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How to Pair Cigars and Alcohol

The cigar has long been viewed as a luxury of the rich and powerful. Images of well-to-do men puffing on a stogie and swirling a glass of good brandy have been well documented and memorialized in films and TV. If you are just becoming interested in cigars and would like to relax with a stogie and drink after a long day’s work, here are a few tips to get you started.

Traditionally, the cigar has been paired with a strong drink. Popular spirits include rum, brandy, or whiskey. Some argue that a good cigar should always be paired with a strong drink that has a hint of sweetness. Indeed, cigar smokers have long enjoyed these popular pairings. For years, the idea of pairing cigars with beer has gone overlooked. But why overlook good old beer, Recently, the trend has been to pair cigars with various varieties of beer. It seems that as cigars have entered the mainstream, it has been democratized and popularized. What better way to enjoy a puff of this newly popularized treat than to pair it with beer,

Pairing a good cigar with a good beer is not an easy feat, but when accomplished, it is well worth the effort. Much of the pairing has to do with your experience level. If you are a novice, you will probably need help in pairing your specific cigar with an appropriate beer. If you have a more experienced palate, and you know what you like, you can probably make connections between certain types of cigars and beers.

Because cigars are so strong and flavorful, one of the challenges in pairing is to find a beer that complements the intensity of most cigars. Most cigars will pair nicely with a good barely wine or a single malt scotch. If your cigar can be described as woody, spicy, with hints of cedar, try pairing it with a barley wine. The fruity hint of barely wine should complement nicely with the spicy flavor of your cigar. The combination of a spicy cigar with a slightly fruity beer can create an overall creaminess that enhances the flavors of each significantly.

If you have no clue as to what flavor combinations might work, experiment. First, find a cigar that you enjoy. Try to identify the characteristics that you enjoy about it. Then, find a beer whose flavors you think might ‘match’ or complement the cigar. Many incredible discoveries have been made in much this same way.


How to Choose the Perfect Single

Wondering how to choose the perfect cigar, If you’re a newcomer to the world of cigar smoking, here are a few tips to choosing the best cigar.

First, note the texture of the cigar. Squeeze it gently. Is very soft, or rigid, Ideally, the cigar should give slightly, but not too much. Very gently, squeeze the length of the cigar to check for lumps. A good cigar will have a consistent texture.

Next, inspect the cigar for flaws. Any cracks or discolorations are the signs of a lower quality cigar. The cigar’s wrapper should be wrapped smoothly.

Finally, look at the ends of the cigar. Pay particular attention to the exposed end where cigar is lit. If you’re new to cigars, it can be difficult to gauge the quality of the tobacco. The simplest way to judge the tobacco quality of a cigar is to inspect the color of the tobacco. If you note any abrupt color changes, this may indicate that the tobacco leaves were not laid out properly. Look for a cigar with a smooth blend of tobacco.


How to Buy Cigars as a Gift

Is there a cigar aficionado on your gift list, Wondering how to choose a decent cigar for a friend or loved one, Even if you know nothing about cigars or choosing a good cigar, just learning a few basics can help you sniff out (sometimes literally) a good cigar to give to a friend.

Fortunately, cigars have now entered the mainstream. Once the symbol of the rich and powerful, it’s easier than ever for just about anyone to purchase a good cigar. Of course, you probably won’t be able to buy your friend a box of top-tier Cuban cigars, but you can definitely buy them a good quality cigar that will put a smile on their face.

First, visit your local tobacconist or specialty smoke shop for the best quality and widest selection. Avoid ‘drugstore’ cigars. Although they may be inexpensive and convenient to purchase, drugstore cigars are usually filled with preservatives and generally of poorer quality. They may contain, at minimum, saltpeter, paper, glycerin, and other preservatives and irritants. You should make sure that the cigars you purchase are made of 100% tobacco. If you have any questions regarding the cigars ingredients, ask the salesperson. An experienced and knowledgeable sales clerk will be able to tell you extensive information about the ingredients.



Your local tobacco shop is a good place to shop because you will generally be allowed to smell and touch the cigars. Squeeze the cigar gently. A good quality cigar will give a little when squeezed. The cigar should be firm, with no excessively soft or hard spots. Never buy a lumpy cigar. Look at the wrapper. If you notice any drying or discoloration, best not to buy it. Ideally, the wrapper should be tight and smooth. Inspect the color of the tobacco to make sure it is even. Do this by inspecting the end of the cigar. Some color variation is normal, but if the color changes abruptly, chances are the cigar was not rolled properly. A cigar that is not rolled properly may result in an uneven burning and unpleasant odors.

If you’re not sure how much your friend smokes, choose a longer cigar. Longer cigars tend to have a ‘cooler’ tastean excellent choice for beginners. If you know your friend is an experienced and regular smoker, choose a cigar that is greater in diameter. These cigars tend to have a richer flavor that experienced smokers will appreciate.

How to Blow Smoke Rings with Your Cigar

Do you yearn to blow smoke rings with your cigar like a pro, Stogie aficionados often speak of the ceremony-like deliberateness of smoking a good cigar. Blowing smoke rings is the mark of a smoker who enjoys the smooth and relaxing effects of smoking. But how do you blow a good smoke ring, Some argue that it cannot be taughtthat it will simply come to you with time and practice. Regardless, here are a few tips to get you going.

Veteran smokers note that in order to blow a good smoke ring, you will need to create dense smoke. Draw a deep, dense smoke puff into your mouth. Hold the smoke there and then open your mouth slowly and deliberately. Open your mouth, shaping your lips into a rounded ‘O.’ and pull your tongue back as you expel the smoke.



Keep in mind that you are not exhaling the smoke, but simply pushing it out of your mouth. Also keep in mind that this maneuver will not work if there is even a slight breeze in the air. Make sure you try it in a location with still calm air.

Fighting the Beetles: Protecting Your Cigars from Infestation

Your cigar box may be at risk of a secret predator. Many cigar aficionados have been shocked and repulsed at finding their treasured cigars infested with Lasioderma Serricorne, also known as tobacco beetles. This dreaded beetle feeds on your precious cigars. They don’t care if your cigars are drugstore mass-market brands, or imported beauties.

What is the tobacco beetle, and where does it come from, The tobacco beetle exits in all countries where tobacco is produced. It thrives on tobacco plants, infesting their leaves before it is processed. Tobacco beetles thrive in hot climates, and especially in the warm countries Caribbean countries where much of the world’s tobacco is produced. Tobacco beetles lay larvae that are white and up to 4 mm long. When the larvae hatch, they produce moths that proceed to hungrily eat their way through the tobacco leaves. Unfortunately, the tobacco beetle has been known to survive the process of fermentation and production that is used to make most cigars. Although many countries have made the effort to rid their tobacco crops of this dreaded pest, mostly by spraying crops with gases, the tobacco beetle has proven highly resistant.



If the tobacco beetle survives into the finished product, many cigar enthusiasts may open their cigar boxes to find that their cigars have been eaten through. Sometimes the presence of the tobacco beetle can be detected through the presence of small puncture-like holes on the wrapper. The holes can make an average cigar resemble a flute.

What can you do if you find your cigars infested with the tobacco beetle, Research has shown that your microwave may be your best defense in destroying the tobacco beetle larvae. Before using your microwave, remove and dispose of any infested cigar from your collection. The rest of your cigars can be treated. In order to rid the remaining of your collection of this pest, you should make sure to microwave your cigars together, never individually. Microwave them for about three minutes. After being warmed, immediately place the cigars into the freezer. After freezing them for 24 hours, remove them and allow them to thaw at room temperature. After they have thawed completely, place them in a humidor. This treatment has proven effective in removing the presence of the tobacco beetle. Before removing a cigar from the humidor to be smoked, examine each cigar individually. If the cigar shows no evidence of infestation, it is safe to smoke.

Drugstore Cigars: A Good Buy,

The sheer diversity of cigars can be confusing for new smokers. Many new smokers want to know: is it OK to buy cigars from their local drugstore or chain store, What is the quality of these cigars, Can you expect to get good flavor from these cigars,



While of course, it’s perfectly OK to purchase these cigars, be aware that these packaged cigars are usually of poorer quality. Most ‘drugstore’ cigars contain preservative or other non-tobacco ingredients. Common ingredients found in packaged cigars may include paper, Glycerin, and saltpeter. High quality cigars will contain only tobacco. Packaged drugstore cigars will generally contain these extra ingredients designed to keep them stored on the shelves for extended periods of time.

In order to get the best quality cigars, you will have to visit your local tobacconist. While many mail order businesses do carry good quality cigars, be aware that they usually will not sell singles, thus you will have to purchase whole boxes. Visiting your local tobacconist allows you to test different brands before settling on a box.

Cigars vs. Cigarettes: Which is worse for Your Health,

Most everyone has heard about the health risks of smoking both cigars and cigarettes, and the dangers of secondhand smoke. But which is worse, Do cigar smokers really have the advantage over cigarettes smokers, The answer is much more complicated than anyone ever thought.

A Matter of Degree

Research from the National Cancer Institute indicates that the health risks posed by both cigarettes and cigars are strongly linked to frequency of use. That is, it’s not whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars, but how much and how often you consume them. Individuals who smoke cigarettes on a daily basis are at a greater risk of developing cancer than people who smoke the occasional cigar. That said, evidence indicates that cigars contain many more carcinogens than cigarettes. It also appears that cigar smoke is more toxic than cigarette secondhand smoke. Much of this is due to the fact that cigars are bigger than cigarettes, and thus produce more smoke.

To Inhale or Not,

Debate has also concentrated on the issue of inhaling nicotine from cigars and cigarettes. Dedicated cigar enthusiasts argue that cigars are less dangerous than cigarettes because they don’t require you to inhale as much toxins. The National Cancer Institute’s research indicates that both cigar and cigarette smokers are exposed to carcinogens, regardless of whether they inhale or not. Even without inhaling, smokers are still exposing their mouths, tongues, larynxes, and throats to carcinogens. In fact, simply holding an unlit cigar or cigarette between your lips can expose you to carcinogens. Furthermore, when saliva comes in contact with a cigar or cigarette, even momentarily, carcinogens are swallowed. When carcinogens are swallowed, the throat, larynx, and esophagus further become exposed to these toxins and irritants. Cigarette and cigar smokers appear to swallow similar amounts of carcinogens, resulting in approximately the same percentage of risk in developing oral and esophageal cancers.

Research indicates that the health risks associated with both cigars and cigarettes may be reduced if the degree inhalation is adjusted. Because most cigarette smokers tend to inhale deeply and smoke on a regular basis, they are at higher risk of developing cancer of the larynx. To get an idea of how inhalation of smoke relates to health risks, the National Cancer Institute tells us that the lung cancer risk of someone who smokes five cigars a day and inhales moderately has about the same risk as someone who someone who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day.


Cigars 101: An Overview of Cigars

Cigars have long been associated with the rich and powerful, with relaxation and rich flavor. Cigar aficionados have created a culture around the art of smoking, assembling various theories and accessories to debate and facilitate smoking. Much like wine tasting, cigar smoking has been seen as a diversion of the upper echelons of society.

It is believed that cigars were probably first produced in Spain, and then quickly caught on in other European countries. Although many different countries manufacture cigars, Cuban cigars have long been highly regarded as one of the most flavorful and rich of all cigars. This is due to regional microclimates that are said to produce the highest quality tobacco, as well as the skill of the country’s cigar makers. Other countries that produce significant amounts of tobacco and cigars include Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and the United States. Why have cigars long caught the attention of so many, Many speculate that the cigar’s main attraction is in the way it is manufactured. High quality cigars are always wrapped by hand. Unlike cigarettes, cigars undergo a lengthy process of fermentation and aging (much like wine), resulting in subtle flavors and textures. They are highly individual and the best cigars will provide no smoky aftertaste at all.



The taste of cigars is much more complex than cigarettes. The majority of all cigars are created by wrapping three different layers of tobacco leaves together. High quality cigars usually contain long leaves of nicotine as the filler, although they may also contain a combination of scraps. This results in subtle variations, different textures, and complex flavors. Cigarettes, on the other hand, are mass-produced and generally only contain one type of tobacco. Cigars also come in an incredible variety of flavors. The dedicated cigar aficionado can find chocolate, vanilla, apple, and even coffee-flavored cigars!

Although cigars have long been lauded for their smooth and complex flavors, they can also pose a great health risk. All tobacco contains nicotine. We’ve all heard about the negative health risks of nicotine, but what does it do exactly, Nicotine is a stimulant that produces a sense of euphoria. Even the casual smoker cannot escape the fact that nicotine is highly addictive and contains various toxins, carcinogens, and irritants. Although most connoisseurs of cigars will avoid inhaling the smoke, they are still at risk of developing various types of oral and larynx cancers.

Cigar Smoking Etiquette

Smoking cigars may be a great source of pleasure in your life, but the courteous smoker knows that not everyone enjoys the taste (or smell!) of a good Cuban. With the fervor of anti-smoking campaigns still in full swing, the importance of enjoying a good stogie while not offending others cannot be stressed enough. Simply remember that while you are smoking a cigar, it can be difficult to gauge the smell that others are experiencing. And don’t forget that cigar smokes can leave a mighty strong residue on clothing, furniture, and even the walls! In order to enjoy your stogie without a heavy conscience, learn to become a considerate and courteous cigar smoker.

If you live with non-smokers, try to find a well-ventilated area of your residence where you can smoke comfortably. Although it may be tempting to lock yourself away in an office or bedroom, it’s probably not a good idea to smoke in an enclosed area unless it has a window. Make sure you have easy access to the window. Never smoke in a closed area! You are more likely to inhale the toxic air from your own cigar. If possible, go outside to smoke. Pull up a lawn chair; relax on the porch, or any other open area where you can smoke comfortably. Get as far away as possible to non-smokers, especially children and the elderly. Remember that cigar smoke contains many carcinogens that can be easily inhaled by non-smokers.

If you must smoke a cigar outside your home, remember that the courteous and respectful smoker will only light up where legally permitted. Do no light up in a bar, hotel, or restaurant where smoking is clearly prohibited. The courteous cigar smoker will also make sure to smoke in the company of other smokers. If you are with someone who does not smoke, ask his or her permission. If they agree, be considerate about it. Make sure the smoke isn’t wafting in their direction. Sit near an open window or space. Make sure the air conditioner or current is moving the smoke in their direction! Also, make sure no one around you is eating. The secondhand smoke from a discourteous smoker is a surefire way to ruin a meal.



A courteous cigar smoker will also be aware of their ashes. If you must smoke outside your home, make certain to dispose of your ashes in a safe and appropriate container. Don’t forget that ashes can easily blow away, especially in lower quality cigars. Don’t litter with ashes, and be careful they don’t blow near anyone around you.

Cigar Smoking 101

What are the basics of cigar smoking, How do you light a cigar, How do you draw on the cigar properly, Do you inhale, What are the dos and don’ts of cigar smoking, If you have ever pondered any of these questions, read on. Here is a simple and accessible primer designed to help you gain familiarity with the sometimes confusing, always enigmatic world of cigar smoking.

First Step: Lighting Up

First, all new cigar smokers should learn how to properly light a cigar. Use a clipper designed for cigars to clip off the edge of the head (the section you put to your mouth). If possible light the foot of your cigar with a cedar match. Avoid regular cigarette lighters. They produce a nasty odor that can linger and ruin a good cigar. If you must use a lighter, use butane lighter. These will keep the odor to a minimum. However, you should always strive to use a wooden match because lighters can easily taint the foot of your cigar. How do you light up, Simply strike a match and hold the edge of your cigar over the flame. Avoid touching the cigar to the fire, simply hold the cigar over the flame and draw deeply until the cigar is lit.

Second Step: Burn it down to a nub,

Should you burn your cigar down to a nub, Experts recommend you leave at least two inches to your cigar. Even the finest cigars will tend to get bitter if you let it burn all the way down. What about ashes, Should you knock the ashes off of your cigar, Rather than knocking the ashes off the edge, let the cigar rest in the ashtray when you’re not smoking it. The ashes will fall off naturally.

Third Step: Relax and Enjoy

A cigar should never be rushed. By design, cigars should be savored, preferably after dinner and with a glass of good brandy. Hold the cigar between your thumb and fingersanything else might be considered bad taste. Also, don’t inhale deeply. The smoke should not reach your lung. This is very bad for your health, and it will not help you taste the cigar any better. Of course, you should always be considerate of those around you. If possible, smoke in the company of other cigar smokers. A good cigar can be enjoyed alone and even more so with friends.


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