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כתבות ומאמרים - How to choose your cigar
Choosing your Cigar


Of the many regions in the world that produce cigar, Cuba is by far the most renowned.  Reasons for this supremacy include mainly the tobacco that is grown on the island, which remains unequaled anywhere else, and the "torcedores" that have rolled cigars for generations now. More than 25 brands of Havanas, an excess of 42 different standard shape "vitolas", different sizes and shapes, are produced.  The same shape may be rolled for different brands, in different factories with various blends. To resume, there are hundreds of Havanas, and much more if we include the cigarillos and the machine made ones.

A large choice is available from the selection of premium hand-made Cuban cigars. Many connoisseurs get confused at times, after a meal or a special alcohol. Imagine yourself in front of a selection of 2500 to 3000 cigars (according to Zino, it's the minimum number of cigars a connoisseur must have): Double Coronas, Cabinets, Churchills, Torpedos, Robustos, très petit corona, Laguito N°1, etc., not to mention the brand, or the tobacco type.

Choosing the right cigar is not an easy task. The choice reflects the mood of the smoker and his environment. It will be very simple if we dictate some general principals and advise rules to follow but we will be misleading.

The choice of a proper cigar for a proper occasion remains a very personal choice and can vary with regards to the meal or the wine you have chosen, the chair you will sit in to relax, and the digestif you will consume...

Strong or mild? Long or short? Aged? Belicosos or Torpedo? Churchill or Corona Gorda? etc.

The answer is: there are no rules. There are only some basic elements that all connoisseurs respect. If you smoke more than one cigar a day, begin with the lightest and move on to the strongest, because a light cigar will seem insipid after a strong one. Remember to choose your cigar based on available time to smoke it, you will not enjoy a " quick cigar ". To appreciate a cigar, you must smoke it slowly, you must control it.

   

Cutting


Cutting allows the smoke to pass through and is vitally important since it determines the draw of the cigar.

When a cigar has an ideal humidity level, some smokers use their fingernail or their teeth to open it. This way was very common in Cuba. However, if the cigar is not very well humidified, take care, otherwise, you will damage the cigar's tip.

Actually, most Havanas smokers use cigar cutters. These cutters are designed to make the incision as neat and effective as possible : knives, scissors, guillotines, etc. The round bladed scissors do less damage to the wrapper, as the cutting action works on the whole circumference of the cigar.  Some smokers use special cutters that make a "V" shaped cut, which I don't personally enjoy.

Usually, you must try to cut "the minimum". Be careful, some novices tend to make too big a cut in their cigars.

   

The Ring


Should you keep it on or take it off ? This debate is as old as the history of the ring itself.  Forget all the fantastic ideas, and hear what Master Zino Davidoff has to say. If you want to take off the ring before lighting up, you are taking the risk of damaging the wrapper. The vegetal natural glue used to put the ring may sometimes stick to the wrapper.  Smoke at least a third of your cigar before you remove the ring, since you would have less risk of tearing the wrapper. You may also leave the ring on, it is not wrong to do so, and it is not a characteristic that you are novice: many connoisseurs leave the ring until the end of the second third.
   

Lighting

Before lighting up, take the time to taste your cigar when it's " raw ", which means unlit. After this, light up. 

Lighting is very important. The flame must embrace the whole surface of the cigar end, from the first puffs taken. The flame must be odorless to avoid ruining the taste, so petrol lighters are forbidden. Only odorless matches and " gas " lighters are authorized. It's not true that all the lighters are forbidden, so you may use some of them, but be sure that they are specifically designed to light up cigars, or that they deliver odorless flame. However, it's particularly nice to use long matches made of cedar, since their elegance brings a certain solemnity to the occasion. 

Lighting is not a show. So take small regular puffs and don't be husty. Sometimes, you have to make a small " half rotation " with your cigar, this will help expose equaly the whole circumference to the flame.

   

Tasting


After cutting, you may begin by smoking your cigar when it's " raw ", which means unlit.
Later, after lighting, try to take, slowly, regular puffs. Your cigar must be controled. If you are nervous, the cigar will be also. To appreciate your cigar, remember that the key word is "harmony ".

You are invited to discover by yourself the exquisite details.

Another capital element : we are totally convinced that you will not be able to discover a "Vitola " (for example the Bolivar Belicosos Finos) if you taste only one cigar. You must smoke at least one box. The taste of a cigar varies with many elements: circumstances, mood, wine, cognac, etc. Two cigars (same size and same brand) are similar but not identical. Like "Grands Crus", cigars may vary from year to year. Each one of us is different, cigars too…

You are invited to this unique world of taste, where the only rule is: your pleasure and your satisfaction, not the satisfaction of the adviser nor the reporter writing rules…

After tasting, please, don't crush your cigar in an ashtray to put it out.

 

 

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