Readers have often asked how to unplug a clogged cigar. I know from experience that no amount of poking, squeezing, or picking will make a plugged cigar fun to smoke. My advice has always been to simply exchange the stick for another. It’s rare that an entire line of cigars will be plugged and it’s pretty safe to exchange one for the same make and model.
There is nothing like a moist, fragrant cigar. The wonderful aroma we sense upon opening our cigar humidors is mouth-watering to a cigar lover. But sometimes that aroma can indicate we are getting too much of a good thing.
Long term cigar storage needs to be in the 68% to 72% RH range (at a temp close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit). But that moist environment can cause some cigars to burn poorly. Additionally, an overly moist cigar can have a bitter taste giving the smoker the wrong impression of its quality. This is where dry boxing comes in.
I received three contact form messages during the last week from users who wanted to know how to retro-hale and I decided to answer the question in a blog post.
First of all, what is retro-haling? According to the tobacconist university:
Retro-haling is the act of moving smoke from the back of the mouth, up through the sinuses, and exhaling through the nasal passages.
Now, why would one want to smoke a cigar through the nose? Well, it is simply because we have so many flavor detectors in our noses - much more than on the tongue that can only distinguish basic flavors. Smoking through the nose will maximize the flavors you will get out of your cigar.
Final question - how do you do it? That's the tricky part, quite difficult to explain. Former cigarette smokers will certainly know how to retro-hale and I'll try to describe it as concisely as I can. First of all, take a good puff on your cigar and release approximately half of the smoke through the mouth as you normally do. Do not inhale or swallow the remaining smoke. With your mouth closed, gently push the smoke to the back of the cavity with your tongue and at the same time start exhaling through the nose. That's it!
Make sure you try this with the mildest cigar you can get and go slowly or you might end up coughing quite a bit. I usually do it a couple of times in each third but there are aficionados who retro-hale every single puff.
What is your experience with retro-haling? Have you noticed that it helps to detect more flavors?
I recently received a newsletter from BuyLighters.com with a nice video called How to troubleshoot a lighter. I started browsing through all their videos on YouTube and found a really good one on how to charge a humidifier in a humidor. Dave Sabot from CheapHumidors.com explains it really well - I decided to post it here. Enjoy.
When I light a cigar with friends who are not regular cigar smokers, I often see them damaging the wrapper near the cap when using a guillotine cutter. While it may seem obvious to some of you, a very simple tip is to wet the cap a little with your lips, then carefully apply the cutter. The cap (especially true if it's a Cuban triple cap) will come off without effort, leaving even edges without damage to the wrapper.
Thought you might like this one too... For your Sunday viewing pleasure, how to light a cigar video with Aria Giovanni. And watch the previous one if you missed it!
For your Sunday viewing pleasure a short and entertaining video on how to cut a cigar... done by Aria Giovanni, a well-known playmate. It's not very new so you might have already seen it. Enjoy.
A few days ago I received an e-mail from a reader. Here's what Lucas said in his e-mail:
"Thanks for your quality reviews, but please... take the labels off your cigars after you have started to smoke them. Keeping the label on for the duration is bad form and your credibility suffers. A little etiquette goes a long way."
I was very curious because I have never encountered this rule before. I asked Lucas whether I could make this a topic of conversation here at CigarInspector.com and he gladly accepted. He also added the following information:
"The thinking is this: After you have smoked the cigar for a few minutes, you should remove the label. The heat should loosen the band to make it easier to remove. The reason it is good etiquette is because a gentleman should not flaunt his wealth, or his cigars. If you are smoking a particularly good stogie there is no need to flash that Opus X label around. It's akin to wearing a lot of bling or praising yourself for some generous deed that you have done. No one likes a braggart. Getting to kick back and enjoy a fine smoke is what it's all about."
Do you remove the band when you are smoking? What do you think about this etiquette rule?