Random questions frequently asked by novice smokers and aspiring cigar connoisseurs
Do you ever dip your cigars in rum or cognac?
For the love of God...NO! That's pure blasphemy!
This is probably one of the questions that are most frequently asked of me. I've heard many speak of memories of their fathers, grandfathers, and uncles who traditionally dipped their cigars in rum, cognac, whisky, scotch, bourbon, brandy, or port. For me, seeing cigar smokers do that is equivalent to dragging one's nails across a chalkboard - it annoys the shit out of me...but I never speak on it unless asked. I believe that all cigar enthusiasts are entitled to enjoy their smokes in their own way. But since I was asked, here's my response...
Those who indulge in the practice of dipping their cigars into their favorite spirit, do so with the belief that the spirit will add flavor and/or moisture to the cigar. This is absolutely untrue and not a good practice as it will ruin the cigar.
From what I understand, many, many years ago, cigars were shipped to retailers in drier condition. In addition, the humidification technology that we have today was not as advanced during that era. Therefore, dipping cigars served to provide some moisture to dry cigars. Today, cigars are stored and aged at the manufacturers, shipped, and stored at retailers in properly humidified environments and conditions.
In terms of imparting flavor, dipping cigars will only make them soggy - the cigar and smoke will never truly taste like the spirit it was dipped in. And if the foot of the cigar has been dipped, it will be unlikely that it would light properly. Cigars are blended with the intention of creating certain natural flavors, so there is no reason to dip them in anything. Should you choose to enjoy flavored cigars, there are may companies who manufacture flavored machine-made cigars, and there are some premium cigar companies who manufacture infused handmade cigars. Most of the manufacturers who create infused premium cigars have their own proprietary process, but they generally use oils, herbs, extracts, and other botanicals that are either sprayed on the leaves during the curing process or the aromas are allowed to be "steeped" into the leaves over a period of time in a "aroma room". The various flavored cigars you may encounter include cherry, peach, vanilla, rum, cognac, brandy, whisky, Kahlua, Amaretto, Irish Creme, mint, or coffee - or any combination of the aforementioned flavors.
Instead of dipping your cigar into any spirit, you will be better off sipping on that spirit while smoking your cigar - the various pairings will result in pleasurable compliments of flavor...so have fun with that!