Knowing how to relight a cigar is a valuable skill for any cigar enthusiast. Whether interrupted by a conversation or momentarily setting the cigar down, being able to relight a cigar properly ensures a consistent and enjoyable smoking experience. In this article, we will explore the importance of knowing how to relight a cigar, understand the factors affecting cigar burn, provide step-by-step instructions for relighting a cigar, offer tips and techniques for successful relighting, address lingering off-tastes, discuss preventative measures to avoid frequent relighting and highlight common mistakes to avoid when relighting a cigar.
Understanding Cigar Burn and Why Cigars Go Out
Before delving into relighting techniques, it’s essential to understand the factors that affect cigar burn and combustion:
A. Factors Affecting Cigar Burn and Combustion: Cigar burn is influenced by various factors such as humidity, temperature, tobacco density, and airflow. Achieving and maintaining the optimal burn requires proper construction, adequate humidity levels, and appropriate smoking techniques.
B. Common Reasons for a Cigar Going Out: Cigars may go out due to factors like insufficient puffing, uneven burn, or sudden changes in environmental conditions. Understanding these factors helps in effectively relighting a cigar.
Preparation for Relighting a Cigar
Before relighting a cigar, it’s important to assess its condition and make the necessary preparations:
A. Properly Assessing the Condition of the Cigar: Examine the cigar for any visible signs of damage, unraveling, or excessive moisture. A damaged or overly wet cigar may not relight properly and could result in a poor smoking experience.
B. Examining the Cigar’s Ash and Temperature: Assess the condition of the cigar’s ash. If the ash is intact, it indicates that the cigar has not been completely extinguished. Additionally, check the temperature of the cigar by touching it lightly. A cooled-down cigar can be relit more easily.
Steps to Relight a Cigar
Follow these steps to relight a cigar properly:
A. Gentle Removal of the Ash and Charred Portion: Use a gentle tapping motion or roll the cigar between your fingers to remove the ash and charred portion from the foot of the cigar.
B. Toasting the Foot of the Cigar: Hold the flame about half an inch away from the foot of the cigar and rotate the cigar slowly. The goal is to warm the foot evenly without scorching the tobacco.
C. Properly Lighting the Cigar with a Flame Source: After toasting the foot, bring the flame close to the cigar and puff on it while simultaneously applying the flame. Avoid touching the flame directly to the cigar to prevent scorching or overpowering the tobacco.
D. Allowing the Cigar to Rest and Regain its Flavor: Once the cigar is lit, allow it to rest for a few moments before taking the first puff. This allows the tobacco to regain its flavor and ensures a more enjoyable smoking experience.
Tips and Techniques for Successful Cigar Relighting
Consider the following tips and techniques to ensure the successful relighting of a cigar:
A. Choosing the Right Flame Source: Opt for a butane lighter or wooden matches as they provide a clean and odorless flame. Avoid using gasoline lighters or candles, as they can impart unwanted flavors to the cigar.
B. Avoiding Excessive Heat or Scorching: Take care not to apply excessive heat to the tobacco, as it can result in a harsh or bitter taste. Maintain a gentle flame and ensure that the entire foot is lit evenly.
C. Rotating the Cigar while Lighting: While lighting the cigar, rotate it slowly to ensure an even burn. This helps distribute the heat evenly and prevents the formation of hot spots.
D. Taking Your Time and Enjoying the Process: Relighting a cigar should be done at a relaxed pace. Take your time, savor the process, and enjoy the ritual of relighting.
Dealing with Lingering Off-Tastes
Relighting a cigar may introduce slight off-tastes, but there are techniques to minimize their impact:
A. Assessing the Impact of Relighting on the Cigar’s Flavor: Take note of any changes in flavor or aroma resulting from relighting. Lingering off-tastes may occur, but they should dissipate as you continue smoking.
B. Techniques for Minimizing Off-Tastes: To minimize off-tastes, consider purging the cigar by gently blowing through the foot after relighting. This helps clear any residual buildup and refreshes the flavors.
Preventative Measures to Avoid Frequent Relighting
To minimize the need for frequent relighting, consider the following preventative measures:
A. Proper Storage and Humidity Maintenance: Store your cigars in a well-maintained humidor with the correct humidity level. Stable humidity conditions help preserve the tobacco’s moisture content, ensuring a consistent burn.
B. Techniques for Maintaining a Consistent Burn: Develop proper smoking techniques, including regular and even puffing. Avoid puffing too frequently or too infrequently, as these extremes can affect the cigar’s burn.
Common Mistakes to Avoid when Relighting a Cigar
To ensure a successful relighting experience, avoid the following common mistakes:
A. Rushing the Relighting Process: Take your time when relighting a cigar. Rushing can lead to uneven burn, scorching, or relighting failure.
B. Using Improper Flame Sources or Materials: Avoid using subpar or inappropriate flame sources, such as candles or gasoline lighters, as they can negatively impact the cigar’s flavor and aroma.
Knowing how to relight a cigar is essential for maintaining a consistent and enjoyable smoking experience. By understanding cigar burn, properly preparing the cigar for relighting, following the recommended steps, and employing helpful tips and techniques, you can relight a cigar successfully. Remember to take your time, choose the right flame source, and enjoy the process. If you’re at a cigar bar in Chicago, where aficionados gather, you can also share experiences and tips with fellow enthusiasts while enjoying the rich flavors and aromas of your cigar. With these insights, you can confidently relight your cigar and continue to savor its nuances without interruption, whether at home or at a local cigar bar in Chicago.