Smoking a cigar is completely different from smoking a cigarette. Lighting a cigarette in a hurry and consuming it hastily are a long way from the time dedicated to savor a Premium cigar. “The cigar is an enemy of problems and haste. The cigar is the passion of the puff, it’s like falling in love, it’s the closest thing to falling in love because all five senses are used.” This is how the Brand Ambassador of La Aurora, Wascar Aracena, describes how smoking a Premium cigar should be.
And in fact, to fully capture the configuration of a cigar, we must use all five senses:
- Hearing: To detect the moisture degree and to know whether or not to light the cigar at that moment.
- Touch: To caress and feel it, in order to verify that there are no bumps, because bumps change the puff.
- Sight: To see the silky character, the glow, and the veins of the tobacco…
- Taste: Taste buds detect the sensations that a cigar’s smoke evokes: sweet, salty or bitter notes, and so on.
- Smell: In addition to the nostrils—where notes and nuances of the cigar are perceived—the true cigar smoker should, at some point, use the retronasal passage (mouth/nose) to allow for identifying the actual strength of the cigar and the aromas in the tobacco.
Once we have ensured there are no damages or imperfections in the cigar, we must perform a 1 to 2-millimeter cut with a suitable tool for the cigar chosen on the first small layer placed by the master cigar roller. Then, the cigar must be put in the mouth to test its draw, in other words, to verify the absorptive capacity it provides (each person has a different absorptive capacity: some like it smooth, others medium-strong), but also to identify what the tobacco is made of. “It’s already talking to us, we can now flavor it”, says Wascar Aracena.
Now is the time to light the foot of the cigar. When the flame combustion is made with gas, we shouldn’t hold it to avoid scorching or overheating the cigar. To secure it, we must rotate the cigar over the flame, to make the tobacco that was once brown or black turn into a bright spot—that’s when we can put it in our mouth. We can gently blow over it to see the embers and make sure it’s burning evenly.
To fully enjoy the cigar, it is important to:
- Choose wisely where you are going to smoke it—this is relevant when deciding the size and strength of the cigar; and consider the time you have to smoke it, enjoy it and being able to finish it.
- Keep your hands clean and free from perfume, since this could transfer to the cigar and alter its flavors and aromas.
- Smoke it from different angles of the mouth to feel all the components, since each part of the tongue detects different flavors: Bitter on the back, acid/sour on the rear sides, bitter notes on the front and sweet on the tip. The center detects the fifth and final flavor discovered, umami.