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A Guide to Lighting Cigars: Exploring Various Lighters and Proper Techniques

A Guide to Lighting Cigars: Exploring Various Lighters and Proper Techniques

Cigar aficionados understand that the ritual of lighting a cigar is a crucial step in enjoying the full flavor and aroma of a fine cigar. To truly appreciate the nuances of your cigar, you need the right tools and techniques. In this guide, we'll explore the different types of lighters commonly used for cigars and provide step-by-step instructions on how to properly light a cigar.

Different Types of Lighters for Cigars

  1. Butane Torch Lighter:

    • Butane torch lighters are popular among cigar enthusiasts due to their precision and reliability.
    • They produce a concentrated flame, making it easy to evenly toast the cigar's foot (the end you light).
    • Some models even have multiple flames for a quicker and more even burn.
  2. Soft Flame Lighter:

    • Soft flame lighters, such as classic Zippo lighters, produce a gentler, traditional flame.
    • They are a stylish choice and can add a touch of nostalgia to the cigar-lighting experience.
    • Soft flames are not as wind-resistant as torch flames, so they are best suited for indoor or sheltered outdoor settings.
  3. Cedar Spills:

    • Cedar spills are thin strips of Spanish cedar that are lit, then used to ignite the cigar.
    • They are a favored choice among purists, as cedar spills impart a subtle cedar aroma to the cigar.
    • Using cedar spills requires a bit more skill, as you need to maintain the flame while lighting the cigar.
  4. Matches:

    • Wooden matches, preferably long ones, can also be used to light cigars.
    • They provide a natural flame and can be a great choice for those who enjoy the traditional aspect of cigar smoking.
    • Be sure to let the sulfur burn off the matchstick before bringing it close to the cigar to prevent any unwanted flavors.

Proper Technique for Lighting a Cigar

  1. Preparation:

    • Choose an appropriate lighting tool, ensuring it's filled with butane or ready for use.
    • Inspect the cigar for any imperfections or damage before lighting.
  2. Toasting the Foot:

    • Hold the cigar at a 45-degree angle above the flame, without touching the flame directly.
    • Begin by rotating the cigar, allowing the foot to evenly warm and toast.
    • This step helps avoid an uneven burn.
  3. Lighting:

    • With the cigar properly toasted, place it in your mouth and bring the flame to the foot.
    • Keep the flame slightly below the cigar, avoiding direct contact with the flame.
    • Rotate the cigar while continuing to puff gently.
    • The goal is to achieve an even and glowing cherry across the entire circumference of the cigar's foot.
  4. Enjoying Your Cigar:

    • Once your cigar is properly lit, take your time to savor the flavors and aromas.
    • Avoid inhaling the smoke; instead, let it roll over your palate.
    • Remember, the key to enjoying a cigar is relaxation and appreciation of its nuances.


The art of lighting a cigar is an essential part of the cigar-smoking experience. Choosing the right lighter and mastering the proper technique can greatly enhance your enjoyment of fine cigars. Whether you prefer the precision of a butane torch, the elegance of a soft flame, or the tradition of cedar spills and matches, the key is to take your time, savor the moment, and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each cigar. Happy smoking!

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