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Toast of the Town

The first objective when lighting your favorite Robusto is to avoid charring the cigar's foot. Avoid the well-done steak syndrome and the taste of burnt ambiguity. Secondly, steer clear of foreign substances that will alter the taste of your smoke (e.g. lighter fluid, sulfur, candle wax). Would you add ice to your 1966 Chateau Mouton Rothschild? Please tell us your answer is a resounding "No".

Lighting your cigar is a casual affair, and in three simple steps: toast - light - draw, your cigar will burn evenly and taste unadulterated.

Toasting one's cigar is the commonly forgotten first step. To do this, hold the cigar in your hand horizontally, away from your lips. Then rotate the cigar slowly above the fire (like a pig on a spit) and let the flames gently lick the edge of the foot. Toasting will let your cigar warm gradually, as well as allow the wrapper, binder and filler to catch fire in chorus.

Once the outer edge of the cigar has developed a noticeable ashen ring, focus on the filler. Bring the cigar to your lips, and while still keeping the cigar above the flame, take a long draw that will bring the flame up and into the middle of your cigar. This should complete the lighting of your smoke.

Some cigar enthusiasts like to exhale once through their cigar prior to their first draw. The theory is that you are ridding the cigar of stray additives that might have entered during the lighting process. We’ve seen the subtle push of smoke like Paul Newman dusting off a pool cue, and have witnessed pseudo Dizzy Gillespie’s hyperventilate in the dim lit corners of smoking lounges, but all in all, the exhale through the cigar is not necessary if you are lighting your cigar properly with the proper device.