This is the phase which requires the most concentration in the ritual of
the cigar. The instant that lays between the moments you light the flame
and you puff for the first time, reveals the art and elegance the smoker
possesses. Whether it results in a delightful experience or a senseless
one, will depend on this moment.
Enthusiast smokers greatly enjoy this ceremony by grabbing the cigar with
care and placing it horizontally half a centimeter above the flame, not
quite touching the cigar’s foot, in which case it would carbonize and an
unpleasant taste would remain throughout the entire smoke. They do not
place the cigar in their mouths, but hold it between their lips and rotate
it completely in order to create a ring of red hot ash which they blow on
gently to create a perfect ash ring. Bringing the cigar close to their
mouths, they puff gently as they continue to rotate the cigar until it is
lit in a uniform way. This avoids the tunneling effect, in which one side
burns faster than the other.
Careful attention when lighting the
cigar will enable the smoker to submerge himself in the most gratifying
and intense feeling of pleasure throughout the rest of the smoke.
The lighting process is also a cigar quality detector. Too much humidity
will make the draw difficult and make the cigar go off; a 100% hand-made
cigar might also present imperfections in its rolling.
A perfectly lit cigar may, nevertheless, go off, due to these reasons or
because too much time goes by without puffing during the smoke. This
occurs often and it doesn’t mean you should give up on the experience.
First, you must shake and blow the ash to make sure that it has, in fact,
gone off. Once the foot has been re-heated by using a distanced flame, and
by rotating it, the cigar will turn on again with the same disposition as
the first time. Trying to do this after several hours have gone by or even
yet, the following day, is not recommended since its excessive strength
will alter the original flavor.
The most appropriate lighters are
those which provide a thick flame and intensity regulator, fuel and flame
being the most important factors to consider when choosing a lighter.
Extra long wooden matches are also appropriate, especially if they don’t
contain sulfur. If regular matches are used, you must wait until they
consume their sulfur composition. Some brands contain a cedar chip in
their boxes, ideal to turn cigars on. The use of gasoline lighters and
candles is not recommended since they alter noticeably the delicate
characteristics of a cigar.