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New to Cubans, Your Advisor for a Perfect Selection!

First Steps | Our Selection for "New Smokers"

First Steps

1. The Right Moment

The Cuban long filler, hand rolled cigar is the sum product of the journey of a tobacco seed plunged deep into rich Cuban soil, harvested by hand, naturally slow dried in a unique humid atmosphere and expertly assembled by Craftsmen and women. Each cigar is a unique masterpiece and carries within, the traditions and experience of over 500 years of history. Smoking these cigars is a privilege, as you will take the final step of this journey. Treat your cigar with the respect it deserves. Smoke when you feel ready and comfortable.

Tip – Cuban cigars tend to be stronger and more complex than cigars produced in other parts of the world. When you start smoking Cuban cigars, don’t do it on an empty stomach!

2. First Gestures

Take the time to discover your cigar; it is the result of years of expert hand labour. Touch; pick it up, feel the weight, pinch it to check the construction. Look; wrapper coloration, oily wrapper or not, sun spots, veiny. Smell; take a deep sniff of your cigar, the small of tobacco is warm and comforting. Each cigar you smoke will have a character and look of its own.

Tip – To help you build up and store your archives of observations, likes and dislikes, write them down in a cigar book or in your on-line cigar book (every TopCubans.com Member has an on-line cigar book located in their private ‘My Humidor’ area).

3. Cutting

Great care should be taken when making your cut. A cut too low will cause the cigar to unravel; a cut too high will cause you a poor, difficult draw. A cigar should be cut just above the cap line, right before the curved end of the cigar starts to straighten out. The goal is to create a clean cut that ensures a clear opening for smoking, without damaging the binding structure of the cigar.

Tip – For Figurado shaped cigars use a single or double blade cutter. Try using a trigger punch or ‘V’ cutter for other shapes; they keep bitter tars down at the deep end of the cut and away from your tongue.

4. Lighting

The ritual of lighting your cigar involves two important principals. One, the instrument used and two, the enjoyment experienced from the first draw of your cigar. Use a butane lighter (Torch lighters will make the lighting process easier), wooden match-sticks or strips of cedar. Never use a petrol lighter, a candle or wax matches, as all of these impart odors that the cigar is very quick to absorb. The second principle to remember is that your cigar should be lit with patience and in a controlled and even manner. Be sure that the end of your cigar is fully lit (full round red circle, when you draw). Nothing spoils the enjoyment of a Cuban faster, than a badly lit cigar.

Tip – Try not to draw too quickly or too vigorously when lighting. Not only will this over heat your cigar, but it will also cause you to over oxygenate (heap spin). Not a good start to a relaxing smoke.

5. Enjoying

The Cuban cigar experience should be appreciated via all your senses. It is a holistic experience. Take your time and get to know your companion, you are going to spend a relaxing 'moment' with him. Remember that your cigar will evolve and develop throughout the smoke. Push your palate to identify and distinguish between different flavors and aromas. This is the essence of the journey into the culture of the Cuban cigar.

Tip – Noting your preferences in flavor/aromas and power will help you find the style of cigars that suit your palate. The goal of every aficionado is to find THE smoke.

6. Ending

A Cuban cigar is no cigarette. When you come to the end of your smoke, let your cigar go out naturally. No need to crush your companion to death. After all, you have just shared a few hours together.

Tip – The more cigars you taste, the more experienced your palate will become. The more experienced your palate becomes, the more pleasure you will get out of your Cuban cigar. So, smoke on!

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