1) The Triple Cap: Cubans are almost always triple capped. Non-Cubans are almost always double-capped. This is one great way to avoid the old label switch-a-roo trick.
2) The Black Ash: Cubans almost always burn a black ash. I’m told it results from the minerals in Cuban soil. Who knows? Regardless, I’ve yet to experience a real one that burned white, or a non-Cuban that burned black.
3) The Quiet Companion: The drink should never overpower the cigar. Steer away from full-bodied booze that will (always) steal the show. Believe it or not coffee, or tea makes for a lovely alternative while eliminating the risk of tobacco/alcohol’s synergistic effect on the C word.
4) Break it Up!: A piece of food can break up a palate that gets overwhelmed. Just tear off some cookie, chocolate, a piece of bread, an M&M, hell even gum or a light mint. My favorite, a walnut brownie from Diane’s in tony Roslyn Heights, NY. Plus J-Lo stops in there about once a week.
5) Ignite the Rim: Once the outside edge of the cigar is lit, the rest will take care of itself. Many fellas overdue the lighting, and start off hot-boxin’ the tobacco right off the bat. Just get the outer rim lit, nature will handle the rest.
6) Save it, Buddy!: Save memorable bands. One day your grandson will appreciate the band from that engagement cigar and might even sell it on eBay. One boulevardier I know even has a framed pic of himself, with his wedding Cohiba Robusto, and the actual band affixed to the frame. And that boulevardier, my friends, is Fredo.
7) The Lighter Your Draw, the Better Your Smoke: I’m not talking how the cigar draws, I’m talkin’ how you draw. Light, well-spaced draws are the key to low temps and greater flavor. Ripping through a cigar is one of the best ways to hotbox the tobacco and overpower your palate. Experienced smokers take their time. Towards the end of a great cigar, take faint short puffs and you’ll discover flavor despite the heavier tar presence.
8) In Your Prime: Following these concise instructions: Remove sticks from humidor. Fill humidifier, using a spritzing bottle, spray with distilled water and wipe down with paper towel, close the box for 6 hours, repeat spray/wipe/wait. New humidors require to be refilled more often for first month. This will prevent your cigars from humidifying the wood in your humidor. Many know of this tip, few actually execute it once a year.
9) There’s a Waterfall in Prospect Park!?!: If you think you’ve located every secret cigar smoking spot in town, you aren’t looking hard enough. Get off your high horse and ask another like-minded gentleman if he knows prime spot he wouldn’t mind introducing “just” you to. Bet he does. And will.
10) A Burden Shared is Half the Burden, a Cigar Shared is Twice the Cigar. Everyone can think of at least one fella they know who’s exceedingly generous when it comes to gifting cigars. Be that guy. Not the guy with his hand always out.