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Direct Flame?

I have always heard that it is very important that one doesn't let the flame of the lighter touch the foot of the cigar when lighting. How important is it really?
CA Editors
Posted: September 3, 2013

Submitted via

Very important if you want to ensure your cigar’s flavor profile remains unspoiled.

Too much flame on the foot of your cigar increases the odds of burning it, which means the first few notes will likely taste charry. An overtoasted cigar is also more prone to bitterness.

There’s a good rule of thumb to remember when lighting a premium cigar: Use the least amount of flame possible. Hold the cigar about a quarter inch over the flame—not in direct contact. Rotate the cigar slowly. Start a burn around the perimeter. When it's thinly blackened around (but not charred), bring it to your lips and puff gently. The flame will jump to the center of the cigar.

The same less-is-more rule should be appled when using lighters with torch flames, too.

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Comments   5 comment(s)

Thomas Person — louisville, KY, USA,  —  September 4, 2013 9:48am ET

Exactly right! Use a cedar spill to light your cigar and taste it as the artisan cigar maker intended. If you cannot find one use a match and then as the last resort use a lighter but keep it away from the foot of the cigar.

Float Dub September 4, 2013 11:44am ET

...and where could one find such a cedar spill in our Commonwealth, Thomas??


Nomad Cigar Company September 4, 2013 5:03pm ET

I agree. It is also why I am not a big fan of the multi-flame torches (Tri, Quad, etc). Give me a single flame or a piece of cedar and I am good to go!

Jedi Swagger December 19, 2013 2:34pm ET

The sulfur in matches can also give you a nasty bite. Torches are fine, if used properly.

Mark Fisher — Manheim, PA, USA,  —  December 20, 2013 3:12pm ET

Agree with all the above and would also add that the same rule you use to re-light a cigar that has gone out also works well for your first light if you must use butane. After creating a glow on the foot put the cigar to your lips and blow out first then immediately draw. This will discard and char taste before it gets drawn down through the bunch. Doing this also starts to extinguish the cigar and since it is not completely lite yet, that is why it is important to draw immediately after you blow through it. I find this especially important for Cameroon wrapped cigars.

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