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Smokeasy Q&A

Random questions frequently asked by novice smokers and aspiring cigar connoisseurs

Why do you puff on your cigars before you light them?

Taking pulls from my unlit cigar after cutting the cap (via guillotine, punch, or V-cut) is part of my pre-light ritual. After, 1) taking time to assess the construction and the aesthetics of the wrapper of my cigar; 2) taking note of the aromas emanating from the wrapper and the foot; 3) gently squeezing the cigar from cap to foot to evaluate its suppleness; and 4) applying the appropriate cut, I spend some time taking a series of cold draws (also known as dry draws or pre-draws).

After a perfect guillotine cut (note just the cap), ready to preview

the flavor profile of this Alec Bradley Vice Press 6T2

Cold draws refers to draws on an unlit cigar in efforts to determine if the cigar will have an easy, moderate, or difficult draw once it is lit and smoked. Once this is determined, I take multiple cold draws (some long and slow, some short and fast) to taste the filler tobaccos prior to lighting to evaluate the flavor profile and pick up on subtle flavor notes.

The cool thing about taking cold draws is that sometimes you pick up some nice flavors - you may encounter some cocoa, coffee, leather, or sweetness, just to name of few; or sometimes you may not pick up any flavors at all. In some cases, cold draws will not dictate the actual flavor profile of the cigar - you may pick up some coffee notes and some sweetness on cold draw, but once the cigar is lit and smoked, you may not encounter these flavors at all. The same phenomena occurs vice versa, as cold draws may be rather bland, but some serious flavors may be unlocked as you progress through the smoke.

I may only spend a few seconds taking cold draws - I may take up to 10 minutes, depending on the cigar. Whatever your pre-light ritual may be, ensure that you take some time to incorporate cold-drawing to maximize your smoking experience!


Questions? Hit me up via e-mail at, on Twitter (@smokeasyblog), or on my Facebook page (Smokeasy).

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