We’ve all been there; minding your own business, searching for a great cigar at your local shop when you see someone pick up a cigar, take a big ‘ole sniff of it pressed up against their nostril, then place it back on the shelf. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common practice amongst self-appointed aficionados but is there any weight to their whiff?
First of all, you can’t tell if you’re going to like a cigar or not by just the sniff-test, especially if it’s still in the cellophane. Some of the industry’s top experts cry foul:
“You cannot smell a cigar and say ‘oh I’m going to LOVE this'...bro, you’re not that good, nobody is that good.” - Rick Rodriguez | CAO
So should you ever sniff a cigar, and if so, how should you do it? Do you start at the bottom or the top? Does it even matter?
“When you do smell a cigar, you always smell the foot. If you smell the middle or the cap, you aren’t going to get much out of that.” - Laurel Tilley | Macanudo
Why smell a cigar?
So what’s the purpose of sniffing the cigar? How can you tell a good cigar from a bad one? And does the sniff test even help?
“All you’re trying to do when you smell a cigar is to find a lack of something. Lack of what? Ammonia. So if you smell ammonia, the cigar is not ready to smoke. Bury it in your humidor for a week or two and eventually it will be ready.” - Rick Rodriguez | CAO
So there you have it. Sniff the foot. If you smell ammonia, that doesn’t mean it’s bad; it just needs a little aging. Also, do us all a favor, and don’t let the cigar touch your nose when sniffing. That’s just bad hygiene.
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