Cigar Essentials

Cigar Essentials

Every luxury indulgence exists in an environment beyond the item itself. There’s often a culture, sometimes a community, but always an etiquette  connected to the experience. “Just as there is an etiquette associated with enjoying a bottle of wine, the same is true of cigars,” explains Kevin Threat, general manager of Davidoff of Geneva in Columbus Circle in New York City. “It’s a handmade product and deserves the attention to detail any artisanal product would demand.” Because cigars are also often shared with business colleagues and in settings that could influence business opportunities, Threat shares tips on decorum that impact professional impressions.

No dipping or licking. Dipping the tip of the cigar into a shot of scotch or cognac is a dated habit–and ill-mannered,  Threat protests. “The practice is completely unnecessary.” Certain spirits will complement the flavor of a cigar, but the cigar should not be dipped in a shot glass. Licking the cigar is also an outdated habit. Threat says there was a time when it was necessary to correct loose wrapping in machine-made cigars. “Today torcedoras [cigar rollers] understand the elasticity of the leaf. They know how to keep it intact.”

No stubbing. “It is frowned upon to stub your cigar like a cigarette.” Because the ring gauge of a cigar tends to be broad, stubbing can create an overwhelmingly unpleasant smell of smoke. “The best way to conclude a cigar experience is to allow the cigar to rest in the ashtray and go out on its own.”

No compulsive ashing. “The cigar is not a cigarette and should not be ashed after every puff. As a matter of fact, it is preferred to have the ash grow in length, thereby reflecting the artisanal integrity of the hand-rolled product. The ash speaks volumes about how well the cigar was rolled and the unmistakable quality thereof.”

Have the right tools. A cigar cutter and lighter are essentials. Threat recommends using a pressurized butane lighter that is odorless. Fumes from lighters using lighter fluid can integrate into the flavor profile of the cigar, he says. “Torch flame lighters are becoming popular because they are wind-resistant, which means you can light up outdoors.” If opting for matches, light two long-stemmed matches simultaneously to more evenly cover the foot of the cigar. For cutters, there’s the guillotine or the hole punch, “which doesn’t disrupt the cap or the head of the cigar.” If you’re not sure how to cut, Threat recommends having the tobacconist either show you or cut it for you, as a bad cut can cause the cigar to unravel. Finally, Threat says travelers should consider a leather cigar case or a traveling humidor. The main consideration for humidors is the regulator, which maintains the appropriate temperature and humidity levels.