A Gentleman and it’s Cigar
Knowing your way around a cigar is an important element in a gentleman’s toolkit.
A. The ritual :
Smoking a cigar should be a pleasurable, shared experience. ‘A cigar is very non-threatening and it’s a sensory barrage. It conjures up images of Churchill and The Godfather; there’s the richness of the smell; and then there’s taste.
B. Choosing your cigar :
If you’re a beginner, picking a first smoke can be intimidating, but there are a few simple rules.If you go straight for a big heavy, full-bodied cigar, you’ll smoke it, feel sick and never smoke again.
Go for a robusto, which has a ring gauge of 50, and is a nice, light introduction to cigars. As you become more experienced, you may want to move on to a more peppery cigar, like a Cohiba and cigars with bigger ring gauges that offer a longer smoke.
C. Cutting and lighting :
If you’re not sure where to cut, or how fast to cut, ask someone to demonstrate it for you. But a rule of thumb is to cut on or just above the cap at the sealed end.Traditionally cigars were lit from a cedar wood splint. You can also use butane or an odourless gas. Just be careful not to scorch it, and don’t, whatever you do, use a Zippo because the solvents in the lighter fluid will flavour your cigar. Make sure you light the ligero leaf in the centre – if you don’t light it, you lose part of the flavour.
D. The perfect draw :
Make sure your cigar is evenly lit and then draw smoothly. Don’t inhale, and don’t smoke it too fast. Too quick and it will be too hot or too harsh. If the ash doesn’t fall off naturally when you put it down, just roll it, rather than knock it off. And don’t stub out a cigar. Let it die with dignity.
E. Something to go with it :
A cigar is best smoked with a digestif. Try a lighter whisky or a blend. With stronger cigars, opt for a more peaty, smoky Scotch. The wild card is rum. Rum is sweet, sticky, unctuous and coats the mouth for a long time. And it’s what they do in Cuba.