How To Light a Cigar

How To Light a Cigar

Cigars 101

When discussing cigars, what pops into our minds would be the successful and charismatic individuals we either are or aim to be… We address the gentle folks who enjoy the opulent delicacies of life. Undoubtedly, the method wherewith to savor the indulgence best, and the right tools, are the defining factors for the perfect experience.


Unlike a cigarette; luxury-lit cigars need more patience and expertise. Unless you're coached by Arnold Schwarzenegger; we're the best candidate for ensuring that you'll look as badass as Al Pacino or Tom Selleck puffing a Cuban Montecristo. You may not be there yet, but you will be.


There are a few mistakes even seasoned cigar smokers might fall into; it doesn’t involve using their teeth or inhaling too much for example. There's a proper way to cut the cigar, a proper way to light, purge, extinguish, and relight it. We’ll go through the steps one by one and even advise you with the prime tools for the process.

Best Ways to Light a Premium Cigar


Cut the Cigar

First off; how to cut a cigar; when cutting the cigar the right tool is of the essence; thus we recommend using a plastic cigar cutter for its sharp blades and firm grip. This guillotine cutter has a hole that holds the cigar in place to ensure a clean, precise cut, free of uneven cuts or torn wrappers. The ideal way to cut a cigar can be summarized in a few steps.

First, locate the cap; it is often visible as the rounded section of the leaf. Second; take your time in placing the cigar into the hole of the guillotine cutter, but be swift while cutting. You don’t want to cut the cigar too shallow, since that would make a smaller, narrower cap to draw from. And you don’t want to cut too deep, because a wider cut, past the cap would cause tears and unfortunate unraveling. Third, cut with one swift confident squeeze, without hesitation. 

Keep your cigar above yet near the flame

Treat your cigar with admiration. Take the time to enjoy the feel of having a cigar between your fingers. Smell the aroma it gives off even before lighting it on, be patient while lighting it. You best place the cigar at a thirty-degree angle above the flame, yet near it; just like a marshmallow over a campfire; it doesn’t touch the flame, it merely hovers above it. If the cigar happens to touch the flame by mistake, don’t panic; even if it slightly burns, just quickly move the cigar back out of the flame and continue the process. 

Rotate your cigar near the flame

As the cigar heats up, rotate the cigar so that all parts of the foot roast equally. Stay at it until a glowing ring appears around the foot of the cigar with its edges blackened. The process is visibly satisfying so you will not mind the diligence.


Gently blow on the foot of your cigar to disperse excess heat

Purging the cigar helps rid it of any impurities or uneven burn. This simple step not only makes a soothing sensation but also promotes a sense of relief and relaxation. It's a moment where you add an extra touch of care to the process of cooling down.


Take slow but long draws

Finally, relax and take your first cigar puff. Keep the smoke in your mouth for ten to thirty seconds. Do not inhale; the cigar’s fragrance, aroma, and taste are enjoyed by your sensory organs of smell and taste. Take slow but long puffs so that you can get as much smoke in your mouth and feel the concentration of flavor. If ever you felt like there is an uneven burn; worry not; simply repeat the process of heating while rotating until the foot is roasted evenly again. 

Types of Cigar lighters

The tools used in the process mentioned above are as important as the process itself. After all a master craftsman is only as good as his tools allow him to be.

Multi-flame lighters

Multi-flame lighters are excellent for providing two or three adjustable jets, which will light the cigar more evenly and thoroughly. The multi-flame jets will take less time to light a cigar since the flames are distributed to heat wider areas of the cigar’s foot. These types of lighters are favored by the gents who enjoy cigars with a wider band. For cigars with a narrower band torch lighters would be a better choice for precision.

Torch lighters

Torch lighters are an exquisite piece of engineering. They work by pushing butane through a narrow nozzle creating a powerful jet torch. Torch lighters are a great choice for cigars because they provide a concentrated, prominent, and very hot flame, which is also narrow, meaning it provides more precision. You can zero in on your cigar for a flawless light. The immense heat makes it faster to light cigars, however, you need to be a tad more careful with these types of lighters; you don’t want to char your cigar so keep the flame around three to four inches above the flame while lighting. 

Soft cigar lighters

Soft cigar lighters are the final type of lighters on our list and it is designed for the gents who are patient by nature and don’t mind the slow heating, since it is the perfect lighting they are after, not the fast but potentially risky lighting. These lighters also use Butane gas, which is perfect for cigars since it doesn’t leave any unwanted flavors in the cigar.

Oil lighters, stoves, or candles would definitely ruin the flavor and impart unwanted bitterness. Although the soft lighter uses Butane gas, unlike the torch lighter; the gas is not pushed through a nozzle, so the flame burns softly producing a gentler, less intense heat. These types of lighters are especially ideal for cigars with delicate wrappers. 

How to Relight a Cigar

It is preferable to enjoy a cigar in one sitting, but if you feel obliged to let it rest for a bit for any reason, then that is also okay as long as the cigar doesn’t sit for a long time; we’ll touch on that detail shortly, but first, let us share with you how to relight the cigar. 

First, remove the ash

Gently tap the end of the cigar against the ashtray’s edge. Then gently press the foot of the cigar against the side of the ashtray while turning and rotating the cigar. Take care not to press too hard to avoid damaging the cigar. 

Toast the clean foot of the cigar

After cleaning the foot of the cigar, relighting it works just as lighting a new cigar. For a fast recap on toasting a cigar; we should use one of the lighters we mentioned above, keep the flame close yet not directly touching the cigar, and rotate to toast the cigar properly and get an even light all around the circumference of the foot of the cigar until a red disc appears.  

Once the foot is properly toasted, take a long, steady, yet slow draw. Remember not to inhale the smoke, just keep the smoke in your mouth. The flavor of the cigar is felt in the mouth, not the lungs. 

When You Shouldn’t Relight a Cigar:

Now getting back to the short window to relight a cigar; Rob Gagner; the host of the ‘cigar how-to’ podcast, Box Press once said: “If a cigar’s been sitting for more than thirty minutes. As the tobacco cools, the tar hardens and the flavors get bitter, so don’t bother. It’s better to light a new stick.” So we probably shouldn’t be smoking a cigar that has been sitting for more than a few hours. If you only happen to have thirty minutes, skip the flavored cigars, and go for a Connecticut or a Robusto instead. 


Finally; Lighting a cigar goes beyond merely igniting a flame. The right tools, from the cigar cutters to the right lighters, along with the tips we have given about lighting and relighting a cigar offer an insight into the intricacies of the art of cigar smoking. Both aficionados and beginners alike would find our guide helpful in elevating their smoking journey.

One last note to add; remember; with the right humidor; cigars can last up to five years before they expire; however once lit, we only have a few hours to relight it. Whether your choice was Corona, a Churchill, or a Robusto… may you gain the mastery of maximizing the jolly pleasure gained from this fine delicacy.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the best tools for lighting a cigar?

The tools for lighting the cigar are as important as the mastery of the process of lighting the cigar. The right cigar cutter is essential for a clean, precise cut that preserves the integrity of the cigar and protects it from the unraveling of the wrapper. Then there are the butane lighters with their various types as mentioned earlier; either that or matches are ideal for cigars because they don’t impart unwanted flavors in the cigar. 

How do I know which end of a cigar to light?

The cap, which is the end you cut to place in your mouth to draw from is usually wrapped up and closed in what looks like the center of a leaf. The other end which looks wider is the foot. It is the end which you will light up. This is how you get to enjoy the aromas and flavors of your chosen cigar.

Should you purge a cigar briefly after lighting it?

Purging a cigar means expelling some smoke from the lit end right after lighting the cigar to rid it of any impurities or uneven burns. This process is necessary because it will ensure a more consistent burn and preserve the flavor’s excellence; thus we recommend purging the cigar after lighting. 

What is the best way to extinguish a cigar?

The best way to extinguish a cigar is to simply let it rest on the ashtray. Aggressive stubbing or pushing against the ashtray’s walls could damage the cigar, so it’s best to let it rest until it is set off naturally on its own to preserve the flavor for later enjoyment.