Lighting your first cigar can be a daunting task, especially if you are not an aficionado. However, it shouldn’t be hard work. After all, cigar smoking is intended to be a relaxing and soothing experience, available to everyone, regardless of previous experience or gender.
Associating cigars to men or to an elite is a common misconception. It is a normal thing to see in the best cigar lounges women relaxing while smoking a cigar. Even in countries with a longtime tradition of smoking cigars, like in Cuba, seeing a woman smoking a Cuban Cigar is a normal day-to-day thing. The Alexandra Collection is one of the finest examples of this notion, and is thought by many as a premium cigar line originally blended for women, recognizing that they share the same desire as men to enjoy the cigar lifestyle, but have different responses when tasting for the perfect cigar. This line created by El Septimo is now a worldwide best-seller for all whom love an easy draw, a great density of smoke, and a pleasing, but not overpowering, aroma.
And for those that are beginners, you must start somewhere! If you are a beginner, you should know that compromising quality for quantity is not an option. Choose your cigars well, because 100 low-grade cigars has no comparison to one premium hand-rolled El Septimo Cigar. El Septimo produces high quality cigars, made with the best tobacco leaves and grown in the best terroirs of Costa Rica, aged between five and fifteen years, ultimately providing you with a one-of-a-kind experience. The following information can help any beginner begin their journey in exploring their seventh sense, from finding the right cigar, to preparing it to be smoked, and finally, enjoying it!
Choosing Your Cigar
Not surprisingly enough, the first thing you must do to smoke a cigar is to first choose a cigar to be smoked. There are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from and that is why going for an El Septimo Cigar is the best way to start. With over 40 different blends, El Septimo’s Collections have been meticulously crafted to ensure the absolute best quality so that no matter the smoker’s preferences or tastes, they are provided with the best possible experience that satisfies their specific desires.
For the absolute beginner, we recommend a smaller gauge cigar that is not too intense in flavor or aroma, and one that offers a shorter smoke-time due to a shorter length and a smaller gauge. Our Flamingo Cigar, part of the Amarillo Series from The Luxus Collection, is a perfect starting point – a cigar that is rolled using six years aged tobacco while providing great consistency in aroma and strength, with an excellent burn. As you continue to smoke and your palate continues to develop, we recommend trying from all the different blends that El Septimo offers– after all, with over 40 options it is like picking candy in a candy store! Eventually, you can work your way up to one of El Septimo’s best-sellers – the Fabuloso Dark Ruby – a 3 hour smoke that has a 4/5 strength and a 5/5 aroma, and is rich in flavors of roasted almonds, honey, white chocolate and vanilla (All El Septimo cigars detail their strength, aroma, length and gauge levels on each product page for your reference).
Punching or Cutting Your Cigar
After you decide on your cigar of choice, you need to either cut or punch it. For our larger gauged cigars, we recommend you use a punch – this means any cigar that is around a 60 gauge or higher. The reason why we recommend this is because larger gauged cigars have a greater amount of tobacco leaves in the filler of the cigar, optimizing on greater flavors. When you cut a larger gauged cigar, you risk collapsing and damaging the tobacco leaves, as well as overloading on the amount of smoke inhaled.
For anything below a 60 gauge, in addition to our torpedo-shaped cigars, we recommend that you cut your cigar using a guillotine cutter. Cutters provide a consistent way to get a perfect cut on the cap of your cigar. The guillotine cutter is the most practical cutter used due to its practical size, and can be purchased as a single blade or a double blade, with the double blade producing a cleaner cut. Around the end of the cigar, there should be a faint line where the cap ends and the cigar begins. Open the guillotine and place your cigar into the cutter, as far up to, but not beyond the faint line. Cutting further than this line may cause your cigar to unravel. Then, apply a strong, swift pressure to the guillotine to ensure a clean, exact finish. Tap the newly cut end to remove any loose tobacco.
Lighting Your Cigar
The next step is to light your cigar. The ideal device is actually a wooden match or a butane lighter. The reason for this is because when many opt to choose a torch lighter and various lighters that use lighter fluid, you risk applying the flame directly on the tobacco leaves and charring your cigar, creating an irregular burn and ruining the flavor due to the chemicals and odors that interfere with the tobacco. Make sure to wait until the sulfur burns off the match before beginning to light the cigar and never let the flame touch the cigar.
First, you must “toast” the cigar’s foot, igniting the outer layers which include the binder and wrapper that hold the cigar together. Start lighting the cigar by holding it at a 45-degree angle over the flame, about three to four inches from the tip of the cigar, and rotate the cigar until the foot begins to ignite. By doing this, you give the outer portion of your cigar a head start to avoid an uneven burn and poorly shaped ash that results from only lighting the inner tobacco, also known as the filler. The wrapper and binder are properly toasted once you observe an outer white ash.
Next, ignite the filler by using the large flame to light the entire foot evenly about half an inch from the cigar. As you do this, place the cigar between your lips and rotate the cigar as your draw in air. When you release this pressure, a surge of flame should shoot up from the foot of the cigar and a puff of smoke should come from your mouth. Make sure the foot of the cigar is burning evenly. You can gently blow on the foot to ensure a complete lighting. Once the cigar is lit, let it to sit a minute, allowing the freshly-lit cigar to stabilize.
Smoking Your El Septimo Cigar
Finally, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your El Septimo Cigar by fully exploring your seventh sense. You should not inhale the smoke as you smoke. Cigar smoking is a nuanced experience with a lot of different flavors and aromas and the best way to appreciate all of them is by letting the smoke fill your mouth and then blowing it out. It is also not advised not to try and smoke all your cigar at once. With high-quality cigars like an El Septimo, the cigar can last a long time, depending on the size, so you should only take a few puffs at a time and rest in-between. Don’t be in a rush to let go of the ash that accumulates at the foot of your cigar. One of the signs of a premium cigar is a thick, round ash that hangs for a long time. Only once it gets a little too big should you gently place it in your ashtray, avoiding at all costs to tap it like a cigarette.
Smoking an El Septimo Cigar is one of the most premium experiences you can have. Each cigar is crafted with attention to detail and with the best quality blend of tobacco leaves from South America. You can be assured that whichever El Septimo Cigar you choose from, all of them are a combination of years of expertise and the highest quality materials. This is why El Septimo Cigars are regarded worldwide as one of the best cigars, and why starting with an El Septimo is the best way to go and will be a memorable experience you will truly not regret.