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Cigar Rant: Stogie Peeves

Before I start this post, let me say that I’m not trying to alienate anybody or make any novice smokers feel unwelcome in any way. I’m also not trying to say that there’s any wrong way to smoke a cigar. There are just certain habits, which I’ve noticed more in new smokers, that can make smoking a cigar just a little bit unpleasant, not only for the smoker, but also for his or her smoking buddies.

you wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

These are habits which, when I see someone fall prey to any of them, I cringe a little knowing that if I spoke up and tried to correct them, I’d end up looking like a pompous ass. That’s why I decided to take all that pent up awkwardness and stuff it into one post, for the good of the smoking community (and for the amusement of anybody who has noticed these things as well). Anyway, without further ado, here’s the list:

Smoking too fast
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this one. A new smoker will pick up a cigar, slice off the cap, fire up the torch/lighter/matches, and start puffing away like it’s some kind of race. It is crucial to take it slowly—when you’re lighting up, puff slowly and spin the cigar, rather than puffing so rapidly that your cigar catches on fire. Also, waiting a minute between puffs can mellow the cigar a lot so that its flavors aren’t hidden behind a huge wall of hot, peppery smoke. This can also prevent an inexperienced smoker from getting sick from overloading on nicotine (hey, it’s happened to everybody… to me, at least).

Ashing compulsively
According to Leland, one of our customer service reps, a centimeter of ash at the end of your cigar can cool the cherry significantly, some say by up to 50 degrees (I’ve heard both Fahrenheit and Celsius…someone help me out here), so in theory, the longer you keep your ash, the mellower the smoke will stay. This means that frequent ashing can not only make a huge mess, but it could also turn your smoke harsh and bitter before it would otherwise.

Stubbing out a cigar
Out of all the bad habits I’ve listed so far, I see this one most often. As you may have learned from Zac’s post on the subject, stubbing out your cigar is not only unnecessary, but it can also cause a pretty horrid stench to emerge from your cigar. Unless you live in a drought climate, your cigar will more than likely go out on its own when left in an ashtray. Otherwise, if you live in a particularly dry region, keep a cup of water handy so you can simply douse the cherry once you’re finished. But stubbing your cigar, no matter where you’re smoking, releases the stale, burnt aromas that get trapped inside during the smoke, causing an unpleasant odor to seep out and permeate whatever space you’re smoking in.

Beheading a cigar
By beheading a cigar, I mean cutting off too much of the cap, and this one is a huge no-no for two reasons, and it’s one of the easiest things to screw up (I still do it from time to time). First off, when cutting a cigar, it’s a good idea to cut off the minimum amount needed to provide a good draw. You can always cut more if needed, but you can never cut less if you’ve already cut the whole cap off. Secondly, and more importantly, the cap is what keeps the cigar from unraveling once it’s cut. If you cut the whole cap off, the wrapper will eventually come off with it, and needless to say, this can make for a pretty unpleasant smoking experience.

Anyway, as I said, this post wasn’t meant to alienate anyone or make anyone feel unwelcome to the cigar community. These are just some things that every smoker should avoid in the interest of getting the maximum amount of enjoyment out of a fine stogie. Anyway, do these or any other habits drive anyone else crazy, or does anyone just plain disagree with me? Feel free to post a comment!