5 Tips on Cigar Smoking Etiquette

5 Tips on Cigar Smoking Etiquette

There are plenty of great occasions in which smoking a cigar is an excellent way to celebrate. It allows people to bond over conversation that is more than the cookie cutter, “hello, how are you?” because cigars do last for a good amount of time, as many cigar aficionados are aware. Regardless of whether you’re at a celebration like a wedding or the birth of a newborn, or you’re just going to the cigar lounge to enjoy a handcrafted custom cigar, there is common etiquette you want to follow.

While some of the tips we’ve compiled at Cigar Ink may seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how many of the common courtesies get overlooked.

5 Cigar Etiquette Tips to Remember

  1. If a conversation is ongoing, don’t interrupt it. This goes beyond cigar smoking, but people who are engaging in conversation over a cigar are usually decently invested in the current conversation. Therefore, don’t interrupt, although you may be eager to jump in, give it a moment until the subject changes for you to dive in. Conversations over cigars, especially if they’re handcrafted should be calm, cool, and collected.
  2. Don’t compare whose is better. Everyone has their preference on taste, so unless you’re complementing on the cigar’s chosen – not commenting – don’t judge anyone’s style. If you’re just hanging around a cigar lounge, everyone has chosen their cigar for a reason, if you don’t like their choice, just don’t mention it.
  3. Don’t bring a cigar to a cigar lounge. If you’re going to a cigar lounge, we understand how you’d want to pull out one of your custom engraved cigars, but there’s a time and place for those and in someone else’s lounge where they sell cigars isn’t it. Buy from the lounge.
  4. Don’t comment on someone’s way of smoking. Each cigar smoker has their own habit, especially if their seasoned. However, regardless of whether their style is right or wrong, it’s best to keep that opinion to yourself. Let them enjoy their stogie the way they’d like the enjoy it.
  5. Don’t become an unofficial consultant. While complaints are bad, no one wants to have someone consistently commenting on their lounge, the way they smoke, or the cigars they offer. If the owner of the lounge is looking for advice on changing his shop around, he’ll advise who he chooses.

Need Well-Crafted Cigars?

If you’re looking for well crafted, custom engraved cigars for an event, celebration, or just to have, check out our website at Cigar Ink. Not only can we engrave cigars with logos, names, dates, etc, but we also sell some high end humidors that will keep your cigars nice and fresh

Tips For Properly Storing Cigars

Tips For Properly Storing Cigars

There are several different ways to properly store your cigars, but there are also some storage options that may take away from the quality of your handcrafted cigar. Whether you’re new to the hobby or if you just need to expand your current storage options, we’re here to help. We’ll go over some of the more common as well as some of the not-so-common storage options, so you can better determine which one is a good fit for your collection.

4 Types of Custom Cigar Storage Options

  1. Desktop Humidor. We sell some great desktop humidors on our Cigar Ink website. These humidors are the most popular way to store handcrafted cigars and there are several different sizes available, depending on how large your collection is. Keep in mind that with a desktop humidor, you’ll need to invest in some humidity packs to properly maintain the levels within the cigar box.
  2. If you have a wine fridge within your home and there’s a spare shelf that you’re not using, it’s the perfect place to store your cigars. The difference between storing your cigars this way versus in a traditional humidor is that the humidity levels don’t fluctuate, so it’s very consistent. These types of units often have a thermoelectric cooling system which is extremely beneficial for a seasoned smoker because it will do the humidity control for them instead of having the consistently change a humidity pack.
  3. Yes, we mean a cooler that’s like the Igloo brand. They actually make great cigar storage units, and there are so many sizes available that you’ll definitely be able to find one that fits your needs. One thing with using a cooler is that you’ll need to make sure you get the plastic smell out because it will affect the quality of your custom, handcrafted cigars. The best way to do this is by taking some white distilled vinegar and wiping down the interior of the cooler. Once it’s cleaned, you want to do the same thing with the cooler as you would with a desktop humidor and that is to get something to control the humidity level within the storage unit.
  4. Cabinet Humidor. These are some classy looking cigar storage units that are basically the standard humidor, but on steroids. A cabinet humidor can be purchased with a humidity control system already installed, but if you just buy the empty casing, you’ll want to treat it with humidity packs just like any other unit that doesn’t have a cooling system.
How To Light Cigars Like The Pros

How To Light Cigars Like The Pros

If you’re just getting into the world of cigar smoking and you’re visiting cigar bars left and right, you may have discovered that they can be an intimidating place if you don’t know what you’re doing. Smoking a cigar is not like smoking a cigarette; cigarettes are casual whereas cigars have a certain level of elegance to them; probably why they’re often smoked at celebrations. However with that being said, one thing is certain and there’s a right way and a wrong way to smoke a cigar, and that’s why we’re here. To tell you the right way.

Cigar Smoking 101

All cigar smoking starts the same way, with one of the greatest rituals, the…

  • Cutting
  • Toasting
  • Lighting

So, the first thing you’ll need is a cigar cutter. We recommend the guillotine, but whichever cutter you choose, you’ll want to clip the head of the cigar which is the closed end. While this may seem like an easy task, if you cut too far down, you’ll soon be looking at an unraveled cigar. Once you’ve cut the cigar, the real fun begins. The real way to light a cigar is by either a cedar spill or a wooden match, if butane lighter is all you have, that’ll still do. Toasting your cigar is rather simple if you follow our easy steps that’ll make you look like a pro…

  1. Hold the cigar at a 45 degree angle.
  2. Place the tip of the flame directly under the foot of the cigar.
  3. NEVER let the flame touch the tobacco — you’ll char the wrapper.
  4. Toast the open end of the cigar by gently rotating it above the flame until the circumference is smoldering.
  5. When you see a whiff of smoke curl up, place the cut end into your mouth and gently begin to puff. This will ignite the foot of the cigar.
  6. NEVER inhale. Cigars are for your pallet, not your lungs.

 

 

Looking to Smoke in Style?

If you’re declaring yourself a cigar aficionado, you want to smoke like one too, and what better way than to have your own custom engraved cigars that step away from the traditional cigar band and go a step further? To design your own laser engraved cigars, visit our Cigar Ink store online. Not only do we sell handcrafted cigars in bulk that you can have engraved with a patent laser, but we also sell the proper humidors that will keep your cigars fresh.

What’s So Special About A Cuban Cigar

What’s So Special About A Cuban Cigar?

Cuban cigars have always been a delicacy to cigar connoisseurs all around the world. Known as the best cigar on the market, Cuban cigars are made from extremely high quality materials, and the attention to detail is remarkable. There are over 100 steps involved when creating these cigars and the industry has been following the same ritual for over 150 years. It’s the dedication to detail that really sets a Cuban cigar apart from the rest.

A Brief History of Cuban Cigars

Cuba has been producing cigars since King Phillip II of Spain was running things back in the 1500’s, and all the tobacco within the cigars was and still is grown within the country. It wasn’t until John F. Kennedy signed an economic embargo on Cuba that they became increasingly difficult to obtain. Cigar manufacturers have attempted to replicate Cuban cigars, but a true cigar enthusiast knows a fake when they see one. After Kennedy set the embargo, Cuban cigars grew in popularity because people often want what they can’t have.

The Difference With Cigar Tobacco

Part of what makes Cuban cigars so unique is the pure blend of tobacco wrapped within the leaves. It’s all grown in Cuba, and what many cigar smokers don’t know is that a majority of the popular cigars on the market (high quality or not), are made from a blend of several different types of tobacco.

Any seasoned smoker may enjoy a blend of tobacco, but they know that the most authentic smoking experience is always with a Cuban cigar. Keep in mind that if you do get your hands on a Cuban cigar, they’re much different than your average commercial brand. The smell and taste is much more authentic, meaning that the aroma and taste can be somewhat overwhelming. Actually, it’s that exact reason that many don’t like Cuban cigars.

In Short: Why Cuban Cigars Are So Popular

  • They’ve been handcrafted the same way for several hundred years.
  • The Cuban cigar market is controlled by the government, and is dedicated to maintaining such a high reputation.
  • Each cigar that is exported is looked over to make sure there are no flaws.
  • Each cigar contains Grade A Cuban tobacco.
  • They’re difficult to purchase, which makes them even more enjoyable.
3 Things You Might Not Have Known About Cigar Wrappers

3 Things You Might Not Have Known About Cigar Wrappers

Although the cigar wrapper is just one piece of a larger puzzle, it’s still a crucial element. The wrapper not only carries a majority of the cigars flavor, but it also carries nearly all of its aesthetic appeal. Don’t believe us? Well, according to Cigar Aficionado, the wrapper is responsible for 60 percent of a cigar’s overall value.

The problem, however, is that people today are trying to create wrappers that others have never seen before, which makes the classics even more prominent as well as difficult to find. If you can comprehend the subtleties, finding the right cigar will take little effort. With that being said, here are a few facts about cigar wrappers that may help sway you in your decision.

3 Cigar Wrapper Tips

  1. Look at the veins. You know how when a tree gets cut down and the rings tell you how old it is? Well, cigar wrappers are somewhat similar. The veins on a tobacco leaf are like the rings on a tree trunk, but they don’t reflect age, they reflect quality. Cigars with thinner, less noticeable veins are often more sought after because they reflect a higher tobacco leaf quality. Cigar wrappers are like a fine whiskey – they’re smoother with age. So, when you’re shopping around for that high quality smoke, you want one that’s been aged for at least two years.
  2. Sun or shade? There are two primary ways to grow tobacco plants, and that’s either in the shade or in the sunlight. Cigars that are crafted from tobacco plants that grew in the sunlight will often have thicker, more prominent veins because they had to be resilient to the UV rays. Plants grown in the shade more often than not will taste sweeter than those that thrived in the sunlight. Shade grown tobacco will also have less noticeable veins to spot.
  3. Maduro wrappers are everything. We sell Maduro wrapped cigars at Cigar Ink. Not only do the leaf bode well with our patent laser engraving system, but they’re also delicious. Maduro cigar wrappers are grown in the sun throughout several different areas including Connecticut, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Brazil, and Nicaragua. Maduro treated cigars are very rich in flavor and dark in appearance. If you invest in our Maduro wrappers for your special event, you can expect them to carry a sweet flavor and powerful aroma. Although they may have thick veins, you can expect our well-crafted cigars to have a soft texture that resembles velvet.

3 leading hip hop stars who love smoking cigars

Cigars are the definition of cool. Here are 5 leading hip hop artists who share our love for cigar culture.

 

  • Sean “Diddy” Combs

There is no denying it, Combs is one of the most successful men in hip hop history, well on his way to becoming the first billionaire of hip hop.   Not only has Combs continued to remain an iconic and legendary presence in the music industry for the last 20 years, he has also left his mark for generations to come with his clothing industry brand; Sean John. Combs has continued to amplify his mark on this world with an extremely intellectual business decision becoming a part of the liquor industry, with his well known brand; Ciroc. Diddy is no stranger to the finer things in life. He has been known for throwing extravagant parties, vacationing in St.Tropez on expensive yachts, chartering private jets and of course smoking some of the finest cigars in the world.

 

  • Rick Ross

Born out of luxurious, sunny, Miami Florida,  Ross has become the popular icon we all know today for his undeniable confidence and ease when rapping. Ross is also unbelievably talented when it comes to telling vivid tales of both the hardcore street life as well as the luxury, lavish life. He is currently one of the top elite rappers in the hip hop industry and has worked with the best of the best including Pharrel, Jay-Z, Nas, and Kanye West, just to name a few. Ross is so in love with the plush life that he named his label Maybach Music Group after the ultra-luxury, vehicle manufactured by Mercedes. Rick Ross also has a deep love for the best cigars money can buy. On his third album “Deeper than rap”, he had a song dedicated to one of his favorite pleasures of all time titled “Cigar Music.” On this track, he raps the following lyrics, “Fascinated with foreign felines, Since I was knee high, This cigar got me buzzin like a Bee hive.”

 

  • T.I.

Hailing from Atlanta, T.I. is often referred to as “the southern version of Jay-Z.” T.I. exploded onto the hip hop scene back when his first album dropped in 2001. T.I quickly gained a large fan following for his forceful rapping delivery and his clever, quick way with words. Over the years, T.I. has transformed into quite the accomplished entertainer. He’s acted in several big name movies (ATL, American Gangster), has his own reality show, owns a clothing line (Akoo) and does career arcs in some of the most critically acclaimed TV series like Boss, House of Lies and more. He can often been seen dressed up in the finest suits and a fresh haircut, and he’s even been featured  on the cover of the premier  cigar-industry publication, Smoke.

All in all, above all else, never forget that “There are two things worth living for, one is a good cigar, the other is a better one.” – Unknown

and

“Cigar smoking knows no politics. It’s about the pursuit of pleasure, taste, and aroma.”- Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The in’s and out’s of Cigar lounges

Become friendly with the lounge personnel:  Start with the manager. Odds are he (or she) is the most knowledgeable person in the shop. A good relationship with your tobacconist will pay-off in the long run. Whether looking for a new cigar, a lighter, a cutter, or if we are having problems with our cigars or our humidor, our tobacconist is one of our best allies.

Don’t bring cigars from home: One of the most often debated questions with regard to cigar store lounge etiquette is whether or not to “BYO” cigars from our home humidor into the lounge. Most cigar store managers tend to clench their teeth a little at this, especially if it becomes a habit. If you’re a regular customer, odds are you most likely purchased the cigars in the store anyway. Moreover, regular customers tend to get a little more latitude here. If you’re going to bring your own cigars to a store lounge, at least bring brands that are sold in the store. Nothing makes a cigar store manager more irritable than seeing someone bring in an alien cigar purchased from a competitor. Even worse, is when a customer openly brags about how great that alien cigar is.

Make sure to welcome the newcomer: If we are regulars at our favorite lounge, be kind to the new brothers-of-the-leaf. Smile. Ask them their name, and what they’re smoking. In short, make them feel comfortable.

Do not show-boat: Drawing attention to one’s self by boasting about their pricey cigars  in their personal collection or their custom-built humidor, is a real buzz kill. Even worse, don’t belittle someone else’s cigar. If they love smoking machine-made cigars, or flavored cigars, or $19.95/ bundle cigars, so be it. Never presume to  know everything about cigars, because that just isn’t the reality.

Do not interrupt others while they are speaking: If other cigar smokers are having a conversation, don’t jump-in and start speaking. Sometimes people just want to talk among themselves. It isn’t personal. If you have something to add, at least wait until they’re finished talking. Odds are at that point they’ll be more than happy to hear what you have to say.

Do not act like an expert: Every cigar smoker, regardless of their experience, has their own way of preparing their cigars. If, in your opinion you see someone cutting or lighting their cigars improperly, bite your tongue and let them continue. However, if you absolutely have to offer advice, try to take them aside, and as politely as possible say something like, “I noticed how you clipped your cigar before. You know, you’d get a better draw if you did this…” In that case, even if they don’t want your advice, they can’t fault you for trying to help them out.

Do not beg: First of all, remember to bring your own lighter and cutter. Most cigar smokers have no problem letting you borrow their lighter and/or cutter. But once you make a habit of saying, “Can I borrow your lighter?” they tend to do a slow burn. Most cigar lounges have community lighters and cutters on- hand for such purposes. Most importantly, never wet the tip of your cigar before using the lounge’s community cutter, and especially when using another person’s cutter. YUCK.

Many cigar store lounges also provide coffee, snacks and other refreshments for their patrons. Coming in just so you can get a “free lunch” is beyond the pale. Some of the regulars will often bring in their own libations, which they are generally willing to share. It wouldn’t hurt to spring for a little payback every now and then. Want to really make an impression? Go the extra mile and pay it forward with cigars. Moreover, some cigar clubs and lounges have a “club rule” where when someone wins a box of cigars, they share the booty with the others in the lounge.

 

If we stick to these guidelines, we will be the most respectable smokers around.

I’ll Have What She’s Having: A Guide to Cigars for Women

 

I’ll Have What She’s Having - A Guide to Cigars for Women

Ladies, if you have ever strolled past a cigar shop and thought, “I would love to smoke a cigar but I don’t know the first thing about it,” then this article is for you. A lot of beginners, both women and men, are intimidated by the heir of sophistication associated with most cigar lounges. The choices can be overwhelming and include different brands, flavors, sizes and more. It is no wonder that curious women pass by cigar bars and lounges, mistakenly thinking it is not a place for them.

Cigars are a great way to celebrate everything from a new engagement to a new promotion. Smoking a cigar has been seen as a traditionally male-dominated activity, but in recent years it has expanded to include more women joining the fun. For the woman interested in taking their first puff, we have some tips that will transition you from a cigar beginner to a cigar aficionado.

Tip 1: Ask Questions

Make the manager of the cigar lounge earn his or her money for the day. You will be surprised at how much they know about cigars. Answering a few questions about your favorite wines, whether or not you have ever smoked before, and candle scents you prefer will help them determine the perfect cigar for you. In most cases, your local cigar manager will suggest something mild like a Buccarat or Don Diego for a beginner.

Tip 2: Bring a Friend

Like everything else in life, learning about cigars is more fun with a buddy. Whether you bring a novice like yourself or an experienced cigar smoker, bringing someone along for your first cigar experience is a great way to make a new memory and feel less intimidated by the cigar lounge.

Tip 3: Be Bold

Being bold does not mean pretending you know everything there is to know about cigars. Being bold means to approach the situation with confidence. You will not be the first woman to step into the world of cigars. You might think, “I wonder how many women have actually come into a place like this before,” and the answer is: Lots! So, be bold, experiment with different cigar types and flavors, and enjoy the experience.

Tip 4: Be You

Virginia Slim cigarettes had one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever because they knew their market and catered to it. If you are old enough to remember the slender cigarettes being advertised by women with a professional and glamorous edge to them, then you know what we mean. Some cigar makers have begun to recognize the market for women as a potentially big one and that is great for you. If you want to try a honey or mocha flavored cigar, go for it! You do not have to “run with the big boys” and get the most robust cigar in the lounge to prove yourself. Start where you are comfortable and with flavors that appeal to you.

It can be a scary thing to walk into a cigar lounge for the first time. However, following our simple tips can help make your first time smoking a cigar a great one! Cheers!

 

 

Ain’t No Party Like a Cigar Party

Ain’t No Party Like a Cigar Party

Summer backyard barbecues are about to give way to crisp, fall cookouts. But, fear not! You can always keep the spirit of summer going by throwing your own stogie party. A cigar party is a great way to introduce your novice friends to the hobby, and expose your cigar enthusiast buddies to some of your favorite stogies and swap cigar knowledge like a pro. You will need a few items to make your event a success and, of course, the Cigar Ink team has you covered.

Food

First, what party is complete without food? A cigar party is no exception. The type of food you serve will depend on the goal of your party. Are you looking to have a variety of cigars to try? Then you will want to keep your food choices light. The perfect spread is an array of cheese, crackers and bread, fruit and veggies. If you are looking to do a more substantial menu, keep it light on the spices. Serve the lightest, least flavor-rich foods first and save the heavier, more flavorful foods for later in the evening. We advise this because you want the flavors of the cigars to shine, not the food. Tailor your menu accordingly.

 

Food

 

Drinks

Cigars and drinks go together like cereal and milk…or something like that. Just as with the food, the type of drinks you serve will depend on the type of cigars you will have. For lighter, milder flavored stogies, you can pair with a sweeter white wine like Riesling or vodka and seltzer water mix. For bold flavored cigars, you can go for the traditional pairing of bourbon or full-bodied cognac.

 

Drinks

 

Everything Else

You wouldn’t throw a wine party and forget to include wine glasses, right? Similarly, you should not forget all the accessories needed for your stogie party. Ashtrays, cigar cutters, and good, working lighters are all essential to your party. If you are a true cigar aficionado outfitted with your own personal humidor, make sure your cigars are ready (unwrapped and free to breathe) about half an hour before it’s go-time. Once your guests arrive, feel free to light up, drink up and eat up. Remember to keep the food light and have a variety of drinks to pair with each type of cigar you guest chooses.

 

 Everything Else

You might think that summer is the best time for a cigar party, but there is never a wrong time to enjoy a cigar. You can feel confident in kicking the fall season into high gear with a perfectly planned cigar party. Once you have the first one under your belt, you will want to keep throwing stogie parties throughout the year. For the best choice of custom cigars online, be sure to keep Cigar Ink at the top of your list.