How to smoke a cigar like a pro
EDGAR‘s resident cigar expert explains how to smoke a cigar correctly, and details a recent Mayan discovery.
Here at EDGAR, cigars fascinate us. After all, there are few more manly pursuits than to light up a well-made stick, pair it with a fine cognac and recline in a leather wingback chair, listening to some timeless rhythm and blues.
While we’ve previously told you about the best cigars bars in Dubai, how to cut and light one and these awesome cigar gadgets, we’ve brought in a cigar expert to explain the trick to smoking them, as well as details on a recent Mayan discovery. Over to you, Armando…
Smoke slower, taste better
One of the most common limitations to correctly distinguishing flavours in a cigar is smoking too fast. Draws on a cigar should be separated by at least one minute. Smoking faster than this rate will cause problems for the cigar and not allow the flavours to be distinguished from one another.
Smoking your cigar too fast will cause the tobacco to reach a high temperature, resulting in strong bitter flavours landing on your palette, which will mask the more subtle tastes you originally intended to enjoy. Unfortunately, these bitter flavours in a cigar also leave a long aftertaste, so it is difficult for your palate to recover from overheating. Smoking too fast can also lead to tar build-up in the end of the cigar, which will make the last third of the cigar almost un-smokable. I recommend you avoid this, as the final third of a cigar is where a lot of the complex flavours are stored and occur during smoking.
Finally, smoking too fast is not conducive to flavour identification because it does not allow time for your brain to properly process the taste and aroma signals and access your flavour memories. Leaving enough time to focus on the essence and the flavours after each draw will greatly enhance your ability to identify them.
If you think you smoke too fast, try keeping a watch beside you and taking a draw every minute. After you have done this for a while it will become second nature.
Legendary explorer Christopher Columbus is credited with the discovery of tobacco and its introduction into Europe. His sailors first came across tobacco leaves in the Dominican Republic, and later in Cuba.
Today, cigar tobacco is grown in huge quantities across south and central America, north Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, western Europe and eastern United States. Smoking became popular throughout Europe by the middle of the 16th Century and continued to grow in popularity into the 19th century. Just recently, archeologists from Tampa University were digging in Guatemala when they found a clay plot labeled “sicars,” which in Yucatec literally means ‘to smoke rolled tobacco leaves’, and is the origin of the word “cigar.” Usually the jars they find in excavating Mayan ruins do not contain what the label says. In fact, they almost never do. But this time, for only the third time ever, it did.
Inside the jar was a stash of nearly perfectly preserved, 600-year old Mayan cigars. And yes, experts believe they are smokable. Undoubtedly they will be auctioned off to the highest bidder and while there’s no telling how much they’ll go for, I’m going to take a guess and say it’ll be more than $200,000. After all, you can continue to make giant 1,600 pound cigars, and you can make more cigars soaked in cognac, even with cognac that is 100 years old, but you can’t make any more 600-year old cigars.
I would presume that a wealthy aficionado of cigars is going to pay a bundle for them and I would guess that they will probably name the cigars, Huracan (Spanish: Huracán; Mayan: Hunraqan) meaning “one legged" – the Mayan God of wind, storm and fire.
If you don’t believe me... ask the ashtray.
Armando Nunez is from Marz Global. Visit marzglobal.com