Guest Article – by Luzzie Normand
Tips and Tricks: Maximizing Your Smoke: How to Enrich the Cigar Experience
The culture of wine and the culture of smoking cigars are not as dissimilar as you might have originally thought. Both rely on the individuals taste, olfactory responses and both have a certain amount of technique and history that go into enhancing the overall experience of the wine or cigar. For cigars, the process of smoking a nice stogie is not that tricky. You take your cigar, find a lighter, draw in enough air to get a fair amount of smoke and then exhale. But aside from these three basic steps, there are several more that can create an even more enjoyable experience.
Below are three great tips that can elicit an even greater cigar smoking experience.
Permeate Your Mouth
There is no better way to really relish in all the notes of a cigar then to really let the smoke of it wash all over your palate. Letting the smoke cover the entirety of your mouth will let you pick up on all of the qualities of the cigar, most of which you might have missed had you simply puffed it in and exhaled. For the first timer, you might want to try this one out by yourself as it can produce some pretty strange glances from anyone around you.
To start, cut your cigar, light it up and inhale it. With the smoke in your mouth, swirl it around and let it touch every part of the inside of your mouth. To really accomplish this, you might need to move your cheeks in and out and force the smoke around in your mouth. While you might look like a deranged frog, the movements with your cheek will allow you to really experience every nuance of the cigar.
Rather than breathing the smoke out right away, let it sit a little longer in your mouth. By keeping the smoke in your mouth just a few moments longer, you will hopefully begin to experience new flavors and hints of other notes that needed an additional few seconds to develop.
Attention to Aesthetics
Remember the old adage, “never judge a book by its cover?” While this may ring true to the world of literature, you can throw this notion out the window when it comes to shopping for a cigar. A lot can be said about the quality, taste and value of a cigar just by taking a few moments to really look it over. The first thing you should be taking a close look at is the wrapper that the cigar comes in. Before you decide to buy, pick up the cigar in question and really inspect the wrapper that comes around it. Closely look at the veins of the wrapper. If these veins are small, there is a pretty good chance that the quality of the cigar will be much higher than a cigar with large, rough veins.
Next, look at how well the outer leaves are wrapped and applied to the cigar. Are they tight or does it seems to be exhibiting small signs of unraveling? After this, take a look at the cap of the cigar and then navigate down to the foot of the cigar. What do the filler tobacco leaves look like? Are these leaves folded or are the rolled? Do they exhibit variations in color (meaning several different tobacco leaves went into the production). Does the cigar have enough space on the end for a really nice, even burn?
A lot goes into the creation and manufacturing of cigars, taking a few extra moments to pay attention to these fine details will really deepen your appreciation for the culture of cigar smoking.
Pick up on the Flavors
Perhaps the best way to ensure that your smoking experience will be top notch is to do a little research on what is on the market, what is scoring well with reviewers and which cigars offer the best experience per price. Before you place an order online or head on down to your local cigar shop, take a moment to educate yourself.
Not only will a quality cigar review give you the most knowledge about what you should be keeping an eye out for, it will also set you up to pay attention to certain notes, flavors and aromas that a certain cigar will elicit.
If you have been smoking a lot of the same cigars lately, go outside of your comfort zone and try something new, you might be pleasantly surprised. We can often become acclimated to what we use time and again, switching your cigar varietals up here and there will keep your palate on edge and your senses refined.
Do you have any other great tips or stories about how you enrich your cigar experience? I would be thrilled to hear what you have to say below. Happy smoking!