10 Classic Cigar Noob Moves (Extended)

Every hobby has its own funny things that come along with getting to know the ropes, and certainly, cigars are no exception. We’ve all been there. And that’s part of what makes it funny. I remember a lot of things I did when I first started into cigars that I wouldn’t dream of doing now. So I wanted to take you inside some of my top noob moves.

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Here are my top 10 cigar noob moves.

10. Sniffing is for the dogs

One thing people love about cigars is the smell! Even among non-cigar smokers, some people love the smell of cigar smoke because it reminds them of someone special. Others love the rich smell of an unsmoked cigar. For that reason, lots of new cigar smokers want to stick an unpurchased cigar against their moist nostrils and, at times, even try to smell it through the cellophane.

There are very few people who have the capacity to sniff rolled up leaves and tell you where they come from. Certainly, there’s nothing inherently wrong with smelling an unlit cigar. The smell is fantastic, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had one. Just as long as no part of the cigar actually enters your snout.

9. Show some respect

There are a few pieces of cigar etiquette that are practiced the same among connoisseurs. But this is one of them. The best way to put out a cigar is to set it down in the ashtray and let it ‘die with dignity’. The alternate, and natural instinct of many, is to stamp the cigar out. But that’s exactly how you produce a huge plume of smoke that sticks behind while you walk away.

8. Slowly now

When you draw off of a cigar, especially when lighting up, you want to take longer slower draws. There are some who want to puff quick and fast. The drawback from fast puffs is that they heat up the tobacco, which will destroy flavor. Cigars are, in a lot of ways, about taking your time. So kick back, draw slow, and enjoy the flavor.

7. Is it just trending

There are a lot of popular cigars out there. And sometimes the hype on a cigar gets so high that the cigar might not be able to live up to it. And there are lots of underrated cigars that can offer an amazing flavor at a daily smoke price. So as you choose your next cigar, don’t be afraid to go obscure, look for a cigar you’ve passed over on the shelf a hundred times, and ask yourself why.

6. Don’t store your cigars in the fridge

I seem to remember this being a topic of conversation with my friends when we first got into cigars. We were all really worried about cigar beetles at the time. Today, I don’t really worry about that anymore. This mostly comes up when cigar lovers are faced with rising summer temperatures and the high cost of AC. So you’re left choosing the lesser of evils. And having your cigars get a little warmer will almost always be better than having them dried out in the fridge.

5. Inhaling is not your friend.

This one happens at pretty much every level of cigar smoking, so it’s not just a noob thing. But some people, espcially former cigarette smokers, want to inhale their cigar puffs. I strongely recommend not doing this. Cigar smoke is different than cigarette smoke. Sure there are fewer ingredients and chemical compounds in cigars, but the smoke is much more harsh. You don’t want that stuff in your lungs. In fact, this is why good cigar shops go to such lengths to make sure they have good ventilation in the lounge.

4. The first cut is the deepest… but it really shouldn’t be.

This is probably the biggest noob mistake that gets comitted. When you go to cut a cigar, you’re basically looking to create airflow and nothing more. So when you make your cut (regardless of the type of cutter you’re using), you really want to just remove the cap on the very top of the cigar. This mean’s you’re cutting about 1/100th of the cigar off. It would be like cutting off the tip of your thumb, but not enough that it would bleed (though it would still hurt like crazy, so definetly don’t do it).

3. Light with heat, not with flame

Cigars combine amazing flavor with one of man’s most coveted discoveries – fire. So when new cigar smokers go to light up, it’s a common compusion to stick the torch right up against the foot of the cigar. This is problematic as it can toast out the leaves too much and cost flavor. So when lighting a cigar, it’s best to use the tip of the flame. You’ll actually get a better light by using less heat… which translates to more flavor.

2. Don’t let anyone tell you how or what to smoke

There are a lot of ‘aficionados’ out there who are really just bossy cigar nerds. And this isn’t just something that happens in the cigar world. These people exist in every hobby. They’re the unsolicited advise givers. They’ll always chime in with a good ol’, “You know what you should do?” It’s not necessarily bad to take their advice, but you gotta take it with a grain of salt. And sometimes its even a good idea to get a second opinion.

1. Fight the urge to compare yourself to other.

This one comes up for all of us at one point or another. It happens to me at Cigars Daily when I look at other cigar companies who are bigger and more successful. I’m always tempted to compare myself to them… at which point I never measure up because I’m only thinking about companies that are already more successful in one way or another. I’m learning that in life it’s critical to find success on my own terms. And when it comes to your cigar hobby, I think the same thing applies. You should never be held up against another cigar smoker for your tastes, cigar choices, lighter/cutter choices, or how you smoke. If you like the way you do it, never change. If someone comes along with an idea that you think will authentically make your experience better, then try it out. Otherwise, do your best to take the pressure off yourself to live up to someone else’s expectations for your hobby.

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  1. I’ll own up to a couple of these, sort of. Before I light up a new cigar (*after* buying it) I always sniff the wrapper. Not because I’m trying to guess what it will taste like, but because I love the smell of unlit tobacco. And I tried keeping my cigars at room temperature, but room temperature for me in the summer is in the low 80s. Bad things happen. So I had to empty out a corner of my newair wine fridge that I use to age craft beers, and in the summer my humidor lives in there, with the highest temperature I can manage being the low 60s.

    Honorable mention just to annoy snobs: I light my cigars with a Zippo (except I swapped the normal insert for soft flame butane insert).

  2. I sniff them once I open them just because I like the smell. Just like that first breath you take whenever you walk into a humidor. I love it. I’ll put sticks in the fridge if I’m getting sticks on the way to a friends house that doesn’t have a humidor, but I’m not leaving them in there for too long.

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