Ask SakaSquatch!

Each month, we ask Steve Saka some interesting questions about cigars and the cigar industry.

Hoochly: Hey SakaSquatch got any advice on smoking cigars that I may not know ?

SakaSquatch:

There is plenty of advice out there on how to select, store, and smoke cigars. Rather than repeat what everyone knows or says, here are ten quick lesser known tips to make your cigar smoking experiences more pleasurable.
  1. Smoking cigars in a really dry climate can really wreak havoc on the wrappers as they often split. A quick trick to reduce this is to actually wipe down the outside of the wrapper gently with water – just use a really damp cloth or paper towel, heck you can even run it under the faucet for a couple of seconds and shake off the excess. This is great tip for when you are playing golf in the Southwest or enduring the winter temps when smoking up North.
  1. An easy way to get a perfect cut from most double bladed guillotine cutters is to lay it flat on a table, place the cigar in it straight up, and snip. This method makes it easy to not only get a straight cut, but it with most cutters it nips just the right amount off the head of your cigar.
  1. A great way to keep your cigar burning even is to rotate the slow burning side to the bottom. I know this seems odd, but the bottom side will burn faster because the oxygen needed to feed the flame isn’t being displaced by the smoke. Try it and see!
  1. If you ever find yourself getting nauseous while smoking a cigar the quickest fix to curing your sour stomach is to drink or eat something high in sugar content. The sugar helps to counter act the nicotine in your system and often with just five minutes of drinking some juice or eating some candy you will find that nausea will alleviate.
  1. To prevent your cigar from going out between puffs give it a couple of extra quick short draws coupled with quick exhales before you take a long draw of smoke to savor against your palate each time. You will be amazed at how this simple practice helps to improve any difficult burning cigar.
  1. Ignore what everyone keeps telling you about 70%-72% being the ideal relative humidity for cigar storage. Many cigars are too wet at this level and will draw poorly and taste sour. You will enjoy a much better smoking experience keeping your stogies closer to 68% RH in most cases. If you smoke stronger cigars, the heavier materials often burn and taste much better when store at 65%-67%. The goal is to find what you like and to maintain that level – don’t allow yourself to get too anal over this.
  1. A quick and easy way to check how good a seal your humidor has is to empty it, place an energized flashlight inside, close the lid, and inspect it in a dark room. If there are any leaks or gaps the light will shine right through.
  1. Your butane lighter doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to? Purge it! What does this mean? Purging is simple, the next time your lighter is empty depress the fill stem and allow for the air trapped within the empty gas reservoir to be expelled. You will know it is properly purged when you cease to hear any hissing. Also hit the flame nozzle with canned air every so often to dislodge particle build up!
  1. Spend a few extra seconds ensuring your cigar is evenly lit in the very beginning. Gently warm the foot without allowing the flame to touch the cigar and then spark it to achieve a nice even cherry. Getting the light right in the beginning will often resolve many potential uneven burn issues.
  1. Another tip to help in achieving an even burn is to leave the ash intact as long as reasonable possible. The ash acts as an insulator for the foot of the cigar and keeps the cigar smoldering evenly, plus it actually helps to ensure the cigar does not burn too hot which will reduce bitterness.
I hope you find this collection of tips to be helpful. And if you happen to have a lesser known cigar tip yourself, do me a favor and email it to me at saka@dttcigars.com. Thanks!

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Steve Saka, aka SakaSquatch
, is regarded as a cigar expert throughout the industry, he is credited as being an experienced cigar blender and maker, a prolific author regarding cigars and black tobaccos, a forefather within the online media segment and a dynamic tobacco industry executive. In 2000, he worked directly for Lew Rothman, the former owner of JR Cigar, as an executive consultant for four years and he subsequently served as the President, then CEO of Drew Estate from 2005 through 2013. In 2015, he established the family held Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust to craft and distribute traditional handmade puros. For more information, please visit: www.dunbartoncigars.com.