How To Smoke Them…
Interested in having an essential and authentic Dominican experience but new to the cigar world? Cigars are a primary Dominican craftsman product and are world-renowned for their bold, earthy flavors and creamy sweetness. However, too many beginners can become cigar-shy knowing that there are aficionados out there with the knowledge and the know-how to do everything the best way, from cutting to lighting and smoking away. Even if you have never smoked a cigar before and don’t really know how, don’t worry! We have our essential how-to guide to get the most out of your relaxing cigar experience.
Pick a cigar. Obviously this is step one. If you don’t know what kind of cigar to go for, start by asking for one with mild flavour and a light wrapper. The lightness of the wrapper affects the nicotine levels in the cigar and lighter ones can help prevent nicotine sickness which is nausea caused by smoking. Starting with the classics is also a good idea. Arturo Fuente, La Flor Dominicana and other local favorites are easy to find and always satisfy. Remember that each cigar has its own unique flavor profile and composition so don’t feel obliged to buy a whole box right off the bat. Purchase a few different individual cigars to try out and see which ones resonate most with you.
Pick a place. Of course, once it is time to smoke the cigar, you need to find somewhere to do it. Some cigars can burn for 3 hours so be sure to go somewhere you are allowed to be for awhile and ensure you are aware of their smoking-friendly policy. Try to avoid family places to prevent second-hand smoke affecting young children and others. Lastly, make sure it is somewhere comfortable: a nice lounger chair or something to that effect where you can sit for awhile and not need to interrupt your smoking experience. Having something to look at doesn’t hurt too – half the appeal of smoking cigars is the quiet contemplation that comes from taking a long smoke break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Use a match (or two). Or at the very most, a butane lighter. But avoid using a Zippo because of the chance that you could contaminate the cigar with foreign substances from it. You don’t want to ruin a possibly premium cigar by lighting it the wrong way. The very best strategy is to use two matches, both struck at the same time, and hold it to the end of the cigar before putting it in your mouth and taking the first preliminary puffs. Once the wrapper rim starts to glow at the end, the cigar is fully lit and you can safely discard the matches.
Get something to drink. You simply cannot smoke a cigar without also having something to drink and no, water doesn’t cut it. Whether it is soda, whisky or a cup of coffee, the drink will enhance the taste of the cigar and vice versa, giving you a new appreciation for both.
Savour the flavor. Don’t rush while you are smoking. The slow burn of the cigar is its appeal so don’t feel like you need to be huffing and puffing along on it. In fact, in case you don’t know it, most people do not inhale cigar smoke but simply fill their mouth with it, tasting the complex flavors of the tobacco mixture before breathing it out. Inhaling can affect your enjoyment of the cigar and cause a coughing fit.
Adopt the “tranquilo” frame of mind. Similarly, not rushing means consciously adopting the classic Dominican state of mind. Relax and be present with your smoking experience, abandoning your worries for the moment and enjoying whatever view you decided on.
When you’re done, you’re done. It may only be that you have smoked half the cigar and that’s fine. A cigar is not really something you can wrap up to light and smoke again later. Once it is finished, that is the end of that cigar’s life. Let it burn out in the ashtray or gently tap it out but avoid crushing the cigar to snuff it out which might ruin its wrapper and is disrespectful to the craft. Remember that each cigar is hand-rolled, after all!
Freshen up after. Recognize that not everyone will appreciate your new-found habit or the oaky taste of a smooth smoke. When you’re done, be sure to rinse your mouth out, use mouthwash or chew some gum to clear up your palette, especially before you intend to plant a kiss on someone!
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