Random questions frequently asked by novice smokers and aspiring cigar connoisseurs
Why won't my cigars burn right? Many times they burn unevenly, and many times I have to re-light...am I doing something wrong?
If I were a betting man, I would bet that 9 times out of 10 it's likely your own fault, as cigars that are not lit properly will not burn properly. It's very easy to blame the cigar manufacturer by chalking it up to a bad batch or a bad stick. If you're going to take your time smoking the cigar, you must dedicate some quality time lighting it as well - can't rush this process.
In the past, I've experienced the same problem with uneven burns that seemed to occur for no reason at all - sometimes it would occur while smoking indoors with no wind or outside elements to affect my smoke. I always thought that I lit my cigars thoroughly, until I observed the tobacconist at a local B & M light my cigar for me. Now I know it's a cardinal sin to light someone's cigar for them or vice versa, but that day, after purchasing a few sticks, I cut one with the intention of lighting up and taking my smoke on the road. The tobacconist, being an elder and a gentleman, stated "Let me light that cigar for you, good sir" - I hesitated, but allowed him to the provision of what appeared to be great customer service. As I observed him lighting the cigar, it was the moment when I learned the art of toasting. I never experienced a more perfect burn until that day...
Proper cigar lighting involves evenly lighting the foot by toasting the foot of the cigar prior to puffing on it. Toasting is more effective with the use of a torch lighter. If you choose to use wooden matches, I would suggest that you only use the longer wooden cigar matches, or cedar spills - something that will burn longer than the standard sized match. Hold the flame slightly away from the foot of the cigar (about 1/2 inch is a pretty standard rule) and rotate the cigar to evenly light the foot. Once the entire foot is glowing orange, you can now puff gently while rotating the cigar over the flame. There's no need to apply the flame directly to the foot - if toasted properly, your puffs will draw the flame directly to the foot. Once you turn the cigar around and check the foot, it should be evenly lit. If your foot is charred, then it's likely that you held the flame too close to begin with.
Want that great even burn line, with tight ashes, and no re-lights? Then take the time to toast...make it a part of your ritual, it will be quite rewarding!