Of the various and sundry questions that flood our Facebook inbox each week, one very common subject among new-jack cigar smoker inquiries is seeking instruction on how to hold a cigar.
I’m a little bit psychic, and so I know that you’re thinking “there is no wrong or right way to hold a cigar,” and you are correct. To get the most obvious answer out of the way, there is no concrete right or wrong way to hold a cigar, it comes down to what’s most comfortable for the individual.
That being said, there are some common cigar-holding styles that smokers seem to gravitate towards, whether it be for comfort, appearance, a mix of both, or something else entirely. And, like all body language, the way you hold your cigar can be telling in regards to your persona. Here’s a thorough guide to the most common methods and our take on what they may say about the smoker:
1. The “Man About Town”
With the cigar positioned at the top of the middle finger knuckle and held in place by the thumb and curled index finger, almost as if permanently held in the way you’d raise a glass for a toast, the Man About Town’s chosen stance reveals his social butterfly status. The man who holds his cigar like this is an approachable, congenial, and talkative type – a real peach. This is the guy who you’re happy to see arrive at the cigar lounge when you’re in the mood for conversation, and not so happy to see when you show up in search of a nice, quiet spot to nurse your hangover with a couple of good smokes. This cheerful chap seems to know everybody, get along with most, and is quick to offer a light or nip of his whisky. Don’t mind if I do.
2. The “Connoisseur”
The Connoisseur has great respect for the cigar he’s smoking, as evidenced by his choosing to hold it as if it were a holy relic. This reverent grip leaves the majority of the cigar and its band exposed and visible as not to obstruct the view of the beauty, and often is accompanied by a nod of approval or look of admiration. This gentleman has a true appreciation for fine handmade cigars, and probably knows a good bit about the subject as well. You may want to go to this guy for recommendations or tips, as he clearly knows a good smoke when he sees (or tastes) it and in all likelihood can teach you a thing or two.
3. The “Boss”
The Boss’s commanding grip with the cigar almost completely enclosed in his grasp can often be observed in swift motions accompanying his barking of orders. A real “utility” style of holding a cigar, this firm four-finger pinch is strictly business, and usually indicates that the practitioner is a no-nonsense man (or lady) who stands his ground and not afraid to lay down the law, even in your local smoke shop, even if he has no authority there. Tread lightly when you see the Boss.
4. The “Mogul”
Kind of a cross between the Man About Town and the Boss, The Mogul’ s positioning of the thumb and index finger cradling the cigar as it points straight forward suggests that the holder is a man on a mission, a serious mover and shaker, and is used to calling the shots but is usually not too much of a dick about it. This technique shows a general respect for the tobacco craft and puts a cigar is the ultimate ash-flicking position as well, making it the perfect combination of form and function. Feel free to kick back and shoot the breeze with The Mogul, just be prepared for him to try to sell you something at some point.
5. The “Prime Minister”
A favorite pose of quite possibly the most famous of all BOTL’s, the Prime Minister method gets its name from none other than Sir Winston Churchill – a man who was rarely photographed without a sizeable stogie jutting out from his jaw. A few office sizes (and income figures) up from the Boss, the Prime Minister is too busy shaking hands and signing important documents to hold his cigar in any traditional manner. This powerful and diplomatic fellow has mastered the art of speaking through his stogie. He’s typically affable, gracious, and well-mannered when you encounter him, and though the authenticity of those attributes may vary, he’s always good for an Instagram-friendly photo op.
6. The” Novice”
The Novice’s awkward two finger approach is indicative of a guy who has no clue what he’s doing. This loose and goofy peace-sign squeeze gets worse with the larger the cigar it attempts to grapple, and is the perfect perilous posture for dropping a stick. This poor bloke is clearly in need of some guidance, so here’s your chance to be a hero – when you see the Novice, strike up a conversation and offer some advice, starting with “Don’t hold your cigar like it’s a giant cigarette, dingus.”
7. The “Diceman”
Very few people in history have mastered this difficult and somewhat vulgar technique, and we certainly don’t recommend it. Highly unorthodox.
Hopefully this guide will help you get a good handle on your own stogie-holding style and provide a little insight into the grip game of your herfing buddies. Do you have a unique way of holding a cigar that you’d like to share? Let us know in a comment or shoot us a pic of it via direct message on Facebook so we can add it to our repertoire.