Cigar Etiquette

by Randy Mastronicola

The cigar universe is diverse in many ways. However, most agree that social interaction and an appreciation for finer things initially attracted us to the culture. Cigars, wine, cognac, coffee and myriad other pleasures are there for the taking. We’ve made memories, established friendships, learned about different world cultures and developed our identities based on our passions. Those new to cigars are clean slates. The following tips will help them find their way and give us seasoned veterans an opportunity to revisit the rules. We’ll put “10” in the Tenets of Good Cigar Etiquette.

  1. You’ve been smoking for a long time, it’s great you want to share your expertise but it’s good form to offer advice only when asked. Allow newbies to expand their knowledge base and palate at their own pace and don’t overwhelm them with too much information.
  2. Holding a cigar between your thumb and index finger is considered elitist and antiquated. The comfort zone for most of us is between the index finger and middle finger.
  3. The debate regarding smoking with the “band on” or “band off” is old news. It’s a matter of taste. Cigar bands can be artistic and intricate. Leave it on if you like looking at it or take it off (gently) if you prefer au naturale.
  4. Be mindful of your ash. Your patio and your favorite cigar lounge owner will appreciate it. It enhances the experience when a quality stick holds a nice long ash. However, it’s acceptable to gently roll out into the ashtray.
  5. Walking into a retail shop’s humidor is like being a kid in a candy shop. It’s a rookie mistake to put your nose on a cigar, take a big whiff and place it back in the box. Never inhale a stick through cellophane as well.
  6. Your wife calls you in to help with dinner prep or you need to leave the lounge and get back to work. Remember, you’re a cigar smoker, not a Marlboro Man. No smashing and stubbing because it creates a nasty smell and discarding a cigar in that manner looks unsightly. It’s best to set your stick down and let it go out of its own volition.
  7. People and cigars have stories. Share yours with others and new cigars and friendships will come your way. You’ll look back in a few years and be humbled by the impact your new hobby has made on your life.
  8. We implore you to not lick or roll your unlit stogie around in your mouth in public. It’s amateurish and off-putting to those witnessing it. Engaging in that wet and wild activity offers no benefit to a properly humidified cigar anyway.
  9. Prep your cigar properly with a good cut from a quality cutter. (We have a no box cutter and cap biting policy.) Toast your cigar until it glows red and lightly blow the foot to spread the heat throughout.
  10. Slow and steady is the way to go. Avoid smoking too quickly. It overheats the tobacco and creates a harsh taste. No need to huff, puff and fire up one stick after another either. Savor and enjoy your cigar moments and you’ll be a better man (or woman) for it.