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One of the best ways to kick off a special occasion and start a new hobby is smoking a quality cigar. However, cigar smoking is an elegant art. Keep reading to understand the dos and don’ts of how to smoke a cigar, so that you can enjoy the process to the fullest.


Choose Your Cigar

It’s important to carefully select the cigar you’d like to smoke, so you aren’t just going through the motions. When you smoke a cigar for the first time, it should have a specific feel to it. A high-quality cigar will be firm all the way through when you gently roll it between your fingers—no lumps or soft spots. There are a variety of different cigar sizes to choose from that will alter your experience.



These are the most common type of cigar and the shortest at 5 inches long with a ring gauge of 50 to 52. The “ring gauge” is the diameter of the cigar and one gauge is equal to 1/64th of an inch.



These are some of the widest cigars with ring gauges of 48 to 54 and a length of 5 to 6.5 inches.



These cigars come in the widest variety of flavors and have a light smoke, making them perfect for novices. They’re typically about 5.5 to 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 42.



This cigar type is growing in popularity. Toro’s are a parejo-shaped cigar and are usually 6 inches long with a 50-52 ring gauge.


Toro Gordo

Typically, a fat Toro is about 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 60 or larger.



Named after Winston Churchill, these cigars are for the true aficionados. They’re usually 7 inches long with a wide ring gauge of 47. Not only will they last a long time, but they’ll also give off heavy smoke. At E.P. Carrillo, we have unique and distinct cigar lines in this shape that create unforgettable experiences.

In this video, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo demonstrates the proper way to smoke a cigar. He also tells a story about Winston Churchill and the special technique he used before smoking a cigar.

How to Cut A Cigar

Now that you’ve chosen your perfect cigar, you can’t just jump to lighting it up immediately. The next step is learning how to properly cut a cigar.

You want to avoid cutting the cigar too high and tearing it. This can lead to the cigar burning at too hot of a temperature too fast. Cutting it too high can cause the cigar to unravel.


Cigar Cutters

You can use a knife, scissors, or a guillotine that is sharp enough to create a precise and direct cut. Some of the most popular tools to cut a cigar are:

  • Single or Double Blade Guillotine
  • Cigar Scissors
  • Cigar Punch
  • V-Cut
  • Cigar Piercer

Deciding how you want to cut the cigar is an important decision that will impact the smoking experience.


Preparing the Cut

When you examine the head of the cigar, you’ll notice seams along the outer edge that slope into the curved shoulder and end. Your goal is to trim the cap off while leaving the flag lead intact.

The wrapped leaf is very delicate. It can be helpful to moisten the tip, so the cutting process is more manageable. To wet the tip, simply place it on your lips—there is no need to use your tongue because the humidity and moisture from your mouth will do the job naturally.

Regardless of how you cut the cigar, you want to execute a quick, hard, and decisive cut to ensure it travels all the way through. Once you decide where to cut the cigar, use a strong and confident motion.


How to Light A Cigar

To light a cigar, you’ll want to use a butane lighter or a long wooden cigar match. Scented candles, paper matches, stoves, and lighters that use oil are made with chemicals that can negatively impact the taste of the cigar.

Keep your light about 3 to 4 inches away from the cigar and hold it at a 45-degree angle. Without letting the flame touch the cigar, rotate it so you can toast the foot evenly. This allows the outer wrappers of the cigar to light at the exact time as the inner potion, creating an enjoyable uniform burn.

Once the outer wrapper has turned white, it is time to light the inner portion. Next, hold the cigar to your lips with the flame a half of an inch away from the cigar. As you draw air in, rotate the cigar. After you release pressure from inhaling, a flame should travel up the cigar foot, followed by a puff of smoke.


How to Smoke A Cigar

The trick to smoking a cigar the right way is to avoid inhaling cigar smoke. You want to pretend you’re smoking in air from a straw, rather than breathing in through your diagram. To properly smoke a cigar, you fill your mouth with smoke and then breathe out.

We urge you to remember that smoking a cigar isn’t a race. The point of smoking a cigar is relaxing and enjoying it at your leisure. We recommended about one drag each minute.

It should take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours long to smoke a cigar. Remember, you don’t inhale cigars.

To hold a cigar properly, we recommend keeping your mouth as dry as possible and keeping the cigar away from your teeth in a firm but gentle position. When it comes to knowing how far to smoke a cigar, there are various opinion. We suggest you smoke it until you are completely satisfied.

Learning how to smoke cigar may seem daunting at first, but there are a few simple tricks that will make it that much more enjoyable. Know the best cigars to smoke, have the right tools, and light it evenly for a memorable experience. Your muscle memory will develop in no time.