Lighting a cigar is one of the most critical aspects to enjoying a smoke. If a cigar is not lit evenly, it will not burn or taste properly.

While this may not be the only way to light a cigar, toasting is a preferred method within the industry.

The purpose of toasting is to set fire to not only the filler, but binder and wrapper as well – allowing for a much better chance of burning even and smooth all the way through.

Tools for the Job:

  • Favorite cigar
  • Soft Flame – (preferred)
  • Torch lighter – (when mother nature is a beast)

 Toasting a cigar:

  • Hold the cigar at an angle – keeping the foot of the cigar a few inches away from the tip of the flame
  • Ensure flame is low and steady
  • Slowly move the foot of your cigar closer to the flame until the foot begins to softly glow
    • DO NOT let the flame touch the cigar – AVOID overheating cigar and catching it on fire abruptly
  • Begin to roll cigar foot over flame
  • Visually inspect that entire foot has been toasted
  • Gently blow on the foot to ensure an even burn
  • Continue until foot glows red
  • Let cigar sit in order to stabilize the burn (approx 10 seconds)

Initial lighting:

  • While maintaining cigar to flame distance, begin the initial puffs while rolling the cigar between fingers
  • Take your time between puffs to allow entire foot to burn slow and even

 Your cigar is now ready to enjoy and will be less likely to hit any snags such as tunneling or canoeing. Give your cigar every chance to thrill you by treating it like it’s your most prized possession.

Although this method takes additional time, your premium cigar will reward you with a great smoking experience.


Did your cigar go out?  A loss of combustion can be due to slow smoking, excessive humidity, or not giving it the attention it deserves. But don’t rush in like an arsonist to get it going again.

Take these steps to ensure a clean and stable smoking future.

Relighting your cigar:

  • If your cigar has been sitting lonely – abandoned after a short smoke session – it may be best to trim behind the charred/ash area to expose fresh tobacco; otherwise,
  • Gently roll the foot of the cigar between your fingers to remove the ash and char
  • A gentle scrape into a nearby ashtray is always an option; however, be careful of cracking the wrapper or pushing ash and char further into the foot of the cigar
  • Light the cigar as you would initially (Heavier flame application will be needed to reset the burn)
  • Ensure you roll the cigar over the flame while relighting

 It may take some time for the flavor of the cigar to stabilize as multiple relights can increase the change in flavor.

The variation in flavor is minimal for a cigar that has been lit once or twice, and still very enjoyable.


A great cigar must have an easy draw: straining to puff on a cigar will ruin the experience. Additionally, a plugged or tightly rolled cigar will Smoke Too Hot and not allow the flavors and aroma to develop properly. Many great cigars are firm to the touch, seemingly tight, but draw loosely and effortlessly: many connoisseurs would argue that this is a perfectly constructed cigar. While people may have their own draw preferences, everyone will agree that a tight draw is enough to ruin the years of effort and passion that went into creating the cigar.


Rolling technique and filler placement determine how “loose” or “tight” a cigar will draw/puff. Draw problems can vary from a “little tight” to completely plugged.

A plugged cigar can have an obstruction such as a stem or misplaced leaves.


Your first option is to gently massage the cigar with the intent of loosening the filler and possibly the obstruction. This may be enough to “open up” the cigar and allow the draw to improve.

If the plug, or obstruction, is towards the foot of the cigar, you may cut the cigar behind the problem area and enjoy a fraction of the pleasure you were anticipating. Another option would be to use a draw poker, or any other thin metal object (paper clip), to gently ream the cigar and loosen the filler.

Reaming the cigar must be done gingerly to not make the situation worse. If this technique is successful, you may be able to open up the filler and get a satisfactory draw.

Source: Tobacconist University