One of the first things you should learn if you’re a novice in the world of cigar smoking is the proper etiquette when smoking one.
This is especially true if you plan on frequenting your local cigar lounge. While cigar lounges can be a fantastic place to network and mingle, it’s also expected that one adheres to cigar etiquette 101 when in one.
If you’re not quite sure about the proper ‘dos and don’ts’ when it comes to cigars you’re going to want to pay attention to this article.
We’re going to go over a list of things to keep in mind when smoking a cigar that will have you following cigar etiquette like a pro in no time.
But first, a little history lesson.
A History of Cigar Etiquette
In 1967, a man named Zino Davidoff published an essay that was simply titled, ‘Zino Davidoff’s Guide to Cigar Etiquette.’
This essay coincided with the launch of the first series of cigars that carried the Davidoff name that year (while Davidoff had been involved in the cigar trade since the end of World War II, his previous series were branded under the Chateau name in reference to the famous Bordeaux vineyard estates).
At the time of this writing, Zino Davidoff’s Guide to Cigar Etiquette is 53 years old. Nevertheless, the lessons in it regarding cigar etiquette still ring as true today as they did five decades ago.
I guess it’s just like they say – true style is timeless.
Cigar Etiquette 101 – The Do’s
We’re going to dive in by starting with a list of items that you should be consciously aware of if you’re planning on frequenting a cigar lounge or attending any cigar events.
Consider the following list your cheat sheet to keep you on track.
One of the very first things that you should do is warm the foot of the cigar a little bit before you begin to puff on it. This can be done as easily as simply rolling the cigar between your fingers for a minute or two to transfer the warmth from your hands to the cigar’s foot.
One of the more archaic and often unspoken rules of cigar smoking was to remove the band after lighting it.
While this rule has fallen by the wayside in recent years, it’s recommended to follow suit of the host of whatever cigar event that you happen to be attending; some still cling to this old tradition when smoking a cigar.
Make sure that you’re holding the cigar properly. This is probably one of the more subtle things that separates the novices from the true cigar aficionados.
The correct way to hold a cigar with proper form is by holding it between your thumb and index finger – not between your index and middle fingers.
Don’t rush when smoking a cigar – it’s an experience that is meant to be savored and enjoyed. Take your time to appreciate the aroma and the flavor of the cigar. When in doubt, it’s best to take about one puff per minute.
You have to know the proper way to wrap things up with a cigar. It’s considered poor form to smoke a cigar down to the stub. The smoke ends up tasting harsher the further you go.
We typically like to let our cigars burn to about the halfway mark before letting them go out on their own. Once extinguished, you should dispose of the cigar discreetly and quickly.
One final (and somewhat interesting) rule of cigar etiquette is to always wait at least 15 minutes after extinguishing your previous cigar to light another one. The reason why? Anything quicker than that is considered to be ‘obsessive’ behavior.
Cigar Etiquette 101 – The Don’ts
Now that you’re aware of the proper etiquette to be conscious of when attending cigar lounges or events, it’s time we went over some things that you want to make sure that you don’t do. So without further ado …
You don’t want to be seen using a penknife or anything similar to cut the end off a cigar. It’s considered a matter of class and it just looks like bad form on your part.
Don’t place the flame right on the foot of the cigar. Instead, you want to rotate it around the edge until the cigar starts to burn, and then lightly puff on it.
Never ask anyone else to light your cigar for you; the art of smoking a cigar is considered to be a very personal affair.
Don’t ever place the cigar in your mouth to relight it. If your cigar goes out, you should hold it gently in your fingertips and rotate it slowly while you toast the end.
Along with not putting the cigar in your mouth to relight it, you should also never clench your teeth with a cigar in your mouth. Lose the Tony Montana in Scarface image in your head – it’s typically considered to be a low class move in any respectful cigar establishment.
Hopefully, this article has given you the information you need to confidently navigate the waters at your next cigar event or when you visit your local cigar lounge.
Most of it boils down to common sense while the rest will very quickly become second nature to you so long as you remain conscious of cigar etiquette 101.