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Go Ahead and Relight

If a cigar is long (like a Cohiba Lanceros, for example), I usually relight it when I'm ready for another few puffs. I've been told that is bad cigar etiquette, and, in fact, is bad for the cigar. Is that true?
Posted: June 23, 2014

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Let's get real. We all relight our cigars.

Often while smoking during a busy day for instance, you get involved in a meeting or a conversation, and the cigar often goes out. Sure, it may not be the best thing for a cigar because in drawing the flame over a burnt end, you suck in some of the carbonized tobacco. And, if you relight it too many times, the cigar will get harsh from the heat alone.

Some suggest that if you know you're going to relight a cigar, blow the smoke out of it before laying it down and then knock off all the excess ash before relighting it.

Remember also that every time a cigar gets cold, the oils and tars saturate the remaining tobacco. When you relight the cigar, those oils and tars are more concentrated, and the cigar can become nicotine-charged. Some people, when smoking a cigar late in the day, will leave it in their ashtray overnight and clip off a portion of the cigar behind the ash in the morning, and relight it.

It's not the same as a fresh light, but if it's a great cigar, why waste it?

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Comments   3 comment(s)

Frank Williams — Miamisburg, Ohio,  —  June 25, 2014 1:02pm ET

Well, to me, this one's a no brainer..... I don't light a "premium" unless I know I'm going to have the uninterrupted time to smoke it. For my cheaper daily smokes, if I have to let it go out, I simply clip the end off so I'm not sucking flame through the old burnt tobacco.... makes a huge difference in the re-light taste.

charles sturdivant — uniondale, ny, usa,  —  June 26, 2014 12:33pm ET

That's good to know - thanks.

Frank R. — Toronto, ON, CAN,  —  July 26, 2014 9:24pm ET

If you are going to relight, carefully remove all the grey ash with the end of a key. Next, the black charred bits found under the ash from the center, out towards the wrapper. This gentle but forceful scraping should expose as much of the brown, unburnt tobacco as is possible. Be careful not to damage the outer wrapper of your cigar or the cigar itself!--be gentle, this will take time. Use a small, jet burner type lighter to get an even red-orange glow, blowing gently on the foot, as if lighting for the first time. Purge (by blowing into) your cigar to lessen that bitter/harsh taste before you take that first relit puff. Give the tobacco about a minute and a half to cool down, then gently take that first draw. The next few draws should be gentle but each progressively stronger until the cigar is fully lit. Always remember to take gentle puffs about once every minute or two so that you don't 'cook' the tobacco and you'll always get the best taste/flavour (profile) from your cigar. Enjoy.

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