There are some things in life that are made to be savoured. These tend to be things we enjoy in a certain way, adhere to certain rules of etiquette, and display signs that we understand what we are doing.
Dressing well is one of these, and every gentleman should know the rules of sartorial elegance. Another is smoking a cigar.
Now, it may seem like a simple act, but a cigar is something to be revered. A cigar is special, and to get the most out of it, you need to know how to smoke it properly, and how to hold it correctly.
Here’s the thing: a cigar is not a cigarette. It’s not smoked for the same purpose, and nor is it smoked in the same way. A cigar is a class above a cigarette of even the most expensive kind.
A cigar is to be treated with care, a cigarette lit, smoked, and discarded. It may seem odd to say that there is a correct way to hold a cigar, but there is, so how did this come about, and what is the right way? And, perhaps more importantly, what should you not do when smoking a cigar?
Let’s talk more about the rules of cigar etiquette, and we start with one often-asked question.
How do You Hold a Cigar in Your Mouth?
There is a very simple answer to the above question: you don’t! You may have seen it on the movies, and it’s usually brash characters who leave a cigar hanging from the mouth, but it is simply not done. A cigar is intended to be raised to the lips, for you take a draw, and the away from the mouth again (and there is a right way to hold it, we’ll get to that in a moment). It should never stay in the mouth.
It should also never be clenched between the teeth. A true cigar smoker, on seeing you do this, would be rightfully horrified. It is not dignified – which smoking a cigar should always be – and it is not in any way ‘cool’. It’s ugly, it’s wrong, and it’s a travesty to cigar smokers!
Have we made ourselves clear here? Don’t hold a cigar in your mouth, there is never a time to do so!
How to Hold Your Cigar
The cigar is not, as we have already said, a cigarette. You may hold a cigarette between your forefinger and middle finger, but not a cigar. A cigar must always be held between the thumb and the forefinger.
Why is this? Because it looks right! It also feels right, and it is the accepted way of holding a cigar.
We will cover some more do’s and don’ts of cigar smoking after we’ve covered the next frequently asked questions, which is as follows.
How Long Do You Hold Cigar Smoke in Your Mouth?
This is a question that is often asked, and while the answer is usually ‘a few seconds’, it is down to personal taste how many seconds that may be.
The idea of a cigar is to get the taste. It’s not a nicotine rush like a cigarette, and the smoke should never be inhaled. This is simply not done, and not meant to be done! Take a draw, hold the smoke in your mouth for however long you feel is satisfactory, and then exhale.
Make sure that when you do exhale it is not directly towards another person – this is simply not done! Remember, cigar smoking is elegant, classy and stylish, so make sure you smoke with courtesy to others
So, now that we’ve established the clear etiquette attached to how to smoke a cigar, here are a few things you must never do – and we mean never!
What Not to Do When Smoking a Cigar
Never be an exhibitionist when smoking a cigar. It is a personal experience, one that is to be savoured and enjoyed, and not one that is anything to do with anyone else. Remember, you’re part of a classy elite, rather than one of the masses, when smoking a cigar, so no showing off.
Do not put your cigar in your mouth to light it! This is brash and uncouth, and just downright wrong! It looks wrong, it feels wrong, and it marks you out as someone who is not up to speed with cigar etiquette. Hold your cigar to light it, and don’t apply the flame to the end directly – just move it slowly around until it lights.
At no point should you even consider using a cigar holder. It might happen in the movies, but real cigar smokers wouldn’t even think about it. The cigar needs to be tasted to be enjoyed, and a holder does not allow you to get the full sensation.
Don’t dip your cigar in whisky or any other liquor, it’s foolish and spoils the taste. The act of doing so is one that is associated with Winston Churchill, but even he could be wrong. Cigar makers spend a long time getting the flavour of their cigars just right – why would you change it?
Only relight your cigar is there is more than a quarter of it remaining. This is down to two things: first, it looks greedy to do otherwise, and second, the quality will be past its best by then.
Never bite the cap off. Just don’t do it. It may look hard when a tough guy does it in a Western, but it’s stupid. Use a cutter, and if you haven’t got one, you need to get one.
Take your time when smoking a cigar. There’s no rush to get to the end. It’s a cigar, it’s not a cigarette. Slow down, relax, and enjoy it.
That’s a few of the things that you should never do when you smoke a cigar, and basically it all comes down to showing respect for one of life’s greatest pleasures. Follow the above, and you’ll be able to enjoy your cigars to the full.