This is the continuation of a two-part series on cigars with my good friend, Philip Meech. I really want to give a shout out to him and his coffee roasting company, Caffe Lusso. We have been ordering coffee from him consistently. My personal favorite is the Gran Miscela Carmo. I use it for drip and cold brew (every week!).
You can read the first part here.
Enjoy part two.
What is the proper technique for the initial light?
The inquiry has merit because it rightly acknowledges the possibility that improper technique for lighting a cigar can be an unfortunate reality for the undiscerning gentleman.
I’m talking about good old-fashioned-yeah-sure-you-betcha-you-can-screw-this-up if you’re not paying attention and putting in a little effort. There is such a thing as ‘you reap what you sow’ and that’s not limited to the Faithful. It’s a simple built-in law to the universe, aspect to and nearly definitional of common grace, regardless of your own good graces. Don’t be an idiot if you get the chance, and you will not get idiot results. Fair enough? Hear me on this, especially all you younger cigar smokers. It will save your souls.
If you’re actually paying attention and not just sucking your thumb through life, there is great hope. One of my favorite wisdom anecdotes is “good results don’t happen by accident.” Studied entropy principles, have you? Good. Keep reading. Sure, you may procure a fire source and baptize your fine cigar in it, whilst taking a few puffs, and hopelessly hope that the ladies will think you know what you’re doing. But in the end, you won’t be able to manage your way out of a wet paper bag after you’ve experienced an uneven draw, and anything from an uneven burn to a tacky mctackerson cheap panty-hose run up the side of your cigar, and wonder why life is unfair. The answer is always the same, doofus. It’s because you didn’t seek wisdom and apply. And that is where I come in.
You’re looking to follow a few basic guidelines in your legalized arson.
With your fine cigar at a 45 degree angle, let the flame of your cedar stick dance asymmetrically close to the surface of the tobacco, with an elegance that even Michael Flatley himself and all his river-dancing firewalkers would be jealous of. A few moderate puffs will draw up that sensational sorcerer – that spellbinder of the spark, the fantastical flame itself – and some call this preparatory stage the ‘toasting’ of the foot. I enjoy this process, a small escape from what we call “Time,” to exercise fine motor control for one sole pursuit: pure smoking pleasure. And not somebody else’s. This is something you take great care of – for you. And for one basic reason: God is good, creation is good, and you are worth it. It is proper and it is civilized. If you think you’re not worth it, go get yourself a nice nicotine patch and nurse yourself through back editions of the QVC channel.
After your flame has commandeered a foothold on the toasted foot, a few more moderate puffs are all that will be necessary to commission this ship to sea. Take care not to pull one long puff more than every 30 seconds – give your fermented leaf a little room to breathe. Take your time with the cigar; there are no trophies for finishing first, no backslapping for the gift of gab. Somebody once said that tobacco is like a woman – the more your caress her, the more beautiful she becomes. Take the time. Pay attention. Enjoy the historical bond to which you now belong – that of sitting alongside intelligent company.
If you are interested in tracking your cigars in a fun way, consider this tasting journal that I sell over in our little store. It is a lot of fun smoking, tasting, and trying to discover unique flavor notes. Lets you journal them to see what you like and if you would want to buy again!