Throughout our lives, we have many rights of passage. Learning how to tie our shoes. Learning how to drive a car. And for us cigar smokers, learning how to light a cigar. 

Let us preface, properly lighting a cigar isn’t about torching the foot (the end of the cigar) as you wish and puffing away like a maniac. There’s a method to this madness, and this blog will teach you everything you need to know so you’ll never struggle to light another cigar again.

Why is a proper cigar light important?

A properly lit cigar is important because it means all the components of the cigar (wrapper, binder, filler) will be evenly lit. This allows the flavors of the blend to shine through as the master blender intended. In addition, you won’t be fighting an uneven burn while you're smoking, which if you know, is incredibly annoying and makes this relaxing activity anything but.

Do remember, lighting a cigar is not like lighting a cigarette, it takes much longer, so keep in mind, patience is key.

The three steps to a perfect cigar light

When thinking about lighting your cigar, almost imagine you’re at a campfire roasting marshmallows, but instead of a marshmallow, it’s your cigar. Follow these three easy steps and you’re good to go. 

  1. Keep your cigar above and near the flame, but don’t let them touch. Burning a cigar directly in a flame can make it too hot and burn unevenly.

  2. Rotate your cigar as you near the flame so all parts of the foot are equally heated. Be patient and keep lighting and rotating until there’s a glowing red ring all the way around the cigar’s edges.

  3. Once the cigar’s tip is lit, take your first puff. Your cigar should burn evenly while drawing. If it doesn’t, feel free to touch-up the end with the flame again. You can also try gently blowing on the foot to create an even light.

What can you use to light a cigar?

Typically, there’s a couple different avenues for lighting a cigar. You can:

  • Use matches
  • Use a torch lighter

However, don’t use a stove top, another lit cigar, a candle, or lighters that use lighter fluid. These can not only ruin the cigar during the lighting process, but the chemicals in lighter fluid can also ruin the flavor of your cigar.

Macanudo's Laurel Tilley explains how to get the perfect pre-light toast

Take a tip from Laurel Tilley herself. Learn how to get the perfect pre-light toast, as well as exactly how far your flame should be from a cigar, and how to know when it’s ready to smoke.

Macanudo Brand Ambassador Laurel Tilley shows how to light a cigar with a torch lighter

The best way to get the perfect light is to use a lighter designed specifically for cigars and a flame (or multiple flames) that are wide enough so you can easily light it. See how Laurel Tilley breaks-down exactly how to light a cigar with a lighter.

Need a new lighter for your cigars?

Check out Cigar World’s blog on the Best Cigar Lighters & Torches so you can spark up in style.

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