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Cigar 101

How to Smoke a Strong Cigar

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Even if you prefer mild cigars, it’s tough to ignore the temptation to smoke a strong cigar on occasion. Hearty, full-flavored, full-bodied cigars are everywhere today. Stronger cigars score some the highest ratings and rankings in Cigar Aficionado. Former ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ titleholders include rich, peppery, and complex cigars like My Father Le Bijou 1922, Padron Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro, Oliva Serie V Melanio, and La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull.

Because strong cigars have more nicotine, it’s wise to keep a few tips in mind when you’re firing one up. Here is some good advice on how to smoke a potent cigar.

Use a Straight Cutter

If you don’t mind a cooler, looser draw on your cigar, cut it with a straight cutter. The cooler, easier draw you get with a straight or guillotine cutter is less concentrated than the draw you get with a punch cutter or a V-cutter. If your cigar is already on the strong side, a punch or V-cut will only increase the intensity.

Smoke Slowly

The biggest mistake you can make with a strong cigar is to smoke it too fast. Because nicotine has a latent effect, you might not realize how strong your cigar is until you’ve already consumed a good portion of it. Once the nicotine is in your system it can crescendo and make you feel dizzy or woozy from out of nowhere. Puff on your cigar at a measured pace. Set your cigar in the ashtray and let a minute pass in between puffs. This gives your system more time to absorb the nicotine and decreases the likelihood you’ll become nauseous.

Smoke on a Full Stomach

Another big no-no is smoking on an empty stomach. Even mild cigars can go to your head when you haven’t eaten. It happens especially fast when you’re smoking a strong cigar. Even tough guys who smoke potent and peppery Cain cigars for breakfast toss back a stack of flapjacks before they fire up. At the very least, snack on an energy bar. Your system can handle the buzz you get from a strong cigar ten times better with a meal on board.

Sugar to the Rescue

We’ve been there before. You smoked a cigar that’s a little too strong a little too fast and you forgot to eat beforehand. Now you’re nauseous and you can feel the nicotine sweats set in. Eat a packet or teaspoon of sugar. Or eat a piece of chocolate. Sugar synthesizes the reaction you feel from too much nicotine. It will take a few minutes for the sugar to take effect, but it will reverse the uneasy sensation your cigar has caused. Once it wears off, you can get back to putting some hair on your chest by smoking a strong cigar.

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