Cigar? Go Figure

Rocky Patel, a household name for cigar lovers, on picking the nuttiest, smoothest smoke to go with your evening drink.
     Print Edition: June 22, 2014
Cigar? Go Figure

Prioritise preference, not brand
When picking out your very first cigar, try to strike a balance between your preferences-how much time you can dedicate to smoking, your comfort level and your sense of taste. For instance, those with a penchant for spicy food may prefer full-bodied cigars with dark wrappers. When in doubt, consult an online tobacconist to help you zero in on the kind you are most likely to enjoy. There are no immutable rules for a first time smoker, so don't feel obliged to stick to a mild cigar with a light wrapper.

Pick a ring size
The intensity of flavour depends on the ring size. Smoking a smaller ring gauge, like that of a corona, will yield concentrated flavour of the wrapper. The experience of smoking a larger ring gauge is tilted in the favour of the filler. Test the texture by rolling the cigar between the thumb and index finger; it should have no hard or soft spots.  

Check storage
Make it a point to buy cigars from a tobacconist who has a humidification system. Cigars need to be stored in an environment that's the right combination of dryness and moisture. Cigars continuously going out, splitting, unravelling, burning unevenly or yielding a harsh and bitter flavour are indicative of careless storage.

Light your fire
The way you light a cigar has a definite bearing on its performance. It is easier to light a cigar with a torch lighter because, that way, you get an even burn. For finer nuances, try a cedar spill that imparts notes of cedar to the cigar.

Made for each other
A cigar is best enjoyed with a drop or two. While full-bodied red wine does justice to the inherent sentence of a maduro-wrapped cigar, single malt enhances the spicy sensation of smoking a cigar with a Habano or Sumatra wrapper.

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