CHOOSING A CIGAR IS A SENSUAL PROCESS THAT INVOLVES YOUR 5 SENSES:
SIGHT: The wrapper color is one factor that might determine your choice of a particular cigar. The various shades of color that can exist for the same cigar depend on a few different variants:
The Range in Color of a Cigar Depends on:
1) The manner in which the tobacco plant was grown: Shaded plants grow lighter leaves, while fully exposed plants grow darker ones.
2) The section of the plant the leaf came from: Bottom and middle leaves are lighter while top leaves tend to be darker due to increased sun exposure.
3) The fermentation period: The longer a leaf is fermented the darker it will become.
What’s important to remember with Cubans is that the color of the wrapper has no effect on the strength of the cigar, as the real flavor comes from the bonche as wrappers are purely functional and mostly aesthetic.
The Color Range is as Follows:
|Double Claro||Green to Greenish Brown|
|Colorado Claro||Tawny, Mid-Brown|
|Colorado||Reddish, Dark Brown|
|Colorado Maduro||Dark Brown, Very Dark Brown|
|Oscuro||Very Dark Brown, Almost Black|
SMELL: Open your nostrils wide to capture the rich aromas emerging from the box and from the foot of the cigar. The pre-light aromas are a promise of flavours to come.
USING YOUR EAR: Rolling the cigar next to your ear can give you a clue as to the quality of the cigar’s construction. This method helps you gain some knowledge of the tightness and structure of the bonche.
INTUITION: Sometimes we just have a feeling about a cigar, an unstoppable urge that leads us to a gem.
SOME OTHER FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE A SELECTION
LENGTH OF TIME: Choosing a cigar depends on the amount of time one has to smoke it. Make sure you know the time it takes to smoke a particular cigar you have bought. Generally Robustos are handy smokes taking only 30 to 45 minutes to smoke. If you have a couple of hours a Churchill is fit for the job.
PRICE: There are many cigars that are Cuban and affordable. Cuban cigars are the best in the world so even the cheaper brands are above average. When a Cuban cigar is expensive it is for a reason, usually because it is in high demand or it is difficult to come by on the market. Good luck and we hope you find your Cuban cigar !
A CIGAR SHOULD BE CUT JUST ABOVE THE CAP LINE, RIGHT BEFORE THE CURVED END OF THE CIGAR STARTS TO STRAIGHTEN OUT.
The objective is to create an aperture that ensures a smooth opening for smoking without damaging the structure. A double or single bladed cutter,
a special cigar scissor or a punch cutter with a circular blade are all different styles of cigar cutters.
THE PIERCE: A simple small hole punched in the end of the cigar. It keeps the "head" firm but may produce a sharp "bite" as the intense jet of smoke hits the tongue.
THE GUILLOTINE CUT: A straight-across slice with a razor-sharp cutter, it provides a clean, open drawing area and disperses the smoke to avoid "bite".
THE "V" CUT: The "V Cut" provides ample area for proper air circulation, yet keeps bitter tars down at the deep end of the "V" and away from your tongue.
THE ACT OF LIGHTING A CIGAR INVOLVES 2 VERY IMPORTANT PRINCIPALS. THE FIRST INVOLVES THE INSTRUMENTS USED TO LIGHT THE CIGAR AND THE SECOND THE ENJOYMENT OF YOUR HABANO.
1) Always use a butane lighter or a cedar or wooden match-stick. Try to never use a petrol lighter, a candle or a wax match as all of these have odors that the cigar is quick to absorb.
2) The second principle to remember is that a cigar must be lit with the utmost patience. Nothing spoils the enjoyment of a Habano faster than a badly lit cigar.
WARMING: Hold your cigar at a 90 degree angle above the flame of your lighter. Burning directly in the flame makes heats your cigar unnecessarily. Patiently twist or rotate the cigar until all parts of the foot are evenly charred.
LIGHTING: Place the cigar to your lips and with the flame still under the foot, puff gently onto the cigar until the flames jump up. Continue to slowly rotate the cigar while occasionally blowing on the foot to ensure an even burn.
ASHING: Allowing the ashes to gently fall or rolling these off onto the edge of the ashtray, are both perfectly acceptable.
CONNOISSEURS OFTEN NOTE THAT ONE MUST BE VERY MINDFUL WHEN SAVORING A GREAT CIGAR. A HABANOS SHOULD BE SMOKED SLOWLY TO ENSURE A HARMONIOUS MARRIAGE OF THE RICH AND SAVOURY AROMAS, SIMPLY RELAX AND ENJOY THE MOMENT.
SAVORING: While savoring your cigar, notice the subtle differences in taste, colour, smell and sight. Ascribing personalized scents and colours is similar to savouring a berry-filled Bordeaux or a Gewürztraminer exploding with tropical fruit. Identifying the various flavors is a learned trait that develops through practice, practice and practice. Your enjoyment is entirely subjective and should always be open to personal interpretations and references.
Below is a list of a useful terms used to describe a cigar:
IN THE HAND: Pliable, soft, delicate, supple, tender, thick, rough, tight, sticky, oily, silky, compact, dry...
ON THE NOSE: Young leather, tanned leather, animal, spicy, piquant, sharp, bean (vanilla, cocoa, coffee), appealing, persistent, woody, floral, fruity, subtle, weak, short-lived, green...
IN THE MOUTH: Tangy, piquant, tannic, strong, exotic, peppery, spicy, hot, burning, fruity, oily, sweet, sugary, butterscotch, caramel, toffee, woodsy, floral, grassy, blunt, flat, coffee, liquorice, cedary, nutty, cherry, orange-peel, citrus, nutty, almond, chestnut...
TO THE EYES: From light to dark: Double Claro, Claro, Colorado Claro, Colorado, Colorado Maduro, Maduro, Oscuro.
SENSATIONS: Persistent, promising, discreet, hard-hitting, distant, generous, full, opulent, rich muscular, understated, linear...
EXTINGUISHING: Allow the ashes of a cigar to gently fall from the cigar and don't concern yourself with the fate of the ashes, just know that a cigar is not meant to be tapped like a cigarette on the edge of an ashtray. Should you prefer ashing then carefully roll the ash off using the edge of the ashtray.
RELIGHTING: It is fine to relight your Habano if it goes out. Just simply clean the ashes off the foot of the cigar by twisting its sides on the edge of an ashtray.