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Cigar 101

How to Smoke, Cut & Light a Perfecto Cigar

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Perfecto cigars automatically catch our attention with their artful tapering shapes. Several iconic brands display a true mastery of cigar-making with the beautiful and difficult-to-roll Perfectos they produce. Ashton ESG 24-Year Salute, Padron 80 Years, San Cristobal Maestro, Ashton VSG Enchantment, and the entire Arturo Fuente Hemingway line represent some of the most impressive Perfectos you can buy today.

Before you add one of these bulbous and intriguing specimens to your collection, let’s examine how to cut and light a Perfecto cigar. Is there a special method for smoking a Perfecto? Consider a few helpful tips before your hands grace the next Perfecto on your radar.

How to Cut a Perfecto Cigar

Like classic Torpedo-shaped cigars, Perfectos taper at the head. They are designed to deliver a tighter, more concentrated draw. As a result, don’t cut your Perfecto too deep. Cut above the cigar’s cap and keep the tapered head intact. Take a cold draw on the cigar. You can always cut a little more off, even after you light it, if you want a looser draw. But, Perfectos are intended to draw with more resistance, especially in the beginning. Consider using a V-cutter, too, if you want to improve the draw. A V-cutter creates more surface area to draw from without interrupting the tapered shape of the cigar’s head when you take a puff.

How to Light a Perfecto Cigar

The biggest misstep newbies make with Perfectos takes place when they’re lighting up. The foot on a Perfecto tapers like the head. And in some Perfectos, like the Arturo Fuente Hemingway series, the shape swells to its fattest point before the foot is finished in an abrupt nipple with a tiny surface area of exposed tobacco at the very end. Only light the nipple. Do not incinerate the entire foot of the cigar with your flame.

Many cigar lovers assume a Perfecto isn’t lit until the fattest area of the cigar’s ring gauge is fully engulfed. Not true. Perfectos are particularly enjoyable because the first several minutes of smoking focus exclusively on the wrapper’s flavor. Because you’re only lighting the nipple on the foot of the cigar, there is no excess fire or flame to interfere with the cigar’s natural flavors. Although the draw offers more resistance initially, you’re treated to a slow and steady disclosure of flavor from the cigar’s wrapper as it gently ignites the binder and fillers beneath.

How to Smoke a Perfecto Cigar

Take your time smoking a Perfecto. The draw will eventually loosen up, especially as the cigar burns up to, or past, its fattest point, but enjoy the progressive nature of a Perfecto’s burn. The shape is intended to burn slower and for a longer duration than a standard Parejo. Perfectos are very dynamic cigars. Due to their exaggerated taper, a tremendous concentration of taste culminates in the finish. Fans of Perfectos love to pinch the nub and smoke it to the bitter end. Anticipate a hotter finish than usual and exercise patience in getting there. You won’t be disappointed.

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