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How To Cut, Light & Smoke A Cigar

by Bryan Glynn, March 10, 2011
  • Cigar And Pipes Smokin' Deals

How To Cut, Light & Smoke A Cigar

First of all a big disclaimer: everything stated here is my OPINION. As is EVERY other how to video on smoking, keeping, fondling, etc. cigars. If you disagree with any of my OPINIONS here, that’s cool. But I don’t care. I’m putting this info out there because I get multiple requests for it every week, so I want to help those looking for the info. I realize there are probably 100 other articles on it already, but I’m going to give my OPINIONS and talk about what I prefer.

Enjoy the video, but if you feel the need to tell me I’m ‘wrong’ about any of these OPINIONS, do everyone else a favor and keep it to yourself, or better yet, make your own video with your own OPINIONS. 🙂

  • Ken Glass

    Excellent, as I expected Bryan. I’m glad you emphasized about taste! It is the reason I smoke cigars. I have nephews, friends, etc. That think it is cool, and that’s fine, but I love smoking cigars for the flavors, and is why I smoke different ones. There are so many good cigars, that it’s even more enjoyable due to the variety. Thanks for that video.

  • Austin

    Nice I totally agree I actually found out today with a padron that some cigars have to be pampered a little bit one draw every min or two was not enough while I was cleaning my boat I had to relight about three times

  • WP

    I admire your courage in expressing your opinions, and your taste in cigars as well. I might sneak a PDR at lunch.

  • Mike

    Brian: Nice job! Sometimes, I think people get the idea that cigar smokers are snobs when, in fact they simply want to experience the total experience. In order to fully appreciate a cigar, I only smoke occasionally, which allows my palate to “clear”. (It’s a hobby . . . not a habit). Now, given the various shapes of cigars, have you been able to determine how the percentage of filler vs. binder vs. wrapper changes and if there is one shape in particular in which the flavor of a cigar is given more of a chance to develop?

    • Thank you!

      You can not make a blanket statement about any particular size. What flavors you get out of a particular blend and size range is going to be different.

  • Nice video I think i toast to fast sometimes and does not bring out all the flavors, i will try to slow it down. Also I wanted to know if you could do a video reviewing cigar sites and giving your opinion on your favorite site to buy cigars.

  • Fat Tony

    Fantastic video as usual Bryan!!!

    A great follow-up video might be one about dealing with cigars that don’t burn correctly (canoeing etc.). Or how to help us determine if our cigars are too moist or too dry by feeling them etc. Or possibly even one about the often debated topic of how far down the cigar one should smoke before ending the smoke.

    You are by far the best thing going when it comes to cigar reviews. I have bought several cigars based purely on your recommendations. In fact, just today the UPS guy brought me five Pinar Del Rio Seleccion Reserva Limitadas!!

    Thanks Bryan!!

  • Tim S

    Very well done. I particularly liked your information about toasting first; I always noticed that you toasted for a long time and I was always amazed on how an even light you got. Now I know!

  • Michael Betot

    A very nice statement of opinion!

  • TriMarkC

    Well done!

  • Great summary Brian. I can’t stand when friend’s of mine who typically don’t enjoy cigars that often draw to firmly and critique a cigar as bad or harsh. I think there is a wealth of information here, and I will refer them to this link as often as I can.

    If you do a follow up, it would be nice to see what your solution is for a cigar that’s either been plugged or is tightly filled and has too firm a draw. Do you throw it out or work your way through it?

  • Most of the time there really is no correction you can do except hope it burns through the tight pack. Pokers are a gimmick in my book, only producing an air tunnel through the plug and altering the burn for the rest of the stick. Sometimes if it’s a torpedo, which are prone to tight packs in the head, rolling it gently with your fingertips can help loosen it up. That’s about it.

    • Thanks for the reply, i figured there’s not much to be done either, but on some occasions they have burned away and opened into a pleasant cigar.

    • gumby_130

      It funny how much you continue to learn about this hobby, I guess that what draw you in.

  • smokesalot

    Nice bit of information, and well presented.
    I often hear you say in reviews that a cigar has a “double cap”. What is the purpose of this double cap…..If any??
    Thanks! Great site.

    • As a minimum standard, a cigar will have two pieces at the head to cover it, for you to cut. The first is just a little collar to bind the edges, this is left after the cut so it doesn’t unravel. The 2nd of a double cap is the little flap on the end itself, that is cut away. A triple cap is an extra collar to insure the cigar doesn’t unravel. Triples are a nice extra touch but are not nearly as common as the double.

  • cigarczar1

    Bryan, What is your opinion on purging before each or every other draw? For me it seems to make the draw cleaner & a bit sweeter, while not affecting tne cherry. Thanks, I really enjoy your reviews also. cigarczar1

    • There is no need to do so unless you have a buildup problem. Doing so increases the burn temperature and they are not designed to be smoked that way. You are altering the intended flavors of the cigar for sure.

      • cigarczar1

        Bryan, Thanks for the response on purging. My Dad always did it, so I guess it just seemed natural to me. Now I know I can get much more flavor & not alter the intended profile. I guess you’re never too old to learn a better way. Thanks again, cigarczar1

        • Kace

          I did that sometimes when the burn started going wonnky as Bryan says but, I learned that if you just leave the cigar alone sometimes will will correct itself.

  • Robert G

    Bryan, I am completely new to cigar smoking and I am wondering if you could tell me what your opinion is on V cutters?

    • Robert G

      The reason I ask is because I purchased a V cutter, not realizing that I was not purchasing a normal cutter. Should I trash the V cutter? Will it affect my smokes?

      • Boucher207

        Ive found that the Perfect cutter is the easiest once to use, great cut and you dont have to think about it, simply place the cigar in the cutter and it will stop it at just the right depth so you can cut it “perfectly” everytime.

    • Its personal choice. Watch the cutter comparison vid to see differences. I don’t like v cut and only prefer straight.

  • Ernesto

    Brian, very informative and expert in a casual sort of way. Thank you.

  • berry1

    Love the vid thanks bro very helpful, (exotic)

  • new2sticks


    While at a buddy’s house the other day, he asked if I wanted to smoke a cigar with he and another friend. At 35, I’d never even tried smoking a cigarette. I enjoyed it, but was totally lost. Thank you so much for your labor of love in this website. I’ve learned so much, and now completely have the cigar bug. Keep it up.

  • boony

    Hey Bryan, just looked at this one again, nice refresher to view a few basics on smoking a cigar…enjoyed it alot.

  • Great video.

    I enjoy watching your review videos as well, but this one is particularly well produced… really good instructions and explanations as to why each of the steps is important.


  • Rob

    Well, my opinion is that this is the best cigar how-to video I’ve seen yet! Thanks much, this really helped me out a lot.

  • chris cole

    Very informative i can’t tell you how glad i am that i stumbled upon this site. Being completely new it’s great that someone is putting this particular type of knowledge out there. Thanks

  • Limwell

    I’m new to cigar smoking. Only been doing it for a year or so. But I still can’t taste a whole lot of anything. Just mainly tobacco. Most cigars taste the same to me, and I’ve tried a wide variety. I can tell that there are differences between them, but I can’t taste them distinctly. Does retrohaling help? I’ve been sort of apprehensive about doing it. I notice that you don’t do it much and can still taste flavors fine. Is it a must do?

  • PCcigar

    I have been smoking cigars for about three years now. I’ve been looking at your website for about six months. And recently been posting comments. I think this is the most informative website out there. A lot of other people try doing this and it does not compare.
    I read and watch the info you have on all of your reviews. I’m don’t want to show favoritism but I’ve checked out many online stores. The best I feel out there is Smokeinn. I’m never looking for “cheap”!! Just the best selection at a fair price with overwhelming customer service.
    I honestly can’t thank you enough for all the detail you put forth on the cigar reviews.

    • Thanks a lot man, I appreciate it, and am glad to help 🙂

  • ajrocks9

    This really help me out. There are somethings here that i really never thought about. Thanks bryan for the great video.

  • Daniel.A

    this is by far the most helpful video i’ve seen. it taught me great tips and trick etc. when i started smoking well i did not even know how to light a cigar. i would basically just burn it and think i was doing it right. not to mention the lighters i would use. NOW i enjoy my cigars a WHOLE lot more. its nice to sit in the patio and read a good book with a good cigar. all thanks to Brian.

  • Mobleyjared

    As strated different cigars require different levels of attention you should experiment and see what kind you prefer. The long lasting puff everynow and then or the 3 puffs a minute? It all depends on the smoker. Personally I prefer ones where I can light em and not have to worry about having to spoil/ruin the flavor by constant relighting. So long lasting is for me.

  • Mobleyjared


  • david121

    very helpful, taught me everything i need to know. couldnt ask for a better video.

  • benjammin94

    This is the video that started me with cigars. Very informational and explained as it should be. Nice job Brian. (nice to see that someone has their own style and doesn’t preach it as the only way to do it)

  • neocigaro

    I found this very helpful, when I started I had no idea what to do and your review was the most helpful.

  • Bpope31

    This video was great. It really helped build my confidence In cutting and lighting a cigar. It sounds simple but I always wondered if I was doing it right or doing something completely wrong. Still gotta improve my toasting.

  • eric.hanson

    Your comments about people not getting the opinion part of cigar smoking through out the video were spot on. I can’t believe how many times I’ve posted about online about how I smoke/store my cigars, or what cigars I do don’t like and I get comments like, “well you’re stupid because I store my cigars at 75% RH instead of 68% like you” or “well you must not know anything because I hated the flovors of that cigar”.

    • Camshaft83

      I have to agree with you 100%. Not everyone likes what others like. I live in utah and have to keep my humi a little bit higher on rh then some others. Not everyone understands that. But what can you do but shrug it off and take it for what it is.

  • kb9311

    With one long easy steady draw I do get the most flavor out of my cigars, before I did a few slow puffs, now I get the best out of them.

  • vscarpine

    This is the video I stumbled upon on youtube before I had my first cigar…after that I have checked this site everyday

  • Kace

    I officially learned how to smoke a cigar from Bryan. Now I am just building my flavor profiles and looking for that great every day smoke.

  • LunchBox87km

    As I am new to cigars while browsing YouTube I came across this video an it was by far the best one I found that explained how to smoke a cigar an some of the basics that I would have messed up in as a beginner. Good job on the video.

  • Orrza

    To begin with, this video is one of my favorites 🙂
    I love the intro.

    It might be a good idea to stick a link to this video on every box they sell out there LOL.

    I just hate to see people burn the @#$%#$ out of their cigar with a triple jet torch as they light it.
    and I am in continuous “argument” with a friend of mine who ALWAYS triple puff to make the cherry burning hot.

    Great video, seriously!

    • Craig

      “It might be a good idea to stick a link to this video on every box they sell out there LOL.” Now that’s not a half bad idea.
      More realistically though I would think you could get some of CO’s sponsor’s to have a link to this video.

  • timboslice

    Your videos have helped me out so much. Thanks for making it easy for newbies like me.

  • yosef5

    Thanks I have been smoking cigars over50 years & I am open to always learning more

  • playersrun1

    im glad i revisited this one…was having a hard time experiencing many of the flavors/tastes expressed in the reviews. i think im charring the foot a bit too much on the light, as well as inhaling too quick, maybe killing some of the flavors. ill have to try again next time, paying special attention to these two things and see if it makes a difference.

    • Boucher207

      I love my Zippo lighters but couldnt stand ruining the cigar with the taste of the lighter fluid, i found a butane insert for them that has a natural flame created by butane, about $10 online and it warms the foot of the cigar just perfectly until it ignites itsself. Never had an issue with charing the foot after this. Just an idea. natural flame over torch.

  • Bpope31

    Great video. Been smoking for a while and I still refer back to this video for tips and a refresher on lighting. Lots if good info.

  • Kace

    Hello Bryan,
    I have seen a lot of your videos. I was wondering if you have done a video with your opinion on dealing with cigar beetles. I know the beetles have been known to eat right through cello wraps but I keep mine in the wraps in hopes of keepeing them isolated if I ever have an attack. Your opinion is greatly respected.

    • Boucher207

      You honestly shouldnt have to worry about beetles unless your humidor is at too high of a % and too high of a temp. You dont want it to be like the jungle in there. Honestly the cooler you can get the inside of the humidor the better, obviously not freezing, but you get the idea. I always keep mine at 70% or so humidity and i try to keep it at 65 degrees. Obviously everyones climate is different and here in maine it seems to work great! Hope this helps you out a bit. If not check out some tips on making a coolador.

  • Boucher207

    I have to say , there are so many opinions out there about the correct way to light or smoke a cigar, i personally have done it many ways, but i found the best way is truly how you show it in this video. every time i do it this way i have a very enjoyable experience. I cannot say that with the others i have tried. Most of the time the others tend to char the end and then the whole cigar takes on the taste of burnt tobacco.

  • Bosoxlaxcarl

    As a relatively young and inexperienced smoker I was wondering if it actually does enhance the experience of the cigar by toasting it before actually lighting it? I usually only smoke in the summertime at a camp I work at in the middle of the woods so we just all kinda use what we have available to us which is usually just a box of strike anywhere matches, and we just kinda strike and light and smoke. Is that a bad thing to do? and if so what could we do to better our experience?

    • JJO

      Toasting does make a difference, since you want to avoid overheating and charring the cigar. If you have to use those matches, just let them burn for a few seconds to get rid of the sulfur, and you’ll be good to go, but using the toasting method, you may need two or three to get a proper light (unless you have asbestos fingers).

      I would suggest getting a butane lighter (even a Bic will work) for a better experience, since it won’t impart off flavors.

  • USA2ndAmendment

    I’ve never watched this video before but realized I light my cigars this same exact way, except I use matches. Great vid.

  • daniel luparello

    This video taught me about lighting cigars! Thank you it was very informative.

  • RobinsonV

    Kinda got a question I think this may or may not be the best place. I ordered a five pack of kuba kuba acids from famous cigars online. It took about a week and there was no humidification in the bag they were in inside of the box. Now I let them sit in my humidor for about 2 weeks and the cap of all of them are dried out and are cracked. I cut one today and it unraveled and ruined the cigar. Next time do I just need to let the sit longer in the humidor?

  • zanlamb

    This is what started off my own personal obsession. It was also one of the last times I aimlessly browsed You tube. Thanks Bryan for opening my eyes to this amazing world of Cigars

  • GurkhaMan

    Some good tips here! Thanks!

  • TigerToThe

    Great video. This is the video I first saw when getting into cigars and I tell everyone you’re the guy to he watching if they want quality information and unbiased reviews. I’m looking forward to sending in some cigars to hear them reviewed. Thanks.

  • wcfennell

    Awesome video, I really enjoyed the info about toasting the cigar.

  • phaedron

    So after watching week after week, month after month of cigar reviews, I suddenly came to the realization– this guy never expels smoke through his nose (the “retrohale”). Instead of just posting on some random review “How come you never retrohale,” I decided to take a look at this vintage video, and there’s the answer– starting around 14:00. So I’m giving myself a pat on the head for sleuthing it out. My pesonal preference is that about every other draw has a retrohale component. For me, it really adds an extra dimension to the flavor.

  • eric.hanson

    This is without a doubt the best video on the subject of cigar smoking I have ever seen! I couldn’t agree more about some people not getting the opinion part of cigar smoking too.

  • koolaid540

    good video i think well toasted my cigar more!


    First person to perfectly explain how to do this! Very Informational. Thanks

  • I needed a basics refresher. So I came here.

  • eeebyjeeby

    I like how unbiased the whole video is, and how you leave it all up to the smoker. I’m glad to hear your OPINIONS as well because I agree with a lot that you spoke of. Cigars are a new love for me and they go so well with the single malt scotch that I drink! Thank you for your time and knowledge!

  • nice ash

    Thanks for the tip about “breathing”. I can not believe after many years of cigar enjoyment that I was holding my breath when taking a sustained puff. You have opened a whole new avenue of flavor enjoyment to me. I can taste flavors that I never have before, but I still do not have the ablitity to describe them in your poetic manner. Perhaps cigar aroma therapy should be created by you to educate the masses. Thanks.

  • Bruno J. Cerri

    I started smoking beginning of July (2015) and your video sent me into the right direction! I never try new things until I study, and before buying cigars and accessories, I stumbled onto this site. It has everything I need, and because I of you I can enjoy cigars to the fullest! Thank you very much! I enjoy all the reviews very much as well!

  • Glenn

    Great Post.
    I just want to share this link Cigar Cutter and Cigar Lighters
    Just visit the link, it has tons of ideas in smoking your cigars.
    For more info visit

  • Matt Soderlund

    Six years old, but still a great video. Thanks Brian!

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