Cigar 101

How to Hold a Cigar

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Whether you’re smoking a dainty mini cigarillo, a ginormous 80-ring behemoth, or a more conventional cigar shape like a Toro, there is an art to holding your cigar. While there isn’t one singular method that expresses the ‘correct’ way to cradle a fine cigar, how you hold your cigar says a lot about you.

Most of us hold our cigars subconsciously, without giving it a second thought. Regardless, there will always be a contingent of cigar novices out there who are curious about the best way to hold a cigar.

Left hand? Right hand? Between the index and middle finger? Between the index finger and thumb? Should you take the band off? How long should you wait in between puffs? Yada, yada, yada.

As primo cigar hounds, your pals at Holt’s have compiled a quick list of common cigar poses. We’re not advocating any one position over another, however, we are happy to share our insights from our collective ten centuries of cigar smoking know-how to illuminate the underlying psychology behind a variety of familiar cigar smoking mannerisms.

The most important takeaway is that you should smoke your cigar however it feels most comfortable to you, as long as you’re not spraying a blizzard of ashes around the room or smoldering a hole into your buddy’s shirt just because he got too close to the end of your cigar. We just know there’s a perfect cigar pose for you, one that’s guaranteed to get a thousand likes on your Instagram account and cause utter pandemonium among your followers once they see how cool and confident you look with a cigar in your hand.

Read on for a revealing tutorial on how to hold a cigar.

The Wheeler Dealer

Step right up! The cigar sits hitched between the tips of your pointer and middle fingers. The thumb and the palm are opened in an affable gesture, as if to invite someone in or show them some new merchandise. Beware, the cigar’s heightened position on the hand can give its wielder an air of notoriety. Lecturing from your soapbox or selling appliances and used cars are probable activities that populate your day. You likely keep a few buttons undone at the top of your shirt where a gold medallion peeks out. This is a great posture when you need to make your pitch, get paid, and get out of town before someone finds out what you’re really up to.

The Pensive Ponderer

You’ve clearly got something to sort out, or you’re mulling over an important decision. The palm is closed and your cigar is perched between your index finger and thumb as you gently roll it back and forth. You need to come to the most logical conclusion possible after you’ve weighed all the options. Chances are, you’re dead-smack in the middle of doing your due diligence to get to the bottom of a deep thought or a challenging math equation, but you’re cool, collected, and you’ve got the situation under control.

The Pressure Cooker

Your fingers are clenched around the top of your cigar and your thumb applies a generous amount of pressure as you squish your cigar in a tense stance that indicates you’re under a tight deadline or you’re about to miss an important flight. Either a big bill is way overdue or the boss is on your back like an angry pterodactyl. There’s a good probability the end of your fine cigar is half chewed up because you’re having one of those days and your cigar is the last lifeline you’ve got tying you to your sanity.

The Art Collector

Black-tie affairs are where you feel most at home. Your cigar is relaxingly propped on your middle finger while your index finger gingerly cradles it over the top and gently meets the tip of your thumb for a bit of added support. It’s no surprise if you have a butler and own a racehorse. At least once a week, you’re headed out the door of your sprawling estate, clad in a top-hat and coattails, to attend another opulent gala with like-minded aristocrats. On a typical day, the biggest decision you have to rustle with is what smoking jacket to wear while you puff away with a vintage brandy in hand as you admire the Van Gogh hanging over your fireplace from the supreme comfort of a tufted leather armchair.

The Conspirator

You’re hatching a mischievous plan, no doubt. Multiple fingers clamber over the top of your cigar, while your thumb supports the underside, as you wriggle it around orchestrating the details of a secret plot. Your résumé is heavily redacted thanks to all the black budget exploits in your employment history. There’s a good chance you wear a black trench coat year-round, keep a low profile at all times, and you probably sleep in your sunglasses to avoid unwanted detection at all costs. You call the shadows home. You’d be tempted to leave the band on your cigar if it didn’t create a paper trail. ‘Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.’

The Penny-Pincher

Nothing goes to waste here. You’ve got a serious penchant for frugality. You could probably smoke a Robusto for four or five hours because you have no shame in getting every last puff from the nub, even if you have to use a paperclip or a tweezers to tease out the last draw from your cigar. Heck, if you could sweep up the ashes, you’d be A-OK stuffing them in a corncob pipe and saving them for the next day. You may or may not work as an accountant, but a calculator is never far from your grasp. It comes in handy when you’re shopping for the best deals on bottom-dollar cigar bundles that come without bands. So what? You’re not smoking to impress anyone else, and your wallet is fatter than a deck of playing cards.

The Chomper

This, perhaps, has the least to do with ‘holding’ your cigar, so much as it does with chewing it. A chomper’s cigar rarely leaves his mouth, even in the face of an emergency. Chompers like to light up and keep it that way. A befitting motto for chompers would be, ‘one after the other after the other,’ and so on. These are the guys who can smoke a box in the blink of an eye. That’s because a chomper never lets anything come between himself and his cigar, even coherent speech. Keep a couple feet back if you encounter a chomper. You can spot them from across the room thanks to ready indications like a spaghetti-stained shirt and the lingering shower of drool and ashes they leave in their wake. We love our fellow cigar fiends, but it may be best to avoid becoming a chomper. Cheers.

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