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To really experience a general taste of a cigar, you need to make sure that the entire foot lights up evenly. The flame needs to be near the foot of the cigar so that the fire doesn’t soak the entire stick. This gives you the right draws and the right flavors without having to cut it when you realize you’ve done something wrong. Avoid Zippo lighters when lighting any kind of cigar because the fuel that it uses is so strong that it taints the flavor of the smoke.

Listen to the podcast here:

Cigar Lighter 101 Torch | Soft Flame | Zippo | Butane | How To

I’m Lane with The Cigar Cafe and I’m at Cigars & More with Harris. We did a video on how to properly cut a cigar and we wanted to follow it up with a video on how to properly light a cigar. Just like cutting, there are several different options. The general idea is that you want to get an even light at the foot of the cigar. You want the entire foot to be lit and that will lead to a better, flatter burn throughout the duration of the cigar and generally a better experience. You’ll get the right flavor profiles, you’ll get the right draw out of it that way, and you hopefully won’t end up relighting and touching up your cigar while you smoke it.

After the proper way to cut a cigar, the next most important is you’re getting a nice even light that affects so many other parts of the cigars and the experience. There’s several different ways to do it and in the stores we see a lot of people don’t ask about this. Maybe people don’t want to ask what the right way to do it is. There are different schools of thought of what’s the best way to do it, but we thought we would show you several different ways to light up.

We’ve got a serious torch here that we can use. You’ve got a soft flame, almost like a cigarette lighter type lighter. What else did you bring in?

We also have cedar spills. These come out of the cigar boxes. They’re sheets of Spanish cedar, probably the purest form of lighting a cigar and a great way to light the cedar spill and then light your cigar. It gives it a nice Spanish cedar aroma that pulls through the cigar.

CCP 040 | Zippo Lighters
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Zippo Lighters: You want the entire foot to be lit and that will lead to a better, flatter burn throughout the duration of the cigar and generally a better experience.

Especially for cigars that already have woody characteristics, that’s definitely a good way to go. I typically use a torch. Sometimes if I’m on vacation and I don’t have a torch nearby, I’ll use matches, which oddly enough we don’t have any around. We’ve got everything else covered and all of these are equally capable of getting a consistent burn line across the cigar and getting you started on the way to smoke again.

One of the few lighters to avoid is Zippo lighter. The Zippo fuel tends to have a strong taste to it. If you light your cigar with that Zippo lighter with the Zippo fuel, it tends to taint the taste of the cigar, so definitely I don’t recommend trying that.

One specifically with a cigar, you spent all the time and energy in making sure that the cigars maintained at the right temperature and humidity and it absorbs whatever the Zippo fuel is. The liquid lighter fuel, it does absorb a lot. You start talking about six inches of cigar, that’s a lot of absorbing.

It makes a big difference. From time to time, you hear maybe some Ultra puro cigar smokers complain about butane, but butane is a pretty much odorless, tasteless gas.

When you’re lighting with butane, it’s just like with anything else. You want the edge of the flame to be near the foot of your cigar. You don’t want to soak the foot of your cigar in the fire.

That’s a common mistake. You see people torching, burning their cigar to death. You want to avoid that.

Harris, you want to get us started with one of the lighting techniques?

My favorite way to light a cigar is to toast the end a little bit. This helps heat up the cigar. You want to be careful not to roast the end of your cigar when heating up a little bit and then taking the cigar and puffing on it.

What you’re looking for is for a cigar to get an even light all around in the entire foot of the cigar to be lit and you have the opportunity to see that the foot of the cigar is lighting. Those dark spots, he can turn the cigar to get them lit as well. Usually the way to remember it is whatever is up is where the fire is going to go. If you’ve got a dark spot, put that dark spot up and point the fire back at it.

That’s a great point because you can self-adjust the cigar a little bit without necessarily having to touch it up.

That applies while you’re smoking the cigar as well. If you’ve got a cigar that’s starting to burn a little uneven, if you move the foot of the cigar to where it’s burning more slowly to the top, a lot of cigars will self-correct while you’re smoking them.

That’s another mistake I see a lot of people make is that they’re constantly touching up with the lighter when they don’t have to or burning it more than they need to. All of that affects the taste of the cigar.

CCP 040 | Zippo Lighters
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Zippo Lighters: Another little trick too is to light a piece of cedar and put it in your ashtray and it will slowly burn and give off a nice aroma.

There are cigars that require a lot of light up maintenance. You get them to lit and they don’t burn right and you have to touch them up, but a lot of the times you can avoid the relights. You can avoid the touch ups if you pay attention and work the cigar. I’m going to use this cedar. What you want to do is you want to take the cedar in one hand, get a good light on it, and then once you got an ember on it, bring the cigar to the cedar.

The cedar way is definitely a little more challenging and high maintenance.

You may hear people talk about turning and burning. That will let you get a more even flame at the tip of the cigar. It’s tricky.

This is why it definitely takes some practice too. Sometimes I will have to have several strips. It takes a few tries a lot of times, but it’s nice way to light a cigar. You got to be careful not to drop the embers on your hand, on your laptop, on a poker table.

I’ve got that flat section there at the top and they corrected to deal with it.

Another little trick too is to light a piece of cedar and put it in your ashtray and it will slowly burn and give off a nice aroma.

Get a nice even burn. This side’s a little more burned than the other and that will correct itself in the first couple minutes of smoking it.

The other type of lighter we mentioned that we have is the soft flame lighter, which to me is a good backup lighter if you don’t have a torch. It’s not a bad way to light the cigar, but it is a little more work. It doesn’t burn quite as hot. Definitely not a bad option if all you have is the little soft flame lighters.

I use a soft flame a lot on the patio. I had a triple jet flame torch that I used for years. It was a Rocky Patel. It held up for a long time and when that stopped working, it was a while before I replaced it. This is no different than a $0.99 BIC that you’re going to pick up at a gas station. It’s the same fuel; same type of flame, same operation and it will light a cigar just fine if you don’t have something else.

I think we got it covered.

Thanks for spending some time with us again and we’ll see you around The Cigar Cafe.

Thanks, Lane.

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