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MurphyDawg

Remedial Cigars 101 (aka no question to goofy)

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B_Dub___Cigar_Ambassador

2) Althought I seemed to do alright in my limited experience, is there a "proper" way to smoke a cigar, to get the most of the experience?

There are certain things that you want to do properly, to maximize your enjoyment while smoking a cigar. Most cigar enthusiasts have a fairly routine ritual that they go through when preparing to smoke a cigar.

1. Pick out the cigar(s).

This is key. If you are going for a morning smoke, select a milder cigar. Medium for afternoon, and strong for evening/after-dinner. If you plan on smoking more than one cigar, smoke the milder one first and the stronger one next. Otherwise, your strong cigar will overpower your ability to appreciate successive cigars. Make sense?

2. Pour yourself a nice drink.

Geeee, I wonder what I could drink with a cigar??? LOL.

Coffee, whiskey, rum, tequila, martinis, water and cranberry juice all make wonderful cigar complements. You want something that will cleanse your palate between puffs, and that won't hinder your sensitivity to the subtle flavors and delicate aromas of your fine cigar. Time of day, and cigar selection will affect your choice of beverage. Personally, I go for coffee in the morning, cranberry juice or water in the afternoon and whiskey in the evening.

3. Find a good location.

Sound silly? Wind can ruin the experience. That's why I only take dog-rockets out on the golf course. With all the wind, I have to draw harder and more often just to keep the cigar lit, and it tends to scorch the tobacco which makes for a bad taste. Also, the wind immediately eliminates your ability to smell the aroma of your fine cigar smoke. So why smoke it at all?

I prefer to smoke in areas protected from wind, and where I can relax in style. My front porch forms a natural haven from the wind and I have a comfy padded chair next to a table for my drink and a book or magazine. The garage is another nice place, especially in the winter. On a calm day, I might head out with a chair and a beer on the driveway. I have met most of my neighbors this way!

4. Remove the cellophane.

Here is where the road forks. After taking off the plastic, what do you do with the band? Some people leave it on, some folks take it off. Leaving it on gives you a nice place to hold the cigar, and marks the approximate point at which to stop smoking the cigar. Removing it allows you to keep the ornate band to remember your cigar. If you remove the band, there is a chance that you will tear the expensive wrapper tobacco. But with time, you can get very good at removing your bands safely. (There is actually a technique I use, since I remove the bands on every cigar I smoke. But I will not go into it here.)

5. Moisten the top half inch of the cigar in your mouth.

This will help make the cap more pliant just before cutting. I am not talking about sopping wet here, folks. Just enough to moisten the head of the cigar. This will minimize the chance that the wrapper will split or start to unravel while you clip off the cap. After rolling the end of the cigar in your mouth, take it out and wait a couple seconds.

6. Clip the cap.

A number of different cigar cutter types are available; including scissors, bullet punch, and guillotine blades, among others. I have found that a sharp, stainless steel, double-bladed guillotine cutter works the best. I have a beautiful $15.00 guillotine cutter which works as well today as the day I bought it. The cut is quick, clean and easy.

Generally, you want to cut as little of the cap as possible, while opening up most of the end of the cigar. About 1/8th of an inch of the cap should be remaining after you clip the cigar. This remaining portion of the cap is what holds the wrapper in place so that it doesn't start to unravel. Torpedo or Chisel shaped cigars require a little bit different approach, but this method will work for most of the cigars that you'll come in contact with.

After clipping the cap, wipe off any loose pieces of tobacco from the head and test the draw of the cigar. Air should move fairly easily through the barrel. If not, you may need to clip off more of the end or let it dry out a little bit.

7. Toast the foot.

Some people swear by expensive cedar matches. Personally, my torch lighter does a beautiful job and does not affect the taste of the cigar in any way. Colibri makes the best torch lighters. My $35.00 Colibri is near the bottom of their line, but it works great! And for those that don't know, a "torch" lighter is one where the butane is shot quickly from the lighter. The flame is very faint or invisible, but extremely hot and windproof.

To toast the foot, ignite your torch and apply the flame to the end of your cigar. Get the entire foot to glow before putting it in your mouth. This gives the cigar a nice start, and helps to ensure an even burn during your entire smoke.

Next, put the cigar in your mouth and take a few puffs while still applying the torch flame to the foot. You should get a bountiful supply of smoke with just a puff or two.

8. Enjoy!

Now that your cigar is properly lit, you are off to the races. Take a shorter puff or two, and then take a good pull of smoke into your mouth. Hold it there for about 5 seconds, and then open your mouth. Let the smoke drift gently out of your mouth. As it passes around your nose, you can pull in just a little bit to savor the aroma's many nuances.

Just be careful. This is pure, unfiltered tobacco smoke. Ideally, you don't want to inhale the smoke into your lungs at all. Smoke a cigar like a cigarette, and you'll understand why. When pulling a little bit of the smoke into your nostrils, do it just enough to smell the aroma and then expel it. Inevitably, some of it will drift down to your upper respiratory system. Just try not to inhale too much of it.

9. Build your ash.

I try to let my ash get to about an inch before attempting to knock it into the ashtray. The ash will contribute to an even burn, and will even affect the flavor of your cigar. You can often spot a cigar novice continually forcing the ash from the end of his cigar.

Each ring on the ash represents a puff on the cigar. Someone with a heavier draw, will have wider rings on the ash. Try to take another puff or two after knocking off the ash, to get a new ash going. Again, this will help maintain an even burn.

10. Let it die.

At the end of your cigar, or when you've had enough, simply place the butt into the ashtray and let it die on its own. Unlike a cigarette, which has tons of tar added to the mix, a cigar is 100% premium tobacco. Without puffing on it every couple of minutes, it will go out on its own. Crushing a cigar out will often result in a bad smell, like stale smoke. This is another telltale sign of a novice cigar smoker.

**********************************************

Sorry for the length, but I thought it was important to give the Members of this forum enough information to properly enjoy an expensive cigar. Anything less is kinda like mixing your Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit with your 7Up.

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MurphyDawg

Well Put. I bet you that if I woulda moistened a little before cuttin that CAO, it would have been fine.

TomC

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B_Dub___Cigar_Ambassador

1) Where did the term "herf" come from?

I sure don't know where the term came from, but I have never seen it used (except on this forum) as another term for "cigar."

I always hear and read it used as: a gathering of people for the purpose of enjoying cigars.

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B_Dub___Cigar_Ambassador

On torpedo's (pyramids, perfectos, etc.) I usually sacrifice about 1/4" - 1/2" for my cut. Be aware that, if your final opening is to small, tar will quickly collect there and alter the flavor. I know some guys who will recut their cigar about half-way through just to remove the build up.

Jal is right on. The tapered end of the torpedo is designed to magnify the strength of the smoke as it exits the cigar. This happens as the essential resins collect on the tobacco further up the barrel. Very often, the tar will indeed collect on the cut, blocking the flow of air out of the cigar.

I will usually trim a tiny bit off the end for starters. Then as the draw tightens, I cut another 1/16th". And so on. When smoking torpedos, I just go into it expecting to make two-to-four cuts along the way.

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B_Dub___Cigar_Ambassador

Yep, not only did that Hemingway Signature I bought taste great, but it was a cinch to light. I wondr why there arent more perfectos on the market (I did notice the Partgas Series S has a perfecto in its line)?

TomC

The Partagas Serie S line is comprised entirely of figurados, or "shaped" cigars. And yes, one of them is a perfecto. But they are all curiously shaped.

Your question is an interesting one, because there is some history to be revealed. You see, in yesteryear, just about ALL cigars were figurados. The "parejo," or "straight-sided," cigar is a relatively modern phenomenon. Perfectos were the norm in years gone by.

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MurphyDawg

I know Jeff does, and I am pretty sure I had heard herf used that way before, although I can't seem to remember where.

TomC

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MurphyDawg

It seems to my that it would only make sense, especially in the case of perfectos, as they are easier to smoke.

TomC

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jeff

There have been a couple of occasions when I have completely removed the wrapper and smoked the cigar with only the binder. Not ideal, and pretty ugly to boot, but it was a decent smoke. bandit.gif

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jeff

Tom,

Perfectos are expensive to manufacter, as they take a very experienced, and higher paid, cigar roller to produce. And the number of perfectos that can be produced in a day is much smaller than if the same roller were rolling say coronas. bandit.gif

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MurphyDawg

Well its nice to know that at least the extra price incurred by me is at least partially justified. Why do you think it is that much harder to make them?

TomC

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jeff

I don't know, as I have never rolled a cigar, but my understanding is that new cigar rollers train for long periods of time before they are ever put into production and then only on the roll that they have learned. By the time you are rolling perfectos you probably have mastered most of the other cigar types for your company. I have read somewhere that rollers rolling perfectos probably have 10+ years of experience at this point. It is a true art form.

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jeff

Very nice post! I will only part ways with you on the moistening part, as every time I try it I seem to get an uneaven and burred cut. Almost like the blade is tearing the wrapper instead of cutting it cleanly.

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MurphyDawg

Ah, a shortage of a companies most important asset, properly trained people.

TomC

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B_Dub___Cigar_Ambassador

Very nice post! I will only part ways with you on the moistening part, as every time I try it I seem to get an uneaven and burred cut. Almost like the blade is tearing the wrapper instead of cutting it cleanly.

What you need is a SHARPER cutter. If you have a razor-sharp cutter, it will be problem.

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ratcheer

That all sounds wonderful! I wish I had had something like that to help me when I was smoking. I was enjoying it even though I haven't smoked in about 5 years.

Thanks, Tim

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Nightcap

... And they even had a wooden indian outside.

So, what's up with the wooden Indian thing? My local tobacconist has one too.

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Nightcap

I worked one season as a youngster at a TinderBox. Got myself the beginnings of an education about tobacco there.

Simple advice for those new to cigars: relax, go slow. Remember, you are trying to taste the smoke, not the cigar. The best advice given to me by the veterans was to "sip" the smoke from the cigar. Appropriate advice, I'd say, for bourbon enthusiasts. You want to burn tobacco as slowly as you can without allowing it to go out. You are controlling the rate of combustion with air flow. The slower/cooler you burn it, the less acrid and the more open and accessible the flavor is. You don't need billows of smoke to enjoy the flavor of fine tobacco.

I'm a pipe smoker, but all this talk of stogies has me jonesing for one. I'm gonna pick one up for Friday night.

smile.gif

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jbutler

Please do not order cigars from Thompson cigars. If you want to order cigars from reputable sources

The way this is worded, it almost sounds like a libelous plug for someone's competing online business. Of course, I may simply misunderstand your intent. Would you care to tell us why we shouldn't do business with Thompson?

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gr8erdane

It could be for several reasons, but the greatest being they are overpriced on their premiums. I just finished a relationship with them and will never order from them again even though I have a gift certificate that would pay the biggest part of their charge for a box of my favorites. I made the mistake of joining their "250 Club" where after buying a total of 250 cigars you get 10% of your purchases rebated in store credits. After reaching and exceeding the 250, and never getting any notification of it, I called and asked them if I had made it and they affirmed. I asked where my credit was and they assured me it had been mailed. I didn't have it so I asked if they would just send me a box of my choice, subtract the amount from it and charge my credit card for the balance as it was a super premium brand I was requesting. I received the cigars a week or so later and found that the entire amount had been charged to me with no mention of the credit. When I called them, I asked that they credit it directly to my account and they said they had to send me my certificate to use on a future purchase. Needless to say, I am no longer a member of the "250 Club" and the certificate is in my filing cabinet in the "what was I thinking" file.

As for the plugs on cigar sites, there are tons out there that offer better prices and better customer service but I won't volunteer any of them as everyone seems to have their own favorites. I would respond to a PM though if someone wanted my opinion of a good site.

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jbutler

I have no problem with a links to online shopping Dane, provided they aren't posted by the proprietor. I just want to know why Charter doesn't care for Thompson. If his/her reasons are similar to yours, well then there it is.

If as a member you know of a reputable place of business with good prices, than share by all means.

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Charter13

Sorry, not my intention. Thompson's is like the California retailers that sell Stagg for $150 a bottle. They are opportunistic and generally scorned within the cigar community. The quality of their professed "premium" smokes is oft lackluster and their cigars are stored in improper conditions. Often the consumer will receive dried out smokes.

I have no stake in any cigar business whatsoever. I am just a fan. The info I have presented has been garnished from several years of cigar BBS. Holts and JR Cigars are generally have excellent customer service, quality product and good storage facilities. Their reputation in the cigar community is untarnished.

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jbutler

Well there it is! All I could ask for, and then some.

Carry on. lol.gif

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Charter13
grin.gif

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sevenmag

1) Where did the term "herf" come from? <font color="red"> Not sure on that one, it's been debated over and over and I can't decide on which answer I like.</font>

2)Though I am looking for a punch cutter all I have at the moment is a give-away guillotine. So my question is, where is the proper point to make the cut?? I think I may have cut my (only,heh) cigar to far in, and it may have hindered the experience.

<font color="red"> On a cigar you have a head and a foot. The foot being the lit end and the head being the banded end. You want to cut just at the point where the head is rounded into the side of the cigar. A sure fire way to get a good cut every time until you find the right spot is to lay your cutter flat on the table, put the cigar in the cutter pressed firmly against the table and cut. It works great if you're using a standard guillotine cutter. </font>

3) Is there an alternative to a humidor for someone who may only want to have 3-4 cigars around, but doesn't smoke often enough to use them quickly/doesnt have a good smoke shop locally?? <font color="red"> Yes. Rubbermaid, or Tupperware is the way to go. A small one will keep cigars in great shape for as long you want to keep them. An old aspirin bottle or film canister with a small piece of damp sponge makes a decent humidifier, but be careful not to over do it with the sponge. For long term aging involving a few or many boxes, an igloo cooler or any some other brand. At one point I had three 60 qt. coolers full and they worked very well for me. </font>

4) Are all the sizes of a line (e.g. The Punch Gran Puro Line) the same (like as in makeup) except for the size?

<font color="red"> They try to keep every vitola in a line as close to each other as possible. Given that the smaller sizes have much less filler, it's difficult when you're dealing with a hand rolled product. For the most part, every line in every brand has one size that stands out from the rest. Hoyo de Monterrey has the Rothschild, Saint Louis Rey has the petite corona, just to name a couple.</font>

5) What do natural & maduro refer to, and what is the difference between them?

<font color="red"> A maduro is a wrapper that's fermented. Bundles of them are wet, put in crates and allowed to ferment, then the crate is emptied and the contents are rotated to get the top leaves on the bottom and the bottom ones moved to the top, and that's repeated until the whole lot has been in every level of the crate. That gives them a good uniform color for the batch. The process also turns them dark and brings out the sweetness of the leaf. The only drawback is that it takes a fairly thick durable strain of tobacco to stand up to all that handling, so they are at times prone to burn problems. A natural leaf is not put through all this, also there are many more options available to the manufacturer. Cameroon, Ecuadorian sungrown, Connecticut Shade, Corojo, Criollo and some indonesion as well.</font>

6) Can you suggest any good online cigar retailers, as I am in a bit of a bind, being there are no good smoke shopes within 40 miles (I have searches)??

<font color="red">www.jrcigars.com, Smoke all, mdcigars.com and Mr. Bundles.com. These are my favorites Jr. and Mr. Bundles in particular. Cigarbid.com can be fun but be careful wink.gif </font>

I am sure I will think of more questions as the day progresses but this is a good start. Thank you all in advance. I am sure you will be a big help.

I just joined, and if all this has already been answered, I'm sorry. But I hope it helps.

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