Cigars - FAQ

General

Cigar Smoking

Cigars & Culture

Miscellaneous

 

 

General

  • Do you advocate smoking?
    Yes. After all, this is a cigar and whisky club. In case you wonder, we also advocate drinking alcohol. There is one restriction, though:
    If you smoke and drink, make sure you are smoking and drinking only the best (Cigars and Whisky. Other products, e.g. cigarettes, we do not endorse at all). It's not the quantity, but the quality. On the other hand, best of all is a large quantitly of high quality Scotch and Cigars.
     
  • Is smoking dangerous to your health?
    Yes. Especially if you are in a room full of militant non-smokers. And smoking Cigars is even more so. Smoking will definitely adversely affect your health, sex appeal, and popularity. But if you were smoking to increase those "values", you can justifyably be called an idiot by any living soul.
     
  • Do you inhale?
    Yes - we are not Bill C. But beware. Cigar smoke is very potent, and most people, us included, inhale only very, very sparingly, and only infrequently. Mostly, we enjoy the taste of a good cigar (again, Bill C. didn't know what he was doing) - not the searing sesation of it going Rambo on our lungs.

Cigar Smoking

  • How do I correctly light a cigar?
    First, make sure that you have correctly cut your cigar (any cigar that does not need to be cut before smoking also does not need to be smoked either. Use it for annoying and/or ignorant guests). See
    here how to do so. Now, take a small kindling (we recommend a chip of cedar wood) and light it's tip (using a match, or lighter). When your kindling is burning nicely, take the cigar and hold it's correct end into the upper third of the flame. Slowly turn the cigar in the flame to ensure that it burns evenly. Do not draw on the cigar while lighting it! When you feel that the cigar is burning adequately, take it out of the flame, and draw on it. Repeat until it burns to your satisfaction. Again, do not draw on the cigar while you light it!
     
    A recent addition to the accepted tools of cigar enlightment is the cigar torch, a derivative from the common gas lighter. These lighters burn very hot, and have a very precisely defined flame. Although some people feel that using these to light a cigar is an engineered solution to a cultural problem (which holds some truth), it remains a fact that these lighters are helpful for those people who do not value the smoke and danger of freshly lit kindlings.

    It is our unwavering oppinion, however, that any one caught lighting a good cigar with a petrol lighter ("Zippo"), or candle should be shot on the spot. Fidel, take note.
     
  • How do I correctly hold a cigar?
    There is only one way: Hold the cigar with your thumb, index, and middle finger. Any other way is considered as vulgar. Especially any way that does not involve any hands at all.
     
  • How do I correctly cut a cigar?
    A good cigar must be cut ("opened") before it can be smoked. If you have a factory pre-cut cigar, throw it away.
    To cut a cigar, you need a special, dedicated tool. Using your teeth is not an option. There are three major implementations for this:
    • Scissors
      This is a special kind of scissors that must only be used for cutting cigars. It's blades are shaped to minimise tear. They work very well with all but the biggest cigars. If you are lucky enough to have such a device, keep it safe, and make sure that it is regularly re-sharpened.
    • Circular blades
      These come in many varieties and sizes. They are in effect a hollow cylinder with a razor sharp tip. It is our oppinion that these circular blades are best suited to cut all cigars except Figurados.
    • Others
      There are other implements (usually of the Guillotine variety) available. Most of them are cheap. Some even cut a V-shaped opening (this is considered to be the definite insult to your cigar). Even though the occasional implementations may work well, we do not recommend them, as they more often than not damage the cigar.

    Before you cut the cigar, make sure that it's end is sufficiently moist as to prevent damaging it. In general terms you should try to create as large an opening as possible. If you are using a scissor type cutter, press it gently against the cigar and cut slowly, but in one stroke. If you are using a circular blade, press it against the cigar, and turn the blade - never turn the cigar!

  • When should I drop the ash?
    To put it simply: Never. A good cigar should burn 5-10cm before the ash falls off. You should, generally, not drop the ash yourself, but let if drop off by itself. However, some progressive households frown on cigar ash on carpet, leather, or cloth (as do some insurance companies). With respect to your host you should therefore consider to actively drop the ash before it falls off. Just remember that a cigar is not a cigarette, and that constant, nervous trips of your hand to the asher are a sure indication of your immaturity.
     
  • Should I remove the cigar's label? How and When?
    First of all, you should always remove the cigar's label when you smoke it. You smoke the cigar because you like it, not so that every one can see what you smoke.
    But removing the label can be tricky, because the glue used can also stick to the cigar. We recommend the following procedure: Light the cigar, and smoke it for a few minutes. This will increase the cigar's temperature, and the glue will become soft. After the cigar has become sufficiently warm, you can, and should, remove the label without damaging the cigar.

Cigars & Culture

  • What should I do when someone asks me to put out my cigar?
    That really depends on who is asking you. Generally we recommend the following approach when asked by someone you know:
    1. Put out cigar - no matter how expensive or good. You are a person of sophistication.
    2. Never talk to the person again. He/She is not worth another second of your attention.
     
    If someone you don't know asks you (e.g. a stranger in a restaurant whilst sitting in the smoking section), we recommend that you simply smile politely and either ignore the person, or smile, nod, and do nothing.
    We also have an unapproved list of come-back lines available for people who think that they can tough it out. This list is available upon request. See
    here on how to contact us.
     
  • When stored, does a cigar increase in quality over the years?
    Although some people believe that this is a myth, it is actually true. If stored correctly, a cigar becomes better the longer you store it. We recommend that you store your cigars for two years before you smoke them. Note that this requires that they are stored in perfect conditions - conditions that only top-of-the-line Humidors can provide. Consider renting storage space at a professional provider, as it is definitely worth the effort.
     
  • Are there fake cigars, and how can I find out if mine is genuine?
    Yes, there are fake cigars (i.e. cigars that bear a certain producer's label while in effect they have been made by someone else). It is also a big business, and the chances are high that you have smoked a fake cigar - even if you purchase all your cigars through official channels. The sad fact is that cigars do vary wildly in taste, and a good fake is difficult to distinguish from a bad original - even to the afficiado. Some fakes are easily recognized, but as the customers get smarter, so do the crooks. The best chance to avoid fakes is to only buy from official channels and importers with good reputation. Never buy from a streets merchant.

Miscellaneous

  • Why do you only recommend Cuban cigars?
    Because they are the only cigars to recommend. There are some nice cigars made in the Domenican Republic (e.g. Davidoff's "Double R"), but none of them remotely approaches the exquisite taste of a true Cuban.
     
  • What about Cubans made in the U.S.?
    It is a fortunate fact for the rest of the world that import restrictions prohibit the import of cuban-made cigars onto US-American soil. To satisfy US-domestic demand, clever (and without doubt very able) craftsmen create "Cuban-looking" and "Cuban-sounding" cigars (e.g. "Cohiba Robusto"), made in America. They are, in effect, fakes. Their taste is nowhere near a real cuban cigar.
     
  • Do I need a humidor to store my cigars?
    Yes. Otherwise, your cigar would lose it's humidity and becomes unsmokable witin 48 hours. But simply owning a Humidor is not enough. You must regularly verify that it has the correct humidity and (to a lesser extend) temperature.
    Good Humidors (i.e. the only kind that you should buy) are made from wood, with it's inerior made from cedar wood. They hold at least 200 cigars. There is no substitute for wood. None. Trust us on that one. If you cannot afford a wooden Humidor, you should consider buying your cigar from a trusted Merchant/Restaurant shortly before you intend to smoke it. But then again, if you can't afford a humidor one should wonder what kind of cigar you would be smoking.
      
  • How long can a cigar survive in a humidor?
    If your Humidor is kept at optimal Humidity/Temperature, a cigar will not only hold indefinitely, but improve with age.
     
  • What is this white stuff on my cigar? Has it gone bad?
    Sometimes, after some period of storage under near-optimal conditions, a cigar may exhibit a soft coating of a fluffy white substance that may appear, to the untrained eye, to be some kind of fungus. It is not. A cigar is made from the leaves of the tobacco plant. The white stuff is starch, and deposited on the cigar's outside while the leaves continue their slow process of fermentation. This process improves the taste dramatically. Therefore, a knowledgeable cigar afficiado will always choose such a cigar over a clean one because s/he knows that this cigar was stored under perfect conditions. Simply use a small brush to remove the startch before lighting it.
    If, on the other hand, the coating appears to be green or black, you should immediately throw away the cigar, everything else in the Humidor, and possibly even the Humidor itself. This cigar is infested with Tobacco-eating fungus, and very probably all your other cigars are as well. Remember that Tobacco is a highly toxic plant, and that any fungus surviving on Tobacco will be difficult to remove.
    Also, because fungus reproduces by spores, it is almost impossible to get all of them out of your Humidor. Destroying the Humidor and all of its contents is the only sure way to rid yourself of that fungus.