When You Rest Your Cigar The Taste Will Improve
This might not be something you’ll intuitively know, it comes with experience, but not only will your cigar last longer it will also taste better simply by letting it rest prior to the next puff.
Over quite a few years I’ve had many ask why their cigar acquires a bitter taste, especially early in the smoke. Now this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it’s much closer to an art (or acquired taste) but I noticed that many cigar aficionados where former cigarette smokers, used to continually puffing, that’s not the best way to enjoy a cigar. I was recently speaking with a lady friend (an avid cigarette smoker) who told me of trying cigar years ago, but instead of enjoyment, she got a stomach ache. When I asked if she inhaled, she immediately replied “Yeah”, not realizing she shouldn’t smoke a cigar as if it were a cigarette. That caused me to take notice and here’s what I saw,
many people were puffing much too hard, and too often and the entire time holding the cigar in their mouth.
FACT: While it may not feel like you’re puffing, just holding a cigar with your teeth, then breathing will cause the cigar to burn hotter, and then turn bitter prematurely.
It’s fairly easy to teach someone to smoke a cigar properly, however you’ll likely not do so unless it a friend, spouse or loved one, it too personal and not something we’d normally do. That said, and even though I don’t know you, I’ll think of you as a friend and say this, let your cigar rest between puffs, either between your fingers or on the side of your ashtray. When you do, you’ll find the cigar will have a more consistent flavor over the course of your smoke. How long between puffs? No hard and fast rule, but between one to two minutes which will depend on the ring size and length.
TIP: Premium cigars will taste better if you allow them to spend time in a humidor prior to lighting up. This is done for two reasons; first you don’t know how long the cigar was stored before you received it. Second, you couldn’t know the condition of how the cigars were stored during delivery; they may have spent time in a hot and dry warehouse. In order to have the best experience, it is recommended your cigars spend approximately a week or more in a humidor.
Larger cigars will of course have more tobacco, which often make one draw too hard; this can cause them to become juicy, not enjoyable. If you’ll simply give them a little time (resting) you’ll find the flavors will blend better and the experience more fulfilling. When your cigar gets to the halfway mark (approximately), slow down a bit, extending the rest time. The same holds true with smaller or shorter cigar, they have less tobacco, so you don’t need to draw as hard, but the resting still comes into play since you have less length to work with.
COOLING: What you’re doing by resting is allowing the cigar to cool between puffs, this allows the flavors to come through unhampered and also for the smoke to not bite your tongue.
TECHNIQUE: The shorter the nub, the longer the rest, the trick/technique is to let it rest just long enough, but not so long that it goes out. When that happens you’ll have to relight and that can also make the cigar bitter.
TIME: It’s not necessary to time these ‘rest periods’ with a stopwatch, an estimate is fine and as you become experienced, you’ll begin to sense the perfect time, no matter the brand, size or shape.
One of the true enjoyments in life (at least in the life of an aficionado) is the flavor and enjoyment of a quality smoke. I recommend you do all you can to heighten the experience. This includes not simply allowing them to ‘rest’ between puffs, but giving them ample time to acclimate in a humidor. Experience has shown that as the weeks pass in the humidor (within reason) the flavor becomes enhanced. If you want to put that theory to the test, try one of your cigars immediately after arrival, one a week later, another two weeks later, I believe you’ll easily recognize the difference.
Cigars are too be savored and resting between puffs is very much part of the experience