Just For Fun.
Cigars have a wide and varied history. From Churchill to Columbo, from Schwarzenegger to JFK, Cigars have played their part in history and popular culture. Cigars to us is a serious business, but we try to not take it too seriously. Throughout our site you will see Cambridge Cigar Chit Chat quotes, historical facts, science and information about cigars. Here they are all listed together. Know something we don't about cigars? - let us know. it will be great to hear from you.
Cigar Chit Chats
Cambridge Cigar Chit Chat: To lick or not to lick? Sometimes you will see people either licking the outside of their cigars before lighting them or sliding them into and out of their mouths. Why? This does on occasion serve a practical purpose but for the most part is totally unnecessary. If the cigar you are about to smoke is in tip top condition, there is no need to lick and you will invariably do damage if you do so. However, if before smoking the cigar you press the outside of the cigar and it feels dry on the outside, then it does serve a purpose to dampen the outside leaves, This will slow the burn and enable the outside leaves to hold together more successfully than if the are left dry. Licking the outside of cigar has become one of those processes hijacked by the amateur would be cigar connoisseur that is undertaken to demonstrate knowledge of cigars over and above its genuine necessity.
Cambridge Cigar Chit Chat: How to light a cigar? People can get a bit serious concerning this subject. Bottom line is, try and have the right means to light a cigar with you, but if you don't, just get on with what you have. Better to light up than to not, just because you might commit a cigar no-no. What to avoid: Don't light your cigar with anything that might impart flavour (and I use the term looseley) to the cigar. So avoid petrol lighters, paper matches and your garden patio heater if you're feeling brave. With many tubed cigars, inside you will find a cut piece of cedar wood rolled inside the tube. This can be lit with anything and then this is used to impart the flame to the cigar. Butane lighters are OK. The likes of petrol Zippo lighters are not. Long wooden matches are also OK and some are made specifically for the lighting of cigars. So you've got an acceptable means of imparting a flame to the cigar with you. Now what do you do? Firstly, have a look at your cigar. Is it open for the draw of air at both ends? One end may be sealed and require cutting (see another ChitChat). Roll the cigar gently in your hand and feel the resistance of the tobacco leaves. It should be slightly spongy. That is to say, not bone dry and not too soft. You should be able to press the outer body of the cigar and then have this bounce back to its original shape. If it doesn't you can take action (see another chitchat). OK so you are ready to go ahead and light your cigar. First thing to do is to warm or toast the end of the cigar. Don't put it straight into your mouth and light the end - that's for cigarettes, Holding the cigar at a 45 degree angle, pointing downwards and far enough away from the flame that you won't light or ignite or turn red any of the tobacco, gently warm and toast the end of the cigar. Work on spreading an even layer of black warmth about the end of the cigar. This is done to avoid overheating the cigar for when you do take the final plunge and light it. It will also enable you to much more gently light your cigar and avoid you drawing in hot flame down into the tobacco further than needed. It will also give you a better chance of having an even spread of flame about the end of the cigar and avoid wasting parts of your expensive cigar that don't burn and keep up with the rest of the ignited tobacco. There is no rush here. Enjoy the process. Its all part of the 'show'. Some people gently blow on the end of the cigar in an effort to achieve the solid disc of toasted black at the end before lighting. This is OK, but try to avoid stoking the fire too much and seeing red. So you now have the end of your cigar nicely toasted and black. You are ready to light and take the first draw into your mouth. The toasting and the lighting should be seamless. Don't toast your cigar and then leave it for any time before lighting. This could possibly ruin the cigar. Get lighting straight away after having warmed your cigar. The final process of lighting the cigar in your mouth is much like the warming technique and is a continuance of this. Take the cigar into your mouth and bring the flame closer to the end of the cigar and gently begin to draw air through the cigar into your mouth in an effort to 'see red' at the end of your cigar. Don't over suck. This will only burn your cigar by getting it too hot and also burning areas of the cigar whilst leaving others untouched. You will then smoke your cigar and get a draw that the manufacturer did not intend, thus altering the taste and very likely wasting unlit areas of your cigar. Intermittently roll the cigar as you light it. Like a good car parker - keep looking. Look at both ends of your cigar. Try not to mis-shape the mouth end of the cigar as you make repetitive draws and try to achieve an even spread of red at the other. Move the flame about and alter the shape of your mouth as you go through this process. Keep revisiting the end of your cigar to see what areas are lighting and which are not. Be gentle. Don't overdo it. Don't get it too hot. Enjoy the theatre of it. Its all part of the smoke.
Cambridge Cigar Chit Chat: Before John F Kennedy imposed the embargo on Cuban goods and cigars in 1962 he instructed his secretary to go out and find and purchase as many H.Upmann Cuban Cigars that he could find. He returned with 1,200 cigars. He kept the cigars, imposed the embargo - but then never went without his favourite cigar for himself. Double standards, or shrewd? You decide.
Cambridge Cigar Chit Chat: During World War II The Dunhill Cigar Shop in Jermyn Street, London was bombed. This is where Winston Churchill's favourite cigars were stored, The staff there rang Churchill's office at 4am in the morning to reassure him that his cigars were safe.
Cambridge Cigar Chit Chat: Can a cigar be relit after it has gone out? Cigars will very often go out before you have finished. Sometimes this is because you have not been attending to it and smoking it, sometimes it will happen despite all your best efforts. It shouldn't, but it does. Then of course a cigar can be relit. I prefer to leave the existing ash that is at the end of your cigar and gently offer up the flame towards the unsmoked end immediately adjoining the ash stub. If you can get away with this, it will then mean that when the cigar is off and running again it will draw and taste the same as when you let it go out. You'll soon forget that you had let it go out. If you have to knock off the ash from the end of the cigar before lighting it, it can then change the whole taste and draw of the cigar when lit again. This I always feel ruins the 'flow'of the smoking process and it can often be like smoking a different cigar - usually to the detriment. I also find that it is difficult to not over do the relighting and making the cigar too hot. A cigar that has been left unlit for a long time - say over an hour or two can often be a lost cause. I'm sure there is a scientific reason for this, but when relit, it never seems to be the same and sometimes can be unpleasant to smoke. That said, you smoke what you have. Better to give it a go than to go without. We've all tried to rescue a lost cause, when a fresh cigar isn't available.
Cambridge Cigar Chit Chat. How to extinguish a cigar. A cigar left to its own devices will go out. Generally a good quality cigar will burn under its own steam for about 2 minutes unattended. Generally it is seen as a poor show to extinguish a cigar by stubbing it out. This is partly due to the smell that will be generated by a cigar being forced to go out this way, but its also seen as poor etiquette. It's comparable with leaving some drink in your glass when leaving a pub. Its a waste of an expensive commodity. That said we have all been in situations where we have had to leave a 'venue' before having the time to finish a good cigar and you then need to make a decision if you can take it with you, or safely leave it lit, but entrust it will go out of its own accord without causing a fire hazard and if you are likely to cause anyone any offence by stubbing it out. Here in the UK you are most likely to be smoking outside anyway.
Cambridge Cigar Chit Chat: How to cut your cigar. Not all but the vast majority of quality cigars are sealed at one end. So before you can smoke it, you will need to open up this sealed off end. In the movies, you will often see tough cowboys biting off the end of their cigar. Don't try this at home. All you will end up with is an un-smokeable mess. I'm sure it is possible to do this with success, but I have never seen it done and have only on one occasion tried it myself and I failed miserably. The TV detective Columbo is constantly seen biting off the end of his cigars. But this just served to bolster the detectives dis-organised personae rather than demonstrate how to smoke a cigar. In one episode a fellow cigar smoker gently berates him for doing this and introduces him to a V-cutter. I'm sure in the real world Columbo would have soon moved to a proper cigar cutter.
Different Types Of Cutters:
A Straight Cutter. This is a guillotine type cutter that cuts off the end of the cigar by bringing one sharp blade across and against a metal stop. cutting the cigar as it moves a cross. Some have blades that butt up together and some have blades that overlap when pushed together. The overlapping type gives a cleaner and more successful cut. These range in price from the virtually disposable plastic type to expensive high quality metal ones. This is the most commonly used cigar cutter. Generally you would cut to 2mm-3mm from the end of the cigar. When smoking a cigar that has been cut with this style of cutter you can very easily draw on the cigar to light it and keep it lit. There is also a double-blade version of the guillotine cutter, whereby two sharp blades simultaneously cut from both sides of the cigar. They can also be sprung.
Cigar Scissors. These also give a straight cut, They can be tricky to use and rely on the user ho;ding the straight.
A V-cutter. This cigar removes a wedge shaped insert from the end of the cigar and is generally a slightly more expensive style and hard-to-find cutter. This method of cutting allows a nice full draw of smoke from the cigar and it helps prevent the smoker wetting the end of the cigar during smoking and hindering the flow of smoke through the cigar.
A Punch-Hole Cutter. These cutters pierce a sizeable hole in the end of the cigar. Some smokers like the effect this has on the smoking process, but others say it doesn't allow a full draw of air and smoke through the cigar. Some quality cigar lighters have a device built into them to punch out the hole. So it can be a matter of convenience rather than choice.
A Shuriken Cutter. This is a modern invention that cuts six or eight slits in the end of the cigar. Done right it is a great way to open the end of your cigar and gives a nice full draw, However, it does rely on the cigar being in tip-top condition. If your cigar is damp or dry it can make a mess of the end.
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