I’ve been smoking cigars for over a decade, but more enjoying them for about 5 or so years. I’ve had some great cigars and some bad. But over the years, I’ve realized a few things I thought I would share with you all. Some are basic things and a few are a little more in-depth.
A Quality Cutter/Punch: You can’t draw smoke from a cigar without cutting off the cap of the cigar, so you will need a cutter/punch. You can get a cutter from $2 to hundreds of dollars. The cheapo’s are good if you are just starting out as a cigar smoker and not sure if cigar smoking is 100% for you. The cheaper cutters last for a few months, but in the long run you will need a replacement. I went through who knows how many cheap plastic cutters, most didn’t last past six months before they started pinching the cigar head. Eventually I got a nice XIKAR Xi3 Guillotine and 007 Punch cutter with a lifetime warranties. I had issues with them both and sent them back but got them fixed quickly for free, no questions asked. The 007 Punch cutter for some reason doesn’t seem to be as good of a cut as my keychain punch I got at a local B&M for $15. I don’t know exactly what it is, but the cheaper one seems to cutter smoother. So, price doesn’t always mean quality! I have came across a few “expensive” cutters that leave a fouled up cap cut and kick myself in the pants for using them.
I like Xikar products and have used many of them. All of them have their pros and cons, but the lifetime warranty is a major pro in my eyes. When all is said and done, you can get a quality product at an affordable price, but cost, a warranty and effectiveness are the main concerns if you ask me. You can spend lots of little money over a period of time on many cheap cutters that don’t last long. Or, you can get a quality cutter that will last you (almost) a lifetime.
A Quality Lighter: You can’t light your cigar without some type of flame. A effective lighter is an important item you should have in your smoking accessories. I do not suggest to use a Zippo as a cigar lighter, unless you use the butane inserts. The Zippo fluid gives off a foul taste in the cigar smoke and I don’t recommend it. I have a few Xikar lighters and have had very minimal issues with them. Mainly the issue is of not fueling them up properly (my mistakes). I don’t suggest cigarette lighters, unless they are butane. I use a refillable butane soft flame cigarette lighter from time to time. I also use the Ronson brand Jet-Light lighters. They are a great bargain at about $5 and work well, as long as you use some good triple refined butane fuel. I have one that is over 5 years old and still works to this day. But also have had a few that lasted less than a year. Reasons why I use them is they have lasted usually over a year and if I loose it, I am only out $5! Though $5/year is a pretty good deal; but you have got to remember, no lifetime warranty. It goes back to the deal: Spend $5 many times or $50 one time; your choice.
An Ashtray: An ashtray is a must if you smoke indoors as well as most outdoor situations. I’m sure no one ashes on the floor at their house, so a place to hold your cigars and ashes is a must. I’ve made ashtrays out of Coke cans when in a pinch. But 99% of the time I use my Stinky Ash Tray . I have the deep “Chalice” type that has four cigar holders and holds lots of ash & “nubs”. I only have to empty it maybe once a month. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. You can make an ashtray for next to nothing or buy one, either way, an ashtray is an almost must.
A Place to Store your Cigars: If you plan on enjoying cigars and possibly aging them, you need some type of storage. I’ve seen everything from tupperware, wine coolers, ice chests, walk-in, cabinet & desktop humidors. But in the end, you need a sealed box of some sort to hold humidity and your cigars. I’m not going to get into what temp and relative humidity to keep cigars at, that is way too in depth for me to get into right now.
Cigar Buddies: Everybody should have a friend (or lots of friends) to smoke a cigar with every now and then. Some one to conversate with and shoot the bull. Cigar smoking can be a very social occasion and what other way to relax and enjoy a good cigar, than with friends.
I have a good number of friends that smoke cigars and each have different likes in cigars. They are from all walks of life, go to different Churches, different sex/race, make more/less money, on different sites etc.. but we all have a common line of cigars. I enjoy talking to them about what each person likes to smoke and stories they have to tell about their experiences of their journey through life. Many of us are on twitter, facebook groups, forum sites, etc.. where we are talking with people on there while smoking. Though there is nothing wrong with smoking a cigar alone, everybody likes peace and quiet every now and then! But I believe cigar smoking is a very social occasion in general.
Respect of Others: Remember, not everybody is as cool as us cigar smokers! Some, why I don’t know, are repulsed by the smell of any type of burning tobacco. If you are out in public and come across someone who requests you to put out your cigar, don’t! Move on to an area that is more smoker friendly, no sense putting out a good cigar. Then you both are happy. You keep on smoking and the nonsmoker is not aggrevating you any more. We, as cigar smokers, don’t want to be known as “assholes who don’t care for others”.
An Open Mind: An open mind is a great thing to have when smoking cigars as well as in life in general. Variety is the spice of life and you can’t enjoy variety with a closed mind. Some people like spice in their cigar and some don’t. But be open to those who do (or don’t). There are all walks of life that enjoy cigars, but in the end, we all like a good cigar! So be open to the opinions of others of why they like a cigar (or other things). You never know, they may turn you on to the greatest cigar you have ever had. Without an open mind, you may not ever try it.
Try many cigars: I have come to realize, you truly do not know if you will like or dislike a cigar unless you try it. I try to keep a mental note and even paper notes on cigars I like and dislike. If you are on the fence on a cigar, try it a few times before you absolutely write it off as “not for you”. I have had bad smoking days where my taste buds are off and not like a cigar. Then come back to it at a later date and liked the same cigar I didn’t like earlier. If you dislike one line of a cigar, don’t give up totally on the company who makes it. Most companies have different blends and you never know, one may be the best cigar you have ever had. On the other hand, they may be the worst, but you’ll never know until you try them.
I am no cigar/life expert by any means! These are just a few things I have realized over the years and thought I would share with you. If you have things you have realized as a cigar smoker, feel free to post a comment of it.