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If you are new to the world of cigars, you may not be fully aware that lighting your cigar is not as simple as it may sound. There is quite an art form to it and for that, lighting your cigar will require the proper tool. Expert cigar lovers have spent years perfecting just how to light a cigar for the perfect even and consistent smoke, and of course, which lighter does the job the best. So you may be wondering, what lighters are best to use when smoking cigars?

While any lighter will technically enable you to smoke a cigar, to enjoy the best possible smoke, you should use a lighter made of real fire that will not singe your cigar with an unnecessary amount of heat. 

The truth is, not everyone who loves cigars can agree on just what is the “best” lighter for your cigar. However, everyone certainly has their own opinion. While some are based on science, others are focused on style, and still, some say that keeping up with technology will ensure you have the best possible smoke. If you want to know which lighter is right for your love of cigars, keep reading. We, here at the Cigar Mansion in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, have everything you need to know!

What Are the Different Types of Lighters for Cigars?

We have come a long way since flint or even matches to light our cigars, and the technology today has provided the world with numerous variations of the cigar lighter. So let’s talk about the pros and cons of your cigar lighting options and see which one is best for you!

Cedar & Matches

Interestingly, even with all these new fancy gadgets, some old-school smokers still like to use long wood matches or even cedar wood to light their cigars. Although this can be a fun experience, you will certainly need a lot of matches to start the cigar and enjoy it until the last puff, so we don’t necessarily recommend them for most smokers looking to relax.

Standard Flame Lighters

Your classic BIC or other lighters that you can find in every gas station will definitely light your cigar. Some users actually prefer them!

If you have used one of these lighters even to light a candle, you may have noticed that the flames move at an angle and they are easily affected by even a light breeze. So even though they will do the job of lighting your cigar, they’re probably not the absolute best option out there. 

Torch Lighters

Otherwise known as jet flame lighters, torches may just be the best lighter for cigar smokers when used correctly. 

It of course depends on your style and preference, but jet flames are known to produce a solid and immobile flame that will light your cigar without burning your thumb! The canisters are also filled with butane, which most cigar aficionados agree will not affect the taste of your cigar. 

One important downside to note when using a torch lighter to light your cigars, they run extremely hot. In fact, the flame can produce about twice the heat of a standard flame lighter (1500 degrees vs. 2900 degrees.) Some consumers have found that this high heat can actually char the cigar, just as you might find on an overcooked steak, and unfortunately, it can very much affect the taste of the smoke. 

If you are enjoying a premium cigar, or really any cigar that you want to savor the flavor, be careful when using a high-heat lighter. However, if  you know how to light the cigar properly, you probably won’t have any issues (and don’t worry if you’re not quite sure the right way to light a cigar, we’re going to explain it soon!)

Electric Plasma Lighters

The newest and certainly most technologically advanced options for cigar lighters are the electric plasma styles. This new variation of the lighter does not even use a flame! 

Some people enjoy this new and possibly improved tech lighter because it will never be affected by weather, it’s easy to travel with (TSA approved), it recharges and each part is replaceable, so you never have to buy a new lighter if you can manage to hold on to it!

We don’t really think that eclectic lighters are going to replace flame lighters of any kind, but they may just be a new fun toy to add to your lighter collection and they certainly will light your cigar with ease. 

How to Properly Light a Cigar (With the Best Lighter)

Now that you understand the variety of options when it comes to lighting a cigar, you need to choose which one is the right choice for you. When it comes down to it, it’s definitely a decision to be made based on personal preference and style, as well as personal convenience and habits while smoking. 

But no matter which lighter you use, you will want to be sure you light your cigar properly to ensure you receive the best possible flavor, especially if you are enjoying one of our many top-tier premium hand-rolled cigars

The trick is to treat your cigar like a marshmallow: don’t actually let the flame touch the cigar. If you get a little too close to the fire, don’t worry, your cigar isn’t ruined! Just remove it from the flame and continue to light it gently until the entire circumference has a glowing red light. 

After you take your first puff, if the end doesn’t seem like it’s going to burn in an even circle, simply take it out and use your lighter of choice to make sure the entire end is evenly lit. 

So Which Lighter Should You Use to Smoke a Cigar?

While the debate is certainly still out, if you want to know what we think down here in Alabama, we’ll give you our advice on what is the best lighter for your cigars. If you’re looking for a torch lighter, check out our Light Saber Cigar Torch.

If you are new to smoking cigars, the easiest way to correctly light the cigar, as mentioned above, will be to use a torch or jet flame lighter. They are simple to use and convenient to purchase. Just be careful not to char your cigar (by using the marshmallow trick) and you should be good to go!

Cigars & bourbon pairing is a popular and most reliable American pastime, enjoyed everywhere from the trendiest lounges to backyard barbecues. The pairing of these two sensory treats might seem a tricky endeavor, but with a little guidance proves endlessly rewarding. Whether a pairing veteran or new to cigars and bourbon, this guide shows you everything you need to pair cigars and whiskey like a pro.

Why Do Cigars Go Well With Bourbon

Many distilled spirits pair well with top premium cigars, yet bourbon is tailor-made for the job as they share many characteristics. Optimal climate and soil are necessary to grow the best tobacco for cigars, and the same is true for the corn, rye, barley, or wheat used for creating a fine whiskey. Whereas master distillers blend ingredients to create a particular bourbon expression, master tobacco blenders use various tobacco recipes to achieve a particular style of smoke. 

The extended wood aging is also key to smoothness, flavor, and complexity, with bourbon aged in charred new oak barrels and cigars in Spanish cedar. As a result, bourbon and cigars often share core wood, earth, sweet and smokey nuances that make for a harmonious pairing. Yet the moments of quiet relaxation or lively conversation created by these sensory explorations best make cigars and bourbon a perfect fit. 

Bourbon & Cigar History

Bourbon and cigars fit so well with each other because each shares a distinctive new world character, born out of similar histories that converge on early America’s frontier, especially in the South. Bourbon’s origin is shrouded in mystery, with various regional legends adding touches of local flavor to the story. Elijah Craig is often cited with creating the first bourbon in 1789, yet there is currently no definitive way to pinpoint the first bourbon. What is clear is that bourbon arose out of the distilling traditions brought to the new world by immigrants from all over Western Europe. Their descendants continued to refine their locally crafted whiskies into what would eventually become known to the world as bourbon, a key component of Southern pride and hospitality to this very day.

Much of today’s whiskey-making hubs are coincidently in the heart of American tobacco country, where select tobaccos still find their way into some of the world’s finest cigars from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Modern researchers tell us that humans have cultivated tobacco in the western hemisphere for at least 3,000 years. Yet tobacco did not enter European consciousness until after the voyages of Christopher Columbus in the 1490s. Members of his crew captivated the Spanish public by smoking rolled-up tobacco leaves through their noses, a crude version of what we now know as cigars. The worldwide tobacco craze that eventually followed, along with the rise of American whiskey, cleared the way for the cigar and bourbon pairings we enjoy today.

How to Pair Bourbon and Cigars

An adventurous spirit and love of the good life are all you need to embark on the bourbon and cigar pairing journey. Of course, each enthusiast eventually develops their own process, but to start, you can try two popular pairing methods to rev up your tastebuds.

The most common method is selecting cigars and bourbon of like character. The idea is to complement the flavor and complexity of one without overpowering the other. A more robust bourbon, for example, might drown out the finer nuances of a more mild cigar. So, the goal is to find cigars and bourbon that are equal in body and taste. Pairing a smooth, balanced smoke such as a Casa de las Estrellas cigar with a similarly structured Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon offers an exquisite example that brings out the sweet and spicy notes of each. This reliable method is a great way to train your palate to recognize similarities between flavor profiles.

Pairing contrasting characters, mild vs. robust or sweet vs. peppery, for example, is another method championed by connoisseurs. The goal here is to magnify the differing notes of cigars and bourbon to create a livelier, more complex experience. The structure of one might sometimes overshadow the other, but this method can enhance primary expressions while nudging more subdued flavors into the spotlight. For example, a Padron Damaso Robusto cigar’s subtle earth and cream notes explode onto the palate when partnered with the full-bodied spiciness of Baker’s Bourbon 7-Year Single Barrel. 

Other than these simple guidelines, there are no rules for cigars & bourbon pairing other than doing what brings you the most pleasure. It is all about personal preference. The trick is finding out just what those preferences are. So, taking note of the body, flavor, and overall mouthfeel you get from each pairing helps narrow down your likes and dislikes, getting you closer to finding the perfect partnership between cigar and bourbon. 

Best Cigar and Bourbon Whiskey Pairings

The pairing possibilities available to enthusiasts today are vast, with something to satisfy everyone’s taste. The best pairing often can just be your favorite cigar, paired with your favorite whiskey, so while the best cigar and whiskey pairings are subjective, there are plenty of reliable pairings to help get you started on the path to success. Here are four highly gratifying combinations:

La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero DL-700 & Booker’s Bourbon

Booker’s Bourbon is a fan favorite with a robust, unfiltered structure that goes toe-to-toe with the La Flor Dominicana DL-700’s potent mix of double-ligero tobaccos. Shared wood and exotic spice notes make for a bold yet balanced experience with hints of sweetness dispersed throughout a complex and warming finish.

Rocky Patel Aged Limited Rare (ALR) 2nd Ed. Robusto & Clyde May’s Special Reserve Straight Bourbon

The Rocky Patel ALR 2nd Edition Robusto cigar’s dark Mexican San Andres wrapper and core of rich Nicaraguan tobaccos find an ideal match in Clyde May’s 110-proof Special Reserve Straight bourbon. This full-bodied yet silky-smooth combination is underscored by a delectably tangy sweetness with both cigar and bourbon offering thick chocolate, wood, and spice notes. 

R&R Cigars Black Warrior Torpedo & Four Roses Single Barrel

The Black Warrior Torpedo, the pride of Tuscaloosa, features muscular Honduran and Nicaraguan double ligero tobaccos wrapped in a Sumatra Oscuro wrapper that dovetails with Four Roses Single Barrel Straight Bourbon’s sweet and spicy profile. The bourbon’s texture mellows on the backend allowing the cigar’s full-bodied character to take center stage for a long, velvety finale. 

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic & Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon

The Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature cigar’s top-shelf Dominican tobaccos and Cameroon wrapper form an exquisite complement to Elijah Craig’s Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The classic Perfecto-shaped cigar and 94 proof bourbon deliver savory cedar, oak, herbal, nut, cocoa, earth, and pepper notes that play off each other for a memorably sophisticated experience. 

What Are the Best Cigar Shops Near Me 

A big step in the cigars & bourbon pairing journey is asking yourself, “What are the best cigar shops near me that best cater to my pairing needs?” Of course, you want the pairing experience to be a happy one, so seeking out reputable, full-service tobacconists in your area can help to alleviate any stress or frustration you might have in finding the right cigars. While there are many variables you might consider, start by searching for cigar shops that offer:

Not only can you rely on the expertise of a cigar shop’s staff for information, but spending time at cigar stores is also a great way to interact with other cigar enthusiasts. Specialized dealers with multiple locations, such as The Cigar Mansion, are ideal gathering spots for cigar lovers to share experiences over the best premium whiskey and high-quality cigars. Here you can pick up pairing tips, check out the latest in cigar accessories, root for the Crimson Tide on game day, and even make new friends along the way. 

Join the Cigars & Bourbon Pairing Party

With their complementary characters and shared contributions to the American spirit, cigars and bourbon rise above the ordinary to deliver an unforgettable sensory experience. Discovering what suits your tastes best will take some trial and error, as well as a bit of patience, but it is all about enjoying the journey. So, spark up, sip, and savor the moment. Start your cigar & bourbon pairing adventure at The Cigar Mansion today!

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