Cigar smoking with others almost assuredly precipitates great conversation, however, there may be times when you're smoking a cigar with a group of folks that do not care for the smoke or are very sensitive to smoke. When in a group and you want to light up your favorite cigar, always ask permission to smoke. Also, some public locations don't allow smoking or allow you to smoke in a specific area. Always ask the proprietor of the business if smoking is allowable and where you can smoke. Building respect with people outside our smoking community is just another way of creating a positive impression of who the "members of puff".
Selecting a Cigar
Choosing the perfect cigar for your occasion can seem very daunting if you walk into a cigar shop for the first time. Take your time in selecting the cigar for you. Ask the staff what they recommend based on your tastes (mild, medium, full). Remember that your taste can change throughout the day so you may want a very mild cigar in the morning and ramp up to a more fuller bodied cigar in the afternoon or evening. When selecting a cigar, never let the cigar touch your nose when smelling an uncellophaned cigar. Handle uncellophaned cigars by the band and never take cigars out of the cellophane to smell them. When entering a walk-in humidor, please do not smoke inside out of respect for people who maybe inside the humidor who may not care for the cigar that you're smoking as well as respect for the shop in the event your ash from your cigars falls inside the humidor.
Preparing Your Cigar
When preparing your cigar, cut the cap with a genuine cigar cutter such as a double blade cutter, cigar punch, or a V-cutter. Don’t use a pen knife or a box cutter, and most of all, don’t bite off the cap. It’s just bad taste, and the latter can cause a number of problems, particularly unraveling.
When toasting the foot, take your time, and keep the flame as far away from the foot as possible while still being able to char the tobacco. If you use a torch lighter, you can easily ruin a cigar by holding the flame too close. And please hold the cigar in your hand, not your mouth, so you can see what you’re doing. When it begins to glow red, gently blow on the foot to spread the heat across the entire foot. This may require a little extra toasting, especially if the cigar has a lot of oily ligero tobacco in the blend. Those leaves are usually the black areas that don’t take right away to the flame.
Finally, whatever you do, don’t just put the cigar in your mouth and light it like a cigarette or you can overcook it, which often results in a lousy light and a bitter smoke.
Ever notice how some cigar smokers finish their cigars in record time? Chances are they are former cigarette smokers or still are; they’re used to puffing often. Even if you have never touched a cigarette you should hit on the cigar roughly about once a minute or two. It lets the cigar cool down a little, and allows you to pick-up the flavors and aromas the blender intended. Besides, cigar smoking is supposed to be relaxing. Take your time and savor it, like chewing your food slowly. Otherwise, you may find the cigar isn’t living up to its rep, and that could be your fault for not being patient.
A lot of cigar smokers get a kick out of seeing how long they can get the ash on their cigar. Oh, it’s a fun game, but normally not a good way to smoke. If you doubt me, think about how many times you’ve ashed yourself as a result. A one-half to an inch of ash is just about right. It also acts as a filter allowing the cigar to smoke a tad cooler.
Once you get to that one-inch point, gently tap the ash into an ashtray. You can also roll the ash against the wall of the ashtray to shape it into a neat little cone. Whatever you do, NEVER tap it on the floor, or into the palm plant in the corner of the room.
Putting Out Your Cigar
Are you a “nubber?” You know, one of those cigar smokers who smokes their cigar down to the very last inch or more? There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the cigar is still delivering good flavor, and there are some cigars that will taste good to the very end. However, most of the time the cigar will start to turn bitter within that last inch or two.
If you continue to relight it to get every penny out of that $10 cigar, it will only get worse. Moreover, if a cigar turns bitter early on and doesn’t change or gets worse, you should just put it down and let it go out. It’s not going to improve no matter how long you stay with it, so let it go.
When you do let it go, don’t snuff it out like a cigarette. Simply lay the butt in the ashtray saddle and it will extinguish itself. Snuffing it out only causes it to release a sour odor and leaves an ugly mess.
Handle Your Cigars with Care
You've just purchased a great cigar so treat it with "kindness". A cigar, while being a disposable commodity, should always be handled properly as it was manufactured with the great care from the filler to the binder to the wrapper. Don't throw them back into their box, don't try to squeeze them in you backpack, your purse, or other compartments. Always store them properly and you'll receive a lot of payback when bringing them out at a later time and smoking them with your friends. Check with us regarding traveling humidors and cigar cases.
I know a fellow who’s a “chain cigar smoker.” Not one minute after he puts his cigar out, like magic, another appears in his mouth, and they’re always excellent, complex cigars. There’s nothing wrong with smoking several cigars in one sitting if you can handle it, but give your palate a break! Try to wait at least a half an hour before preparing your next cigar. You might also want to cleanse your palate with bitter lemon or lime soda. By chain smoking you can get palate burnout. That first cigar may have tasted great, but without a hiatus between smokes, don’t be surprised if the next cigar doesn’t taste right.
Here again, the whole point of cigar smoking is to relax and enjoy the flavors and aromas. If you take your time during and in-between smoking cigars, you’re more likely to get your money’s worth. The maker of some very fine and highly-respected cigars, who could smoke 50 cigars a day if he wanted, recently told me that he only smokes two cigars a day; one in the morning with coffee, and another at around 3:00 in the afternoon. That time-lapse between cigars allows him to get the most out of each smoke, so he consistently enjoys his daily cigars.
So, there’s some food for thought to digest the next time you light up your favorite cigar in a cigar lounge. Keep in mind that most of the cigar etiquette tips noted above apply to wherever you happen to be partaking of the leaf. Suffice it to say, it’s better to be a gentleman who smokes cigars than a cigar smoker who’s not a gentleman.
SEASONING YOUR HUMIDOR
Setting up your new humidor and new hygrometer can be confusing. To make it less confusing we have included easy to follow information below on seasoning your humidor, Charging your humidifier (adding humidity) and directions for Calibrating your Hygrometer. Follow these instructions and you will be on the way to enjoying your new humidor! There are different thoughts on how to proceed in seasoning your humidor. We suggest you ignore everything you read elsewhere or hear from your friends, Aunt Harriet, and even the literature inside the humidor! Our directions are complete and accurate.
It takes time, patience and a little know-how to get a new humidor ready to hold cigars. You're trying to recreate the tropical environments where most cigars are made, and you can't rush the process. Putting cigars into a dry humidor can ruin good smokes, so take the time and read and follow the directions below.
Most humidors have an interior made of untreated Spanish cedar, the preferred wood for humidifying and aging premium cigars. The wood needs to be humidified, or "seasoned", before the box is ready to hold cigars. If you purchased a Cigar Oasis Humidifier, you will not have to season your humidor manually as the Cigar Oasis will do this for you in eight hours.
The first thing to do is take a new sponge - make sure it is unscented and free of soap - and wet it with a liberal dose of Glacier Mist or distilled water (use of tap water is not advisable). Wipe down all the exposed wood, including any trays and dividers, and the interior of the lid. Do not wet finished wood surfaces. Avoid using a paper towel or a fraying cloth; these will literally leave a paper trail on the wood. After you've wiped down the wood, squirt the sponge with more distilled water, then place it inside the humidor on a plastic bag - to avoid direct contact with the wood - and close the lid.
Close the humidor with the damp sponge inside, and leave it overnight. The next day, check the sponge. If it is fairly dry, add more distilled water. If it is very damp, leave it alone.
Let the humidor sit another night with the sponge. Remove the sponge and plastic bag the next day. The walls of the humidor have now absorbed all the water they need and you can safely store your cigars.
PREPARING YOUR HYGROMETER
Examine the hygrometer. Follow instructions for the device if specific instructions are provided. Otherwise, most units can be easily removed from the humidor. A few types are not designed for removal. The following treatment should not be applied to a non-removable hygrometer or one that is "pre-calibrated." If you are uncertain, inquire with us before proceeding with the next step.
If the hygrometer is removable follow these instructions:
Place the hygrometer in a wet cloth for about half an hour or until the unit reads 95-100%.
Return it to its normal place and allow 2 hours to reset.
If the hygrometer does not reach 95-100% as described above, you will need to calibrate the hygrometer by following instructions for the salt test here.
CHARGING YOUR HUMIDIFIER & ADDING MORE HUMIDITY
When you first set up your humidor you will need to charge the humidifier. Charging the humidification device simply means to fill it properly. To prepare your humidification device, use only humidor solution or distilled water (unless the manufacturer specifically states that you can use tap water). Tap water contains minerals that will destroy most humidification systems by leaving deposits that will clog the humidification element. Fill the humidifier initially with Humidor Solution, also called PG solution, charging fluid, or poly glycol. Simply fill it by squirting solution through the vents of the humidification device without opening it. Your goal is to have the device(s) well moistened but not totally saturated. Once the humidification element is properly filled and not overfilled, be sure to wipe it down to remove all the excess water. Rest it upside down on a hand towel for approximately 30 minutes. Any moisture that escapes was simply excess.
Once ready, select the location where you will place your humidifier inside your humidor. Some humidors have a pre-designated location while others allow you to decide where to place it. Some humidification devices come with a method of attachment to the humidor. This may be Velcro, a magnet, or none if attachment is not suggested for your humidor. If you decide to use Velcro or a magnet, please take precautions to set the adhesives properly. These attachment methods use an adhesive which must attach to a clean and dry surface. Allow 1-2 hours for curing before fastening the device as the moistened humidifier will pull the adhesive if not cured properly. Additionally, make certain your humidifier is not over-saturated as a humidifier that is too heavy will certainly test the strength of any adhesive.
You will periodically need to add more humidity to your humidor. How frequently will be determined by numerous factors including the location the humidor is placed, environmental conditions, frequency opened, etc. The easiest way to tell you need more humidity is to monitor the hygrometer. A reading of 70% relative humidity (RH) is the most desirable, although a bit above or below is not detrimental to your cigars. Once the humidity drops 3 to 4 percentage points below your chosen ideal RH (70% or other you choose), it is time to add more humidity. You should use both PG Solution and Distilled water alternating as follows:
- Use PG solution the first time you set up your humidor
- Use Distilled Water the next two or three times you refill your humidification devices
- Return to PG solution for one occasion, and then back to distilled for 2 or 3 occasions, etc.
- Alternating between PG and Distilled will provide for the best humidification and the longest life of your humidification devices. We sell high quality PG solution and Glacier Mist Ultra-Pure medical grade Distilled Water with an included algicide to keep your cigars fresh. For you convenience we offer a Humidor Care Kit that includes both products.
Occasionally, a humidor will become too humid. On these occasions, you can leave your humidor open partially to allow some of the humidity to escape, or add some cigars into the humidor. The cigars will help absorb some of the excess humidity.
Analog hygrometers do not arrive calibrated unless indicated as "pre-calibrated." Follow our directions here to calibrate your hygrometer.
As always, if you have any questions, please see one of our team members at the shop and we will help you with your humidor!