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The Band

We think smoking a cigar with the band still on it shows questionable form. Most people can't tell the make of a cigar by the band, so you're not impressing them. Most people who can tell by looking at the band could also tell by the fragrance if it's a premier brand, so it's redundant. But it's your cigar, if leaving the band on offers you one ounce more of satisfaction, . . . by all means leave it on.

Your first Cigar

Go to your local Cigar shop and tell them you're a virgin - and to be gentle. They'll set you up just fine. You will spend about $7.00 - $11.00 for one good cigar. Take it home and have a good meal. And by good meal we don't mean eat a lot of food. We mean eat good food. Then after the good meal pour yourself a brandy/whiskey/port, sit down in a comfortable chair and light that bad-boy. Yes, you are in heaven.

Cutting the Cigar

Except for a couple special shapes, one end of the cigar will probably be closed with a little cap over it. This end of the cigar is called the head. The other, open end of the cigar is called the foot and this is the end you will be lighting.

If you're going to smoke the cigar immediately after purchase, have the tobacconist shoulder, or cut the cap off for you. Cutting too far into the cigar can break the connection between the wrapper and binder causing it to unravel. Cutting too shallow can make the cigar difficult to pull air through. A very sharp knife and a steady hand are all that's required, but buying a $1-2 guillotine cutter is probably worth your money if you ever think you'll smoke more than a few cigars.

Lighting the Cigar

Any flame will light a cigar, although some say to stay away from Zippo lighters because of fuel residue affecting taste. We like to use a butane lighter or wooden matches because we can taste the Zippo fuel at least for the first few puffs. In the wind, however, there is no substitute for a Zippo.

Before you light it, smell the cigar, note the character of the tobacco. Put the end of the cigar you have just cut in your mouth, taste the wrapper. Take a couple puffs through the unlit cigar to appreciate the taste and smell of the unlit tobacco. This practice also assures that it's drawing properly.


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Steppin' Out

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