A cigar can be many things. It can be relaxing or it can be a symbol of status. They can be smoked because ‘everyone else does it’ or it can be smoked because you enjoy smoking it.
One thing that’s universal though, is the taste. Anyone who knows about cigars knows that the taste is one of the most important things about them. Cheap cigars taste, well, cheap. Expensive cigars are expensive for a reason: They taste good and smoke well. Unfortunately, even the best cigars can be ruined if you don’t know how to light them.
When you smoke a cigar, what you taste is the smoke. Since smoke is essentially non-burned particles from the cigar, what you taste is what’s burning. Does that sound confusing? Look at it this way: Whatever burns in your cigar’s going to end up in the taste. Why’s that important? Because if you burn something nasty, the smoke will taste nasty. That’s why quality cigars taste better than cheap ones. The maker does a better job and uses better ingredients.
What does this have to do with lighting your cigar? Whatever you use to light your cigar is also burning. Are you using a match? The fumes from the chemicals on the tip are going into the smoke. Maybe you’re lighting up with a cheap lighter from the dollar store? If so, it might use naphtha, or some other petroleum-based fuel, to make that flame. Those chemicals are going into your cigar and into your smoke, both directly and indirectly.
Those “in the know” use butane lighters or wooden matches to light their cigars. Butane’s a clean burning gas, being both odorless and tasteless. There’s no chemical taste to leak into your smoke and ruin the flavor of that expensive cigar. Even matches can be used, if the chemical head is allowed to burn away, leaving only the wood. Once that happens, the wood leaves little or no taste. Some purists, eschewing both matches and butane lighters, prefer to use special wood tapers with no chemicals at all. Still, it’s a better option to use a butane lighter.
If you enjoy a flavorful smoke or you’re just learning cigar really tastes like, take care in lighting up. When you smoke for relaxation, you don’t want to have a foul taste ruin the mood. Are you about to try an expensive cigar for the first time? Don’t waste the money and that perfectly good cigar because you forgot that a bad lighter affects the taste.
So, with all this in mind, forgo grandpa’s heirloom naphtha lighter. Don’t use cardboard matches with all the additives in the cardboard. Find yourself a good butane lighter here at The Cigar Store and save your cigars from a chemically death.