimes they do have butane fuel and sometimes they don’t.

We don’t like to take the risk and always use a butane lighter as butane burns odorless. In addition to this, the flame from a bic lighter or zippo is not strong enough or big enough to adequately light a cigar.

In this instance, people become tempted to place the cigar into the flame. If you have read our guide to lighting a cigar you’ll know this is not advised. The cigar should be placed near the flame but not in it.

Bottom Line

While there are many ways to light a cigar, we still recommend the use of a butane lighter. The use of cheap matches and candles should be avoided but torch lighters and cigar matches can be used. For a more traditional approach try cedar strips. Head over to our review of the best cigar lighter to help with making your decision.

Sharing is Caring

Unless you have smoked a few before, lighting up a cigar can be a somewhat perplexing activity. You should begin by choosing a top-notch quality cigar. Cigars can be up to an inch thick, and a smaller one should be chosen by new smokers. You should enjoy the scent of the cigar you buy, because if you find the scent appalling, then you will likely not enjoy the experience. Once you have successfully chosen a cigar, one that has no soft spots when felt, there are still a few things you need to think about. There are certain things that all cigar smokers tend to do, and you do not want to be the one caught not knowing what you are doing. The following are all the things you need to know about lighting up a cigar for the first time.

Cutting Your Cigar

Before you light your cigar up, you want to clip off the end of the cigar. The finest way to cut off the end is with a purpose-built cigar clipper. Using a knife to cut a cigar is only suitable if you do not have a cigar clipper on hand. Biting off the end of a cigar like in an old movie ought to be avoided if at all possible. For the best smoking outcomes, you should slice off the end with a swift, solid gesture to avoid ripping the cigar.

What to Light a Cigar With

You have got a lot of options, but a torch lighter is considered the greatest choice for lighting the tip of the cigar. Wooden matches will also work, but they are hard to keep lit for the long periods of time that is necessary. The matches have to remain lit for a while to let the sulfur burn off before the cigar can be lit, which makes them an unfortunate choice for novices. On the other hand, normal cigarette lighters will light a cigar, but had better be evaded if possible. Many connoisseurs claim that the naphtha lighter fluid used chemicals that can disturb the taste of the cigar. You should never use random flames from things such as candles, paper matches or a stove to light a cigar otherwise the essence can be affected. How to light a cigar

When Beginning to Light a Cigar

Once you have an ideal flame, you can initiate lighting the cigar by holding it at a 45-degree angle above the blaze. Keep the blaze around three inches from the tip of the cigar and keep the cigar spinning and slowly puff on the cigar while waiting for the base to catch fire. Never let the direct flame touch the cigar. Keeping the fire a few inches away will bind the outer layers of the tobacco and hold the cigar together. If you touch the flame to the cigar, only the filler will catch fire, and the cigar will burn irregularly. The outer wrapper with become ashen and white when it has been properly toasted.

The Next Step in Lighting

After the initial light, take a look at the tip to make sure the cigar is burning evenly. Lightly puffing on the foot will warrant an ample lighting. Once the cigar has started burning, let it simmer for a bit. This small suspension will permit the newly ignited cigar to even out.

Next, is the time to light the filler. Using a longer wooden match will generate a bigger flame range so that you can ignite the total filler steadily. Holding the match about a half an inch from the cigar, with it between your lips rotating it as you suck in air. A gush of a blaze ought to sprout out from the end of the cigar, and a cloud of smoke should leave your mouth when the cigar is successfully lit.

Tips and Tricks

Most of the first-class handmade cigars that are more pricey will hold a very long ash before falling off. The higher quality cigars will have a whiter, less gray ash as well. The ash of a cigar should never be tapped off like with a cigarette. Bigger ash is a sign of a well-made cigar, but it should not be left too long. A lot of ash on the tip of a cigar can delay the airflow and make it burn unevenly or disturb the taste. It is suggested that you should not let the get any longer than an inch before you ash it by gently rolling it on the ashtray while waiting for it to break off.

Sometimes cigars begin to burn unevenly or get a run that is burning faster than the rest (this is called “cigar canoeing” or “running”). One way to fix this irregular fire is to rotate the cigar where the part that is burning too slow is on the bottom. Since fire needs oxygen to burn, the bottom of the cigar burns more quickly. This method should even out the cigar’s flame. Another, method to solve the irregular burning is to apply moisture to the wrapper where the fire needs to slow down. Be sure not to touch the tip that is on fire, only touch the wrapper to keep from being burned. A final way to solve the problem is to burn off the uneven section. Roasting the end of the cigar with a flame will cause the end of the cigar that is too long to fall off. Just be careful not to be burned by the falling ash.

Getting rid of a cigar’s label is left up to personal preference. If you want to remove it, an excellent tip it to leave it on for a few minutes first. The high temperature of the cigar will relax the paste, and it is less probable for damage to be done to the cigar’s wrap.

Relighting a Cigar

Relighting cigars is an important thing to know because by nature they will go out if not puffed on every few minutes. Some people believe that you can save an incompletely smoked cigar for more than 24 hours; however, it is best to dodge relighting a cigar that has not been smoked in more than two hours. Relighting a fresh cigar is not a problem. When reviving a cigar, hold the flame in front of the tip and puff outward to assist in ejecting any long-standing vapors or ash that may have become surrounded in the cigar. After that step, you can follow the same typical lighting actions as when igniting a cigar for the first time. To put out a cigar, lay in on an ashtray and let it go out naturally.


Lighting your first cigar can be a daunting task if you are uninformed. After selecting a superior quality cigar, that does not flake or have any other flaws; you should cut off the tip. A cigar clipper is suggested, but a knife can be used to cut a cigar. Never bite off the tip of a cigar because the cigar will rip. Choosing what to ignite the cigar with is very important for preserving the flavor. A long wooden match or butane lighter is suggested for conserving the best essence of a cigar. Lighting the outer layers of the cigar first will hold it together so that the filler can then be lit. Once you learn how to light your cigar properly, you can really relax and enjoy the hobby.

Once you have successfully cut the cigar, the next step is cigar lighting.

Cigar lighting is NOT like lighting a cigarette, it takes longer. The important thing about lighting a cigar is that the cigar must be evenly lit and is not contaminated by the source of the flame.

The best lighters to use are butane lighters, which are odorless. There are also sulfur-free wooden matches that work great for cigar lighting.

Avoid using lighters that run on gasoline or lighter fluid because they give off a petrol-like order that can ruin the flavors of the cigar. In addition, avoid candles and matches that have a high sulfur content as these can also ruin the cigar flavors.

If you don’t have sulfur-free match just use a wooden match and wait a few seconds for the sulfur to burn off before putting the flame on your cigar.

When lighting a cigar make sure you have a decent sized flame. Hold the cigar horizontally, with the tip of the flame just touching it. Then slowly revolve the cigar around until the end is evenly heated and avoid overheating the filler.

Then gently blow on the glowing end to ensure that it is burning evenly, if not put the flame on it again. Next put the cigar in your mouth, then draw slowly on the cigar, and the cigar should now be ready to smoke.

While you are smoking the cigar you should not knock the ash off the end of a cigar. The ash helps to keep the cigar burning at the correct temperature. When the ash looks as if it will fall off by itself, just set the end of the cigar over an ashtray and let the ashes fall off naturally.

If your cigar goes out while you are smoking it, as it might happen, tap away any ash, relight it as before, and resume smoking it. But beware that relighting a cigar after more than a couple of hours will almost certainly mean that its flavor is significantly impaired.

When to extinguish a cigar is entirely up to you. But a good guide will be in the taste. The shorter it becomes, the harsher the flavors because of the concentration of tars, which is a good indicator that you’ve had the best out of it and this typically happens about two-thirds of the way down.

When you are finished with your cigar don’t stub it out or crush it, as this will create an unpleasant odor and a mess. You should let the cigar smolder out on its own in an ashtray and dispose of it in a suitable place.

How To Light A Cigar Video

How to light a cigar How to light a cigar

There’s a certain art when it comes to lighting cigars. That is to say, it’s not as quick as lighting a candle or cigarette. Patience is key when trying to light a cigar as they are big, tight, and all-natural. That is to say; there are certain steps one must follow. An even burn is important because all the components of a handcrafted cigar must burn together by design. In other words, you will experience a wonderful, flavorful moment, just as the cigar maker intended. A simple mistake should certainly not ruin the delicacy of a premium handcrafted cigar. Additionally, if you want to learn how to properly light a cigar, you will need a cigar cutter, matches, lighter, or a butane lighter. It’s always helpful to choose a place with little or no wind blowing your way.

Light a handcrafted cigar with these 5 steps:

    Choose your handmade cigar

Cigars are made in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and strength profiles. Visualize yourself with a cigar and choose one that suits you best. Go with a size and shape that feels good in your hand and mouth. Not too big or small. If you can, smell the cigar foot beforehand to see if you find the aroma appealing, it’s most likely you’ll enjoy it. First time smoking cigars? Try and start with a mild half or petite corona.
How to light a cigar

First, start by cutting the head of the cigar no more than 1/4″. If you need more guidance on this step, make sure to check out how to cut a cigar.
How to light a cigar

Select your lighter

It is vital to use an odorless flame. Candles or stovetops are a crime as they ruin the flavor of your stogie. Butane lighters or wooden matches are used to properly light a cigar.

How to light a cigar

Light the cigar

Preheat your cigar by placing the foot over the lighter. Make sure the cigar doesn’t directly touch the flame and rotate it slowly. Once the edges of the wrapper are thinly blacked, your cigar is ready. You can then raise it to your mouth and take the first puff. Then slowly rotate your cigar once it is in your mouth to ensure an even burn. To do so, place the cigar at a 30-degree angle towards the lighter and continue to rotate slowly. Gently draw air into your mouth, be careful not to inhale the smoke.
How to light a cigar

Sit back and relax

Now you can enjoy the delightful flavors your favorite cigar has to offer. Remember to really enjoy a cigar; it must be done slowly. Try to take one puff every minute or so. Surround yourself with good friends and a nice view.
How to light a cigar

Uneven burn?

Do you think you have an uneven burn? After lighting your cigar, always make sure you have an even burn to enjoy the moment truly. If it is uneven, do not worry. Complete another rotation with the lighter to ensure an even burn. In addition, if you are uncertain, slightly blow your cigar to make sure you have an even glow.

Pro tip torch lighters tend to be the preferred choice amongst aficionados because they are quick and easy to use, even in windy conditions. They come in single flame all the way up to 4 flames. The bigger the ring gauge of the cigar, the more flames you want. Personally, I buy 10 cheap Bic lighters and have them spread all over my house. You won’t be sad when you lose one of those.

Moreover for cigar information make sure to contact Cigar Country via their contact form or live chat.

There are plenty of ways a cigar can be lit, and this blog attempts to inform you about the perfect way to do so. If you are a beginner, learning to properly light a cigar is important. Lighting a cigar takes a lot of patience. It’s different from lighting a cigarette or a candle, for instance. Initially, you will make mistakes, but don’t get disheartened by them. Try again, till you succeed. What’s more, enjoy the process of learning.

A perfectly lit cigar is one in which the wrapper, binder, and filler are all uniformly lit. The flavors are beautifully blended and experienced, just as the cigar maker wanted you to. Those who know how to light a cigar perfectly do not have to fight an uneven burn. Let us go through the steps to light a cigar the ideal way:

  1. Light the cigar like you’re lighting a marshmallow in a campfire; that is to say, keep the cigar above but near the flame of the lighter. Position them so that they are just on the brink of touching each other. If you directly light the cigar it will get too hot and become useless. However, there’s no need to get anxious if you accidentally let the flame touch the cigar. It won’t ruin the cigar. Calmly but quickly, move the smoke out of the flame.
  2. Just as a marshmallow is evenly rotated over the fire, the cigar too needs to be rotated under the lighter’s flame for all its parts to get heated evenly. This will take time, and you need to be patient till a glowing ring forms around the cigar’s tip and the edges are blackened.
  3. Take the first puff by raising the end of the cigar that is not lit. While drawing in the smoke, the ember should evenly burn. If they are not, once again show light to the cigar. No show of the embers is an indication that the cigar isn’t lit properly. You can gently blow on the embers to make smooth and rounded ash.

Lighting up a cigar perfectly is easy, but you need to make sure that you do not try to light it using a flame that might change its essence. For example – candles, oil-fueled lighters, matches, etc.

Get to know the best lighting method to light a cigar in a perfect manner!

Before you fire up a premium cigar, knowing how to cut and light it correctly is essential. It’s not rocket science, but there are techniques you can follow to ensure your cigar will draw correctly and burn evenly. There are also a few subtle nuances to keep in mind when you’re lighting up different cigar shapes. Here are some easy tips to consider when you’re firing up a standard 5 x 50 Robusto, a big ring gauge cigar, a box-pressed format, or a Perfecto.

How to light a cigar

Lighting Standard Shapes

Lighting a cigar in standard shape, also called a Parjejo (e.g., Robusto, Corona, Toro, or Churchill), is pretty straightforward. Whether you use a soft-flame lighter, a high-performance torch, matches, or cedar spills, hold the foot of your cigar just above the flame. Lighting your cigar with different methods can influence its taste and burn. You don’t want to submerge the end of your cigar directly in the flame.

Gently toast the foot and draw the flame toward your cigar when you puff on it. Rotate your cigar as you light it so that the entire circumference is lit equally for an even burn. Once your cigar is lit, inspect the foot and gently blow on it. The cherry at the end should display a uniform burn.

If your cigar is not burning evenly after a few minutes, inspect the end and apply a touch up with your lighter or matches to encourage the burn to even out. There are ways to remedy an uneven burn if you think your cigar is canoeing or tunnelling.

How to light a cigar

Lighting a Big Ring Gauge Cigar

Big ring gauge cigars are everywhere. Cigars that were 54 or 56 in ring gauge used to be considered pretty thick, but today it’s common to encounter cigars with a 60, 64, or even 70 ring gauge. If you’re a fan of ultra-fat cigars, summon some extra patience when you’re lighting up. Big ring gauges take longer to ignite simply due to the volume of tobaccos they contain.

It’s a common sight to see fans of big ring gauge cigars blast the foot with a powerful high-octane cigar torch with three or four jets pumping butane into the end, but that’s overkill. You don’t have to hit the foot of a fat cigar with a flame-thrower to light it. Gently toast the end, but be a little more patient in rotating your cigar over the flame, whether you’re using a soft flame or a torch lighter. If you’re using matches, strike two at the same time to produce a wider flame. We recommend using two matches for all cigars in general, but especially for big ring gauge shapes.

How to light a cigar

Lighting a Torpedo or Pyramid

A little more patience is also required when lighting a Torpedo or a Pyramid-shaped cigar. Because the shape of a Torpedo tapers at the head, the draw will be tighter. Gently toast the foot of the cigar over the flame, but when you draw on it, you may have to pull more aggressively during the first few puffs.

Torpedo-shaped cigars generally cost more because they are more complicated to roll. The tighter draw they offer delivers a greater concentration of flavour and heat directly onto your palate, which increases a cigar’s intensity. Although the draw is tighter, you should still be able puff without obstruction and achieve an even burn.

How to light a cigar

Lighting a Box-Pressed Cigar

Because box-pressed cigars possess sharp corners, the key to lighting them correctly is in rotating the cigar over the flame. Turn the cigar in 25% increments as you take your first draws. This way, one side or corner is less likely to canoe or burn unevenly. As with any cigar, avoid chomping down on the end that’s in your mouth. You can crimp the draw and provoke an uneven burn. Due to the corners on a box-pressed cigar, an unwanted uneven burn will be more dramatic if you bite down on the end that’s in your mouth. The air passes through one side of the cigar faster and with less effort than the side that is constricted.

How to light a cigar

Lighting a Perfecto

Perfecto-shaped cigars are handmade in a bulbous and visually striking format. The foot of the cigar is noticeably fatter than the head. The shape tapers from the foot to the head. But, the foot is encapsulated by the wrapper leaf which culminates in an abrupt nipple at the very tip.

When it comes to lighting a Perfecto, be sparing. You only have to light the very end of the nipple at the foot. The draw will be tougher in the beginning, but the advantage to smoking a Perfecto is that you are getting much more flavour directly from the wrapper leaf in the initial puffs. Any shape with a closed foot is designed to achieve the same effect. Gradually allow the girth of the cigar to ignite as you smoke it rather than trying to blast the foot with a triple-jet lighter.

How to light a cigar

Lighting a Culebra

A Culebra is three cigars braided together, typically bound by a single band as well as a ribbon at the foot. Culebra is Spanish for snake. Origins of the Culebra are debatable. Some stories suggest the unusual shape was invented as a method to track what cigars the rollers in a factory were smoking. Supposedly, cigar rollers were allotted only Culebras for personal consumption. Any factory workers caught smoking traditional shapes were deemed thieves. There is little evidence to back up this finding.

In any case, if you encounter the rare opportunity to smoke a Culebra, know that the three cigars are meant to be smoked individually. Remove the cigar band and the ribbon at the foot and gently untwist the cigars from their entanglement. Don’t try to straighten them out, though. Each of the cigars in a Culebra is intended to be smoked in its curlicue shape. Cut the cigar’s head and fire up the foot.

The Culebra consists of three thinner ring gauge cigars, like a standard Panetela (6 x 38). The cigars tend to be under-filled and are braided together while the tobacco is still wet and pliable. Because of the nonlinear shape of each cigar in a Culebra, you may have to touch up the foot with your lighter as you smoke it.

How to light a cigar

Cigars, much to their credit, can burn a long while. The idea of having a long, relaxing smoke is one of their principal selling points, and where truly high-end cigars are concerned, smokers are often willing to pay quite a premium for that experience! There will come a time, however, when one won’t be able to finish their entire cigar without interruption and many smokers wonder if it’s okay to relight a cigar or if the whole thing is ruined if put out before it’s finished. The good news is that a cigar can be relit, though with some change of flavor. Here’s how to relight a cigar and finish enjoying your smoke.

How to light a cigar

As tar builds up in the tobacco during the smoking process, the flavor of the cigar inevitably changes. This change in and of itself is not necessarily unpleasant. In fact, some cigar smokers enjoy the flavor of a half to almost completely smoked cigar to a fresh one. The effect can seem more pronounced when a cigar is put out and relit, however.

The tobacco in the center of the cigar will likely have a different appearance than that around the edges. In most cases, it will be a bit darker. This is nothing to worry about and the cigar will smoke fine. The lighting process for relighting a cigar is identical to the first light, involving turning the cigar over the flame. Torch lighters, liquid-fuel lighters or butane lighters will work fine, there is nothing at all that differs in the lighting process.

How to light a cigar

Before relighting, either knock off the ash at the foot of the cigar or trim the cigar back to where the fresh tobacco and wrapper is exposed. Any cigar smoker should have either a cutting tool or one of the many cigar cutter lighters available on the market. When the cigar is cut back, the tobacco will likely appear somewhat discolored, usually darker, especially around the center of the cigar. This is nothing about which one needs to be concerned.

Given the size of most high-end cigars and the price that many of them command, it would be a terrible waste to throw half of one away. Cigars will sometimes go out on their own, as well, particularly if one takes a while between puffs. Whatever the reason, one doesn’t need to be wasteful and the cigar can always be relit. Remember that multiple relights will increase the change in flavor so there may be a point where the quality of the smoke changes enough to make it undesirable to some smokers. Most often, however, even the most sensitive and discriminating smokers will find the taste of a cigar that has been relit once or twice completely acceptable and just as enjoyable.

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