The world of premium cigars is not merely about smoking; it's about indulging in a holistic experience. The joy of cigar smoking extends beyond the aroma and flavor of a finely rolled cigar; it involves the anticipation of choosing your smoke, the artistry of lighting it, and the finesse of executing the perfect cut. Discovering your personal preferences in each of these aspects is a journey of self-discovery and part of the enthralling charm of this sophisticated pastime.

The Art of Cutting a Cigar

Learning to cut a cigar correctly and comfortably is an art that takes time to master. A cigar is not just an object; it's a testament to the craftsmanship that goes into rolling each piece by hand. Anyone can haphazardly chop off the end of a cigar and begin smoking. However, the true connoisseur takes a moment to admire the craftsmanship, identify the cap with a discerning eye, and remove it confidently. This small act of ceremony transforms the experience into something far more profound and enjoyable.

The cigar cutter you choose plays a significant role in this process. It's not unusual to see friends gathering around a new cutter in the lounge, eagerly discussing its features and sharing their experiences. Each cutter has its unique charm, and choosing the right one enhances the cigar cutting and smoking experience, making it a cherished ritual rather than a hurried act.

The Pleasure of Slowing Down

Cigars offer an escape from the relentless pace of daily life. They represent a moment of leisure, an opportunity to savor not just the flavor of a fine cigar but also the ambiance of the environment you've chosen for your smoke. This can be a quiet corner of your home, a bustling cigar lounge, or an outdoor space that offers a scenic view.

The joy of smoking a cigar often comes with the company you keep. Sometimes, it's the comfort of close friends, exchanging tales and laughter that only intimate camaraderie can foster. At other times, it's the thrill of sparking a conversation with a stranger at a lounge, finding common ground over an interesting smoke or a unique smoking implement.

The Objects That Tell a Story

The beauty of cigar smoking lies in the stories that are woven around it. The objects associated with this ritual—the cigar itself, the cutter, the lighter, the ashtray—carry their own inherent narratives. Crafted with care and used with reverence, these objects not only tell the story of their creation but also become a part of your personal journey.

Consider our cigar cutters, for instance. Each piece tells a tale of rarity and uniqueness, of an edge that's sharper than others. They speak of the individual who uses them, of their choices and tastes, adding another layer to their personal story. As you use these tools and savor your cigar, you're not just enjoying a smoke. You're creating memories, establishing traditions, and crafting your own unique narrative.

Enjoy Your Time, Craft Your Story

The joy of cigar smoking is about more than the physical act. It's about the stories you tell, the memories you make, and the experiences you share. So, as you choose your smoke, light it up, and make that perfect cut, remember to savor the moment. Relish the environment, enjoy the company, and take pleasure in the journey.

Whether you're a seasoned cigar aficionado or a newcomer to this elegant pastime, the world of cigars invites you to explore, discover, and enjoy. Take your time, immerse yourself in the experience, and most importantly, craft your story. Cigar smoking isn't just a hobby; it's a lifestyle—one that epitomizes sophistication, elegance, and a zest for life.

Navigating the Nuances of Cigar Smoking

One of the many subtleties involved in the world of cigars is the art of cutting. The end of the cigar's wrapper that you cut, called the cap, is sealed with a piece of tobacco leaf to keep the wrapper from unwrapping. If cut excessively, the wrapper can begin to unravel, leading to a less-than-enjoyable smoking experience. Over-cutting can also create an overly loose draw, altering the balance of air and smoke, which can distort the flavors and cause the cigar to burn too hot.

The key is to cut just enough to allow for a comfortable draw while preserving the structure of the cigar. This usually means cutting about one-sixteenth to one-eighth of an inch from the cap. As you gain experience, you'll learn to make the perfect cut intuitively, enhancing the overall experience.

As for how to smoke the cigar, it's an elegant symphony of steps designed to maximize your enjoyment. Start by holding the cigar up to your mouth and drawing in gently. Remember, unlike cigarettes, you don't inhale the smoke from a cigar. Instead, you let the smoke linger in your mouth, savoring the rich, complex flavors. The goal here is to appreciate the full-bodied taste and the aroma of the smoke.

Take your time between puffs, allowing the cigar to cool and thus preserving its flavors. A good rule of thumb is to aim for about one puff per minute. This leisurely pace contributes to the relaxation and contemplation often associated with the ritual of cigar smoking.

But what happens if, despite all these carefully orchestrated steps, you find that you're not enjoying the experience? First and foremost, remember that the world of cigars is vast and varied, with a multitude of flavors, strengths, and sizes. Just like with any other indulgence, it may take some time and experimentation to find the right cigar that suits your palate.

Don't be afraid to try different brands, shapes, and sizes. Each cigar has a unique personality, and part of the allure is in exploring these endless possibilities. If a particular cigar isn't to your liking, it's perfectly acceptable to put it out. Cigar smoking is meant to be a pleasurable experience, and there's no reason to persist if you're not enjoying it. Simply set the cigar down in the ashtray and let it extinguish naturally.

In the end, remember that the art of cigar smoking is a personal journey. It's about savoring moments of tranquility, immersing yourself in a rich tradition, and appreciating the craftsmanship that goes into every cigar. Whether you're a seasoned connoisseur or a curious novice, the world of cigars offers a captivating experience, steeped in tradition and brimming with sophistication. 

Delving Deeper into the World of Cigars: Nuances to Consider

When embarking on the captivating journey of cigar smoking, there are several nuances you may want to consider. These can range from understanding cigar sizes, shapes, and wrappers, to learning how to store cigars properly. Let's explore some of these aspects for cigar smokers in more detail.

  1. Cigar Sizes and Shapes: Cigars come in various sizes and shapes, commonly referred to as vitolas. These can significantly impact the smoking experience, as they affect the burn rate and draw of the cigar. For example, a thicker cigar, known as a robusto, offers a slower burn and a cooler smoke, whereas a thinner, longer cigar, such as a lancero, provides a faster burn and a more concentrated flavor. Understanding the different vitolas can aid in selecting the right cigar for the occasion and your preferred smoking duration.
  2. Cigar Wrappers: The wrapper, or the outermost leaf of a cigar, plays a substantial role in the cigar's flavor profile. Different types of wrappers, such as Connecticut, Habano, or Maduro, each offer unique flavors and complexities. For instance, a Connecticut wrapper is typically lighter and offers a milder flavor, while a Maduro wrapper is darker and can provide richer, sweeter notes.
  3. Pairing with Drinks: The right beverage can elevate your cigar smoking experience, enhancing the flavors and offering a more sophisticated experience. A single malt whisky, a vintage port, or a strong coffee can all be perfect pairings for your chosen cigar, and the discovery of each is an exciting exploration in itself.
  4. Storing Cigars: Maintaining the right humidity and temperature is crucial for preserving the quality of your cigars. A well-kept cigar humidor can ensure your cigars remain fresh, aromatic, and ready to smoke whenever you wish. Knowing how to properly store your cigars can make a significant difference in your overall enjoyment.
  5. Tasting Notes: Developing a refined palate to identify the various tasting notes in a cigar is a fulfilling aspect of the cigar journey. From the initial light (also known as the first third) to the final third, a cigar's flavor profile can change dramatically. Learning to discern these subtle shifts and complexities can enhance your appreciation for the craftsmanship involved in creating a fine cigar.
  6. Etiquette: Finally, there is an element of etiquette associated with cigar smoking, such as not blowing smoke in another person's direction or respecting the smoking rules of the venue you're in. Understanding these unwritten rules can enrich the social aspect of the cigar-smoking experience.

These nuances, among many others, make cigar smoking a unique and endlessly fascinating hobby. It's about more than just lighting up and puffing; it's about savoring an art form that has been perfected over centuries. So, take your time, explore, and enjoy the journey into the enchanting world of cigars.

Cigars are a classic and elegant indulgence, used for celebration and enjoyment since before the 1400s. While it looks simple enough, there is so much tradition involved in smoking cigars that to those unfamiliar, it can appear daunting to get started. Whether you are simply looking to learn more or are trying to avoid embarrassment at your next bachelor party, knowing how to properly smoke a cigar can come in handy.

Lit cigar on cigar box

Choose your Preferred Cigar

If you are about to smoke your first cigar, chances are that it will be one that is gifted to you at one celebratory event or another. This can make for a great memory, though you are left with little choice in terms of the taste or feel of the cigar. If that is not the case, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for your first cigar.

As you are just getting started with cigars, it can be hard finding a cigar type or brand that suits your undeveloped palate, and true trial and error can get expensive. If you are not already used to cigarette smoking in general, you will certainly want to start off with a mild cigar. Get some help from the salesperson at the cigar shop of your choice, they will be happy to make recommendations for your first cigar.

Ask for a few mild cigar options, and make sure not to focus on the look. Bring the cigars up to your nose and take a deep breath in, see that the aroma is appealing to you and is not pungent. This comes down to personal preference, but the smell will be a good indicator of the cigar’s flavor. Select a few affordable alternatives, as there is no surefire way to test how much you like a cigar without smoking it.

Cut Your Cigar Properly

Cigars with cigar cutter

Before lighting up your first cigar, you will need to make sure that it is properly cut to ensure that it smokes properly. There are many different kinds of cigar cutters, from the classic guillotine style to elegant folding knives with more decorative designs. The style of the cutter itself will likely become a matter of personal preference for you, the most important thing is just that it is sharp enough for a clean cut.

The part of the cigar that you will be cutting off is called the cap, it is the closed-end located at the foot of the cigar. It can be intimidating to cut your first cigar, but if you are nervous, keep in mind that it is always better to cut less. You can always remove more if there is not enough airflow, but you cannot get back whatever you remove.

Using your chosen cutter (a sharp knife will also work in a pinch), remove the cap. The best thing to keep in mind when doing so is that you want to cut the cigar’s rounded end, make sure not to cut far enough down that the end will have parallel sides. If you cut too far, the wrapper leaf may come undone and leave you with a large mess of tobacco. Even if the cigar does not fall apart, you will probably have a rough first smoke, spitting bits of tobacco the entire time.

Let There Be Light

Once you have properly cut the cap off of your cigar, you are ready to light up. Your instinct may be to light the cigar like you would a cigarette, with the flame directly lighting the end of the cigar while you puff lightly. With a quality cigar, you certainly want to avoid doing so, or you will negatively impact the cigar’s flavor and smell.

Holding your lighter just far enough from the cigar that the flame does not reach it, slowly toast the end of your cigar while turning the cigar round. This will slowly light the cigar, far more evenly than it would if you were to hold a torch lighter directly to the end. This will bring out the very best flavors of the cigar without producing as much of a bitter taste.

If you do accidentally torch the cigar more than you intended to, do not despair. While the cigar may not taste or smell as good as it would at its prime, you will still be able to enjoy your experience. Take your time, but it is not so vital that you should feel any anxiety over it.

Smoking Your Cigar

Now that your cigar is toasted and lit, you are finally ready to start smoking. What many cigar smokers will advise is that you actually puff out before taking your first draw. This can clear out some of the chemicals that may have accumulated inside the cigar, pushing out some of the bitter taste. This in turn will give you a more enjoyable first smoke.

Puff gently and draw the smoke into your mouth, letting the flavor spread. Whether you were previously a cigarette smoker or a non-smoker, it is vital to remember to never inhale the smoke from your cigar. Unlike cigarettes, cigars are meant to be slowly enjoyed for their full-bodied taste and scent. Let the smoke sit in your mouth for a few seconds and gently release it. Focus on the flavors and the smells, ignoring everything else if you can.

Aside from the horrible coughing fit that would surely taint your first experience, it is also important not to inhale cigar smoke for health-related reasons. The smoke from a cigar is also much thicker and more potent than that of a cigarette and can lead to a huge increase in smoking-related mortality.

According to the American Cancer Society, cigar smokers can be 4 to 10 times more likely to die from mouth and throat cancers compared to cigarette smokers. That is without even inhaling the smoke, so be sure to stick to puffing to fill your mouth. That is also a great reason to leave the cigar-smoking for special occasions only, or you may find yourself dealing with some nasty health effects.


Now that you have the basics down, try to relax and enjoy yourself. It is good to have an ashtray nearby for obvious reasons, but avoid the instinct to tap off the long ash block at the lit end of your cigar. While it may be satisfying to watch half of the cigar’s length in ash drop into the ashtray, the ash on the end of your cigar will help protect your cigar from overheating or burning too fast.

If the ash does fall, it is not the end of the world, just try not to overdo it for the sake of your own smoking experience. Take your time while smoking, and make sure that you only continue so long as you are still enjoying it.

Do not feel any pressure to finish a cigar, especially if it is your first. For one thing, if you are a non-smoker, the amount of nicotine alone could make you feel sick or nauseous. Even if you have a history of smoking cigarettes, cigar smoke can be overwhelming, and it is of course possible that the particular cigar may simply not be to your taste.

Whether the cigar just is not pleasant, or you are beginning to lose your sense of enjoyment for any reason, that is the perfect time to put it out and complete your experience. Avoid stubbing out the lit end like you would a cigarette, as this can lead to an unpleasant smell in the surrounding area. Set the lit cigar down in the ashtray and let it slowly burn away.

Looking to mark your first cigar smoking adventure or looking for a special something for the aficionado in your life? William Henry has a beautiful selection of Damascus steel cigar cutters with exotic stonework that can make a memorable gift for your favorite cigar smokers.