The Ultimate Guide to Cigar Etiquette

The Ultimate Guide to Cigar Etiquette

Cigar smoking, like any pleasurable pursuit, draws people from many different walks of life. Some cigar lovers are of a refined ilk and some are hearty and hale outdoorsmen. Some people enjoy quiet cigar time as part of their end of the day ritual and some like the camaraderie of a lively cigar lounge. But every good cigar smoker, be they aficionado or novice to this pleasurable pastime, should understand the rules of cigar etiquette.

We don’t aspire to be the “Miss Manners” of the cigar world. We merely want to impart our wisdom and experience so that you may benefit. Here is our ultimate guide to cigar etiquette for newbies and seasoned smokers as well.

The Do’s and Don'ts of Cigar Etiquette

While cigar etiquette is not a set-in-stone list of rules there are some rules which are unspoken and understood. Whether you’re in a cigar lounge with established patrons or at a fishing cabin with your favorite people it’s important to know and practice cigar etiquette. Here we’ve broken it down into “do’s and don'ts” for easier understanding and application.

The Do’s of Cigar Etiquette:

The Cut

It seems like such a benign thing, cutting your cigar. But the truth is there is an art to making the right cut. There is a definite art to making the cut and it relates directly to your tool. You may have seen stars in old westerns bite off the end of their cigar or, in some instances, cut the end using a rusty old pocket knife. Rest assured this is not the way to do it!

Proper cigar etiquette dictates you use a straight cutter, v-cutter or guillotine style cutter to cleanly remove the cap. Cut the cap just above the shoulder of the cigar where the neck begins to taper. Cutting it any further down and you risk your cigar unraveling and loose tobacco impeding the flow and getting on your mouth. A precision cut of this kind, made with the proper cigar cutter, allows an easy draw and clean smoking experience.

Some cigar enthusiasts prefer the tighter draw of a cigar punch. This increases the intensity of your cigar draw as it concentrates the release of the natural tobacco oils and the smoke. It comes down to your personal preference but as proper cigar etiquette dictates always use a tool made for this purpose.

The Light

When lighting your cigar you don’t want to use any old flame. Certain fuels impart crude flavors that affect your experience. A lighter expressly made for lighting cigars is the only acceptable way to light your cigar. Next. There is proper cigar etiquette involved in the act of lighting your cigar. Never touch flame directly to your cigar and draw. This causes an uneven burn and over toasts the filler. Instead lightly graze the end until it is evenly lit. Rotate your cigar as you puff to establish the light. For more on lighting your cigar correctly, go here.

Ashing Your Stogie

When you ash your cigar do so into the proper receptacle. That means a cigar ashtray which is deeper than a regular ashtray and has cigar rests big enough to secure your large ring gauge stogie.

There is cigar etiquette involved in when to ash your cigar as well.

Don’t ash as often as you would a cigarette and never whack your cigar against the edge of the ashtray or anything else. Simply let the ash grow so that you can gently brush it against the side of the ashtray to remove excess. Some cigar enthusiasts like to let their cigar develop a long ash but that can be risky. Especially if you’re wearing your best trousers.

Always Have Enough to Share

When you’re kicking back and smoking with friends, on the golf course or a fishing trip make sure you have plenty of extras to share. Invest in a travel humidor so you can keep your cigars fresh for your friends to appreciate as much as you do.

Cigar Etiquette Don'ts

Don’t Remove the Band in Haste

Some cigar smokers like to remove the band from their cigar prior to cutting and lighting. But proper cigar etiquette requires you to leave the band in place until the burn is about an inch or two away from it. That way the heat from the cigar loosens the adhesive of the band and allows for easy removal. Besides the colorful cigar band is a fun way to remember which cigars you smoked and keep a record of your favorites lest you forget.

Never Cut Your Cigar in Two

We get it-premium cigars are not cheap! But you’re not fooling anyone into thinking you got a twofer by cutting your primo stogie in half. You cigar was created by a gifted artisan and meant to be enjoyed whole. Cutting it in half ruins the intended pleasure.

Whiskey is For Sipping-Not Dipping

There’s something very enjoyable about pairing your cigar with a top shelf whiskey. Please don’t dip your cigar in your whiskey however.

Enjoy them separately. This uneducated trend of supposedly “imparting” the flavor of the whiskey to enhance your smoking experience does nothing except dampen the end of your cigar causing it to plug and become unspeakable. Instead enjoy a sip of your favorite triple malt or Kentucky bourbon between puffs and note how these flavors complement one another.

Your Cigar is Not a Stick of Candy

Another uneducated trend is licking your cigar. Some uninformed cigar smokers like to lick their stogie end to end before smoking it. They assume that gives them a preview of the flavors. Nope. It’s just poor manners and quite icky. If you’d like a preview, take a cold draw before you light your cigar.

Keep a Half-Smoked Cigar Out of Your Humidor

If you want to ruin the flavor of the cigars in your humidor go ahead and pop that half-smoked baby back in there. The smoky aroma imparts itself to the entire humidor and forever more taints the freshness and intended flavors of the cigars stored for safekeeping.

If you have a partially smoked cigar that you quite enjoy and wish to hang onto, allow it to go out naturally and then place it in a ziplock bag for future enjoyment.

Please Don’t Grind and Leave

Grinding out your cigar in a cigar ashtray (or any other ashtray) is just poor cigar etiquette. When you grind or squash your cigar end you cause the remaining wrapper and contents to fall apart and create quite the mess. Not only that but a smoldering cigar should never be left behind. In addition to being a potential fire hazard your cigar will cause a stale smoke aroma that will linger in the room. Because your cigar was stored in the proper humidity to allow it to go out on its own before disposing of your remnant.

We’re Here to Help You with Cigar Etiquette

We aren’t unyielding rule followers by any means. After all, cigar smoking is a relaxing and leisurely activity. While there are some so-called cigar experts who embrace the “anything goes” ideology we try to meet in the middle. It’s much better to invest some time in learning the appropriate cigar etiquette so you can enhance your smoking pleasure.

For more on cigar accessories that ensure the proper cigar etiquette please visit Northwoods Humidors

1st May 2024 Colleen D.

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