Once you’ve grasped the basics of cigar smoking and know more or less what it is you are looking for in your favourite cigars, you can start to look for ways in which you can enhance your overall cigar smoking experience. In this guide, we will share some of our advice to help you get the best out of your cigar.
Using a Cigar Humidor
While a lot of cigar lovers out there will already have a humidor, we cannot stress the importance of owning one and using it correctly enough.
We could give you hundreds of tips on how to make your cigar smoking experience better, but at the end of the day, if your cigar hasn’t been properly stored in a humidor, then it just won’t smoke right no matter what you do!
There are a few key things to remember about cigar humidors, which can help to enhance your smoking experience.
- Pick a quality humidor, we recommend one lined with Spanish cedar wood.
- Ensure the humidity is between 65-70%.
- Keep on top of the maintenance of your humidor, checking on the sponge or refilling the humidifier.
- Don’t cram cigars in, but also you don’t need to have an empty humidor. Fill any big gaps with cedar wood or boxes, or upgrade to a bigger or secondary humidor if you have too many.
- Leave cigars in a humidor to age them and experience developed flavours.
- Add different cigars together in a humidor for alternative flavour and aroma experiences.
Ageing some of your cigar collection is just one way in which you can enhance your cigar smoking experience – although it is a bit of a long game. Many cigar aficionados will opt to buy a larger box of cigars and put some aside for future smoking. These cigars can then be popped in a humidor and enjoyed every month or year (depending on how many you have).
It can be really interesting to see how the flavour and aroma develops over time and if any new tastes present themselves. Be sure to keep a tasting journal as you smoke them, so you can keep track of your thoughts and feelings for these cigars as you try them.
Cleansing your Palate
Moving away from things you can do to improve your cigars, there are a few things that you can do for yourself that can help to enhance the cigar smoking process.
One of the key areas this can be achieved is by ensuring the palate is cleansed throughout the smoking experience. Cigars are packed full of complex flavours and aromas, and while some are intense and bold, others are more subtle and require some well-trained taste buds to detect.
So, if your mouth is overwhelmed with cigar smoke or tainted with the lunch you ate earlier, then you’re never going to experience the full range of flavours on offer in your well-crafted stogie.
Learn to Taste Properly
While it may sound silly – there being a right and wrong way to ‘taste’ – adapting the way you taste your cigar could actually make a world of difference in the smoke you experience.
In the context of cigars, learning to taste properly largely refers to learning how to distinguish different flavours and find the subtleties hidden in your cigar. There are a few ways you can taste a cigar properly:
- Smell and taste the cigar before you light it. Place it in your mouth and see if any key flavour notes instantly hit you.
- Take the smoke slow, so that the cigar doesn’t overheat and cause issues that may affect the taste.
- Let the smoke linger in your mouth to experience a more pronounced aftertaste.
- Retro-hale the cigar, exhaling through the nose to detect any further flavour in the aroma.
- Ensure your palate is kept fresh.
The best way to spot if your cigar has been affected by cigar beetles is to examine the stick for any pinprick holes, or see if there’s any black dust in your humidor around the cigars.
If there are signs of damage from cigar beetles, then you will want to discard the cigars and seek measures to prevent future damage. You can take a look at our guide for advice on how to prevent cigar beetles.