"I'll have my cigar lightly toasted, thank you"

By Gary Korb

I recently attended an in-store cigar tasting event, during which I was comparing notes with the label's sales rep. At one point, he took out a freshly clipped cigar and I offered him my lighter, which to my surprise, he politely refused.

"Thanks, but I don't like using a torch lighter to toast my cigar," he said, and without skipping a beat, revealed a chrome lighter with a standard butane flame. "They tend to scorch the foot of the cigar, giving it a bitter taste," he added, while proceeding to toast his cigar in a more humane fashion.

That got me thinking. I swear by my torch lighter. I wouldn't use anything else to light my cigar, short of finding myself in a situation where I ran out of fuel, or had lapsed and just plain forgot the thing.

Since that fateful day, I became much more aware of how fast and dark the foot blackened when I put the torch to it. Maybe the guy had a point. Did some of those $10 cigars taste harsh because they were odd balls, or did I unintentionally sear them to bitterness? But Bic Clics, and Djeeps, et. al. take so long to toast up a cigar, you almost can't avoid burning your fingers. Plus, try using a Clic in a breeze.

Logic prevails. I hold the torch lighter a little farther away from the foot of the cigar when toasting it. This way only the fairest of blue light comes within reach of the cigar. Remember your Cigars 101: The flame should never touch the cigar.

So as irony would have it, I'm toasting up a Gurkha while writing this post, and the needle on my triple-flame torch lighter leaps to 'E,' but not before I get a nice light toasting across the foot. I complete the procedure by employing a long cedar wood match.



Will Finn said…
Gary, this is a valuable advice, i will have to take it into account.

let me know if you still would like to use one of my drawings. i can sign a jpeg and send it to you

CreekEnd UK said…
Firstly, being English doesnt mean I only smoke Cubans wearing white gloves.
However,when smoking indoors ( which is rare) I would still only use a spare sline of cedar from an old tube , but as this is totally inpractical outside I have experimented with all manner of lighters and ruined too many cigars over the years to remain sane.
My best bet (especially having read your comments Gary) is a mixture of torch and old fashioned butane lighters - but only the torch from a distance .

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