keep Havanas ready for smoking, they should be stored at between
16 and 18 degrees Celsius and at a relative humidity of 65 to 70
the vagaries of our climate, you will be well advised to invest
in a humidor, which is a cabinet fitted with a moisture source.
This will enable you to keep a small quantity of cigars ready for
day to day smoking at home or in the office. Larger quantities are
best stored with your Cigar Merchant.
The Condition Test
you light up the Havana of your choice you may wish to check that
it is in good condition. Hold the cigar between your thumb and index
and squeeze gently. It should feel slightly springy to the touch.
wrapper leaf should feel like silk with the sheen of the natural
people make a great show of rolling a cigar next to their ear. "Listening
to the band", as is termed in the trade, served no useful purpose
and risks ruining the cigar.
a guillotine or special scissors to cut off most of the cap. Make
your incision almost to the full width of the cigar but leave part
of the cap intact to avoid the wrapper unraveling.
again before piercing the end with a match or cocktail stick. It
compresses the tobacco into a lump which impedes the draw.
is no need to remove the band at this stage. When the cigar has
warmed up you can take the band off without damaging the wrapper.
odorless flame from a butane gas lighter or match, after the head
has burned, is best. Use a petrol lighter or a wax match only if
you want the cigar to taste of petrol or wax.
a Havana is far too important to be rushed. First char the open
end in a flame to prepare it for even ignition.
gently blow on the glowing end to ensure that it is burning evenly.
place it between your lips and draw the flame into the cigar while
rotating it with your fingers.
fatter the cigar, the more time and care, must be devoted to bringing
it to life.
your cigar goes out, you need not abandon it. Re-light it by applying
a flame to the perimeter to burn away the wrapper which will resemble
the rim of a tiny volcanic crater. Then, re-light as with a new
cigar, first blowing through it to clear out any stale, residual
smoke that may linger within the filler.
inhale - it's not a cigarette - but gently draw the smoke into your
mouth and let it play gloriously on your taste buds. Relax and savor
the suble flavor of the blend of Havana tobaccos, aged and matured
for three years or more. Sip it as you would a rare old single malt
dunk your Havana in a nearby glass of wine or spirits, a little
known habit of the late Winston Churchill. Not only does it obliterate
the delicate flavor but it shows scant respect for the time and
skill which has gone into the making of your cigars.
flick the ash as cigarette smokers do. Allow a long ash to
form. Its evenness shows how well your Havana is made. Let the ash
fall in its own good time preferably into an ashtray.
is never any need to stub out a Havana. Just lay it to rest when
it has served its purpose. It will go out quickly all by itself.
Let it die with dignity.