Smoking Cigars with Rafael Nodal (video)

Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends Cigars gives us some pointers on how to better enjoy the cigar smoking experience.


Hi, I’m Rafael Nodal from Boutique Blends Cigars, and I’m here to talk a little about how to smoke a cigar. And I don’t mean how to put it in your mouth and how to really pop a cigar, but the whole experience of a cigar.

What happens when you have a great cigar? A great cigar that you’re smoking, and I can tell you that if you had opened that cigar in rituals that I see it done all the time, it will only enhance that smoking experience. For example, these days most cigars come in cellophane, and it’s hard to really understand and appreciate the beauty of a cigar through our plastic.

So the first thing you need to do is take the cigar out of the plastic and look at the wrapper. Look at the beautiful wrapper, beautiful, natural occurrences on the wrapper, whether you have veins or well-constructed, where it’s appealing for your eyes.

You always look at your foot, and that way you can see how well-constructed, whether it’s packed with tobacco, whether you have holes on it, and you touch it and then it tells you a little about how the cigar was constructed, whether it was well-constructed, whether the cap is put correctly, and especially whether the wrapper is consistent with a good cigar.

Then you cut the cigar, and the cutting experiences sometimes we underestimate that because sometimes we just cut the cigar and put it right in the mouth and things, but the best idea is to first put it in your mouth. Put a little bit wet, especially in the cold winters, because sometimes when you cut it straight, it might crack some of the tobacco. So by doing that first it will give you some of the of taste of what that leaf tastes like, but in addition it will help you cut the cigar.

Once you cut the cigar, you put it in your mouth, and you have a cold draw without lighting. Then you try to see if the air flows correctly, or it’s too tight or is too loose, and all you get is air and that the right mix of tobacco and air.

Once you light it up, that cigar, in my case by the way, being Cuban, in Cuba we just didn’t have a lot of things and especially not a cigar cutter, I used my teeth. I don’t recommend that. Certainly my dentist doesn’t recommend that. I’ve been known to really go to my dentist a couple of times with cracks on my teeth. So don’t do that at home and use a cutter. There are fantastic cutters on the market.

Once you have the cigar, put it in your mouth and, again, do couple of dry puffs and try to get that aroma before.

The next thing is, when you’re lighting up a cigar, don’t overheat the cigar. Don’t burn the cigar. It happens all the time. Especially when you use some of these today four or five flame torches, you sometimes tend to just toast it and will not be able to capture some of the same flavors that the tobacco should give you at the beginning.

Turn the cigar around and take your time to smell the initial aroma, like a flower, like the perfume of a woman. Take time to enjoy it, and I promise you, if you smoke a cigar slower by opening, by really enjoying this beautiful work of art made by artisans that really spend years and years trying to make the perfect cigar, by enjoying some of the initial flavors and characteristics of the cigar, I promise you that smoking a cigar will not be like the old traditional cigar.

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