As any cigar aficionado will tell you, cigars are a hobby, not a habit.
And like any hobby, there is a right and wrong way to do it. We reached out to Michael Herklots, vice president for retail and brand development for the Nat Sherman cigar brand, and asked him what true connoisseurs avoid while smoking cigars.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, keep reading to see the seven worst mistakes that you can make while lighting up.
Mistake #1: Expecting two cigars to smoke the same.
Premium cigars are a handmade product created from an agricultural crop. Since so much variation can occur with the blends used, types of tobacco, and how the cigars were made, it’s next to impossible to predict how a cigar will smoke with 100% certainty, according to Herklots.
Real cigar aficionados know this and embrace these small variations. You should, too.
Mistake #2: Thinking that cigar flavours change from year to year, like wines.
Cigars are a non-vintage industry, which means cigar manufacturers try to ensure their cigar offerings taste the same from year to year. They add to and tinker with their tobacco blends, always trying to make sure the blend maintains the same taste while accounting for natural variation.
Over time, the taste of the cigar model will change, but very slowly. According to Herklots, the difference is negligible in the short term.
Mistake #3: Holding the cigar in your mouth.
A cigar isn’t something t0 “clench between your teeth and cheek and suck on,” Herklots says. It should be held in your hand and brought up to your mouth to puff, then brought back down to hang out between your fingers.
This also helps the cigar burn cooler, so you don’t waste any precious tobacco.
Mistake #4: Dipping the cigar in alcohol.
The flavour of the liquor can ruin the taste of the cigar and make it different from what the cigar manufacturer intended.
“I can assure you that if that cigar manufacturer wanted cognac at the end of the cigar, they would put it there,” Herklots says.
Mistake #5: Limiting your cigar-smoking to only one brand or type.
You can have your preferred brand, sure. But don’t let some mistaken sense of duty or loyalty to a particular brand keep you from sampling several varieties of cigars.
Herklots says he has a repertoire of 10 to 12 go-to cigars that are all different types and brands. It’s a great goal for any serious cigar smoker.
Mistake #6: Smoking what everyone else is smoking.
Don’t just smoke the same fat cigar that the CEO you’re meeting with is smoking. You’re far better off asking the experts around you what you might enjoy instead of hacking up a lung and wasting a cigar.
This is especially good advice for beginners who aren’t as comfortable smoking cigars just yet, Herklots says.
Mistake #7: Inhaling the cigar smoke.
You should neverinhale while smoking a cigar. They’re not cigarettes, and the tobacco is often much stronger.
Instead, merely take a puff and let it sit in your mouth for a few seconds while you taste it. Then simply blow it out. Puff and rotate your cigar every 30 seconds to one minute, and enjoy it with a strong alcoholic beverage.
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