pre castro cuban cigars tabacos de puriscal tobacco cigar cigars cigarillos curchill cuban tobacco tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars cuban tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars
cuban tobacco cigars cuban tobacco cigars cuban tobacco cigars

Facts About Tobacco:

  The tobacco in these cigars, derived from seed varieties that predate the Cuban Embargo, is significantly more resinous than modern Cuban or non-Cuban cigars. Enjoying the flavor and bouquet that earned these "Golden Age" tobaccos of world renown requires a different smoking technique ... if you don't follow it, your cigar will taste thin, hot and sharp. The culprit is "oversmoking," seen in too many of today's smokers ... who mistakenly blame their cigars. These tips will help you get the best these cigars have to offer:  
  Prep Your Mouth. It's customary to have a rich cigar after a rich meal, but a fresh palate responds better to the delicacy of a cigar. At home, you can brush my teeth before smoking, and a breath mint will do the job if you're mobile. Likewise, the burned oleoresins that remain in your mouth from your last smoke, can affect how the next cigar tastes. This is especially true if the first cigar was very strong or sooty taste ... you have to get rid of those deposits on your tongue. Go to "Cleanse Your Palate" (below), to prevent this problem.  

Copyright  Stephanie Mausset
Photo by Stephanie Mausset
More photos of Cuba on her website:
Landscapes, People & Old Cars of Cuba



o Don't char the foot. A peppery, bitter taste from the outset is the result.
o Light the entire foot and wrapper. A mere speck of unlit rim can cause uneven burn that persists for the entire smoke.

What flame to use. Wooden kitchen matches or butane lighters work best. Be sure the lighter's flame is strong enough to get the entire foot going. Liquid fuel lighters impart a kerosene taste to your cigar. A microtorch's 2,200EF jet scorches it. Paper matches don't generate enough heat, and don't burn long enough for even, uniform ignition. I also use a "Hanau" denatured alcohol torch, used by dental technicians and goldsmiths. Cool flame, odorless, tasteless, combustion by-products are only carbon dioxide and water. Pump-up a needle-point flame for rims, the wick flame to ignite the filler.

Lighting procedure. Point the foot downward, in the hot gases well above the flame, and lightly toast it for about 5 seconds. Then, level the cigar at the same distance above the flame, and take several long, gentle puffs, rotating it for uniformity.

Remove the cigar from your mouth and blow on the foot, to see that the entire rim is glowing ... if not, touch it up. Then, put the cigar in your mouth and blow through it for 3 seconds to burn off any charred taste. Check it again a couple of minutes later, to make sure it's burning evenly all around.

Most people smoke too rapidly, and generate too much smoke. They miss the subtle flavors, and their cigar only taste like smoke. To test, touch the back of a finger to the barrel, within an honest 1/8" of the burn zone. "Ouch?" You're oversmoking.

Be attentive to your cigar. Its flavor suffers if your attention is diluted by golfing (sorry!), home repairs, office work, intense conversation, or other distractions. Sit comfortably ... preferably indoors, or at least where there's no breeze. Enjoy casual talk with a friend (preferably also smoking), reading, TV or music, especially after a good meal ... it stimulates digestion.

The first puff's enough. Here's the secret to obtaining the best flavor and bouquet from resinous cigars. Wait about 30 seconds after your last puff, to let the coal cool ... the idea is to let it almost die between puffs. Then, take only one small puff ... just enough to get a small, faint cloud of smoke. Notice the flavor, bouquet and nuances ... sweet and delicate, not overwhelming your palate. Now, draw on it again, after 5-10 seconds ... no matter how small the second puff is, you'll taste an edge on it that the first one didn't. That's your objective ... let the coal cool for 30 seconds or so, then take just that one, tiny puff. Don't take one or two puffs first, to "wake up the coal." If it's too cool, do not try to puff it to life ... the cold-tar taste will taint your palate. Blow through it instead (described in next section). If it's too far gone, relight it, blowing through it (see next section).

Discover bouquet. Bouquet is different than aroma, which is what fills a room when you smoke. Bouquet is what you alone smell, when you introduce a tiny bit (of that one tiny puff) into the stream of air you exhale slowly and gently through your nose. You do it by simply moving your tongue up to the roof of your mouth, which pushes the smoke into the air stream. It yields the most delicate nuances ... anything less than a top-quality cigar will betray itself with sharp bite on the delicate nasal tissues.

This little-known technique works magic on a number of burn problems:

Rekindle a weak coal, or prevent sooty taste upon relighting. If still alive, blow briskly through the cigar, which usually gets it going again. Keep blowing until the entire rim is glowing. If totally dead, gently remove the ash. Before putting the cigar in our
mouth, light the rim around its entire periphery. Then, put the cigar in your mouth and blow through the cigar as above, until the entire foot is glowing. Now, you can resume smoking, without drawing the sooty, tarry taste down its length.

Uneven burn. Gently remove the ash. Ensure the coal is glowing, if only weakly. Trying to light it from the outside is futile ... you must rekindle it from the inside outward. Put it in your mouth, but don't draw on it ... you'll taint the tobacco with that sooty, tarry taste. Instead, blow through it until the orange glow encircles the entire wrapper. Resume smoking.

Freshening a cigar's second half. As its flavor turns strong and tarry, blow through it for about 15 seconds. Repeat every few puffs for 4 to 5 seconds, to keep it at its peak between the major treatments.

Try this demonstration. Remove the ash and hold a flame at the foot. Blow through the cigar into the flame, until a yellow tongue of flame emanates from the foot. If the flame can sustain itself, remove the lighter and continue blowing. Note how the flame gets smaller and changes from yellow to blue? Tars caused he yellow flame; the blue flame shows they're burned away.

Shedding Light on Lighting. More smoking experiences are ruined by incorrect lighting than anything else you can do.

Don't char the foot. I have finally given up on microtorch lighters, my favorites for years.. To a large extent, I've given up on butane. Microtorches burn at over 2,000F, and it's virtually impossible to avoid turning the foot into a cinder, and sometimes blistering the wrapper. This charring (carbonization) yields a sharp, bitter taste that permeates the cigar's first 1/4" or more. This sooty taste remains in your mouth, too, further adding to the dictate. If this happens, go immediately to "Superheat the Coal, etc." below, to clean out that taste.

Toast the foot of the cigar lightly ... point it down toward the flame, holding it about 3" above it, and view it from above. The delightful aroma will tell you it's toasted.

Put the cigar in your mouth and hold it about 5" above the flame, pointed down at about 30 .. The heat ,not flame, will ignite the foot. Puff on it gently a few times, turning the cigar in your mouth until the entire face and periphery are lit. The big balls of yellow flame will tell you you're getting it going.

Remove it from your mouth and blow on the foot ... if it's not going all around, repeat the step above, only from a higher distance above the flame ... don't overdo it.

Make sure the entire foot is glowing. Ironically, when your cigar isn't burning across it's entire face and around its periphery, you get much the same taste as when you char it.. To make sure the entire foot is glowing after you light it, blow on its face. Ignite any uncooperative part of the rim as above, or with a non-butane needle-flame alcohol torch.

For home or office, an alcohol flame burns cooler than butane, so is more gentle to your cigar. You can find one at laboratory supply houses, and it consists of a glass bowl with a capped cotton wick. Using denatured alcohol (methanol), it generates only harmless carbon dioxide and water vapor, unlike butane, a hydrocarbon.
  Sip, don't gulp, the smoke. Havanas deliver subtleties in flavor that reward the smoker who takes in small amounts of smoke. They respond to "sipping," rather than "gulping" the smoke.  
  Take one less puff. When you give your cigar those puffs to get the coal going, take one less puff than you're used to ... like the first tip, this generates less smoke, which will give you more delicate flavor.  
  Use your nostrils. When you take a puff, divert just a tiny bit of the smoke out through your nose. You'll note nuances you didn't know existed. Not a stream of smoke ... just the barest hint does the job. Note how it changes as you smoke the cigar down.  
  Don't hold the smoke in your mouth. Instead, try taking a sip and then close down the space between tongue and palate, letting the smoke trickle out ... taking a whiff as it wafts in front of your nose. With these little sips, you don't have to knock the ash off before every purge. You don't, however, want the ash longer than about ", as the blowing and superheating cause the ash to drop sooner than usual.  
  Now it's time for the most important smoking technique I know. It works magic in giving you a sweet smoke, and tames a misbehaving cigar:  
  Superheat the coal, and make sure the cigar is burning all the way around its periphery.
As those flavorful oleoresins are consumed by the coal, they change character ... slowly developing a bitter, tarry taste that collects in the rest of the cigar's tobacco. To prevent or correct this, follow these steps:
  Don't waste butane by trying to light the wrapper, hoping the coal will migrate toward the center ... you have to get the coal going from the center outward.  
  Knock the ash off gently and examine the coal. Is it burning unevenly down one side, or "tunneling" into the filler? Note: the coal must still be glowing, even if only weakly.  
  Put the cigar in your mouth as usual, but don't draw on it, or you'll pull that sooty, tarry taste down the length of the cigar and taint the remaining tobacco. Instead, blow vigorously ... without puffing your cheeks out, which draws stares ... until you see the orange rim of fire around the entire circumference. Slowly turn the cigar as you blow through it ... when you see this orange glow, give the cigar a few seconds to rest, then continue your smoke.  
  Now there aren't any bad-tasting dead spots in the coal, as the tobacco is burning evenly. The superheated coal also has burned off all its built-up soot and tars, which does wonders at sweetening the smoke.  
  Some cigars need attention shortly into the smoke, others after mid-point. Once you've determined how much attention it needs, you'll know how often you need to blow through it to keep the cigar burning evenly all around. Note also how you've sweetened it by this technique. The important thing is to keep making sure the cigar is burning all around.  
  The cigar will load up with tars after a few more puffs ... simply blow through it again. The longer you smoke the cigar, the more often you have to purge it, due to the inevitable build-up of combustion products in the latter stages of the smoke. Somewhere past the cigar's midpoint, you'll notice blowing doesn't do much good ... it's time to put it down.  
  If you get like I do, where my automatic smoking routine is to keep my smoke sweet and delicate, you'll learn to vary your purging with shorter and/or gentler treatment, depending on how the cigar is smoking, how long since the preceding puff, etc. ... maybe a full 15-second purge after a half-dozen 3-5 second purges. By following each purge with just a sip of smoke, you can prolong the delicate flavors much longer.  
  This little-known method also prevents the sooty taste when relighting a cigar. Again, remove the ash and apply the flame. Rotate the cigar as you light it, and concentrate on getting the wrapper going all around. Before puffing on it (for the same reason as above), blow through it, probably for about 20 seconds, to get it going all around.  
  The reasonable price of cigars from Tabacos de la Cordillera encourages you to enjoy the most delicately flavorful first half of two cigars, instead of smoking one to its death ... also distasteful to those around you, because cigars start to smell bad to them before they taste bad to you. As the legendary cigar purveyor Zino Davidoff reportedly said, "A gentleman smokes a cigar only to mid-length, and only a brute smokes it down to a third."  
  Cleanse Your Palate. Credit goes to authority Richard Perelman, from his an informative, updated-daily cigar news site. Rich also publishes "Perelman's Pocket Cyclopedia of Cigars," a periodically updated pocket book that's the industry reference manual. Here's a condensed version of the answer to a smoker's question
(the complete answer is"

Q: "I enjoy smoking cigars, but some cigars leave an aftertaste in my mouth that could last for a day or two. Brushing my teeth and tongue doesn't help much. Is there anything on the market that might get rid of the aftertaste?"

A: Excellent question and one which has confounded smokers for years. My own approach to this problem focuses on eliminating the aftertaste layer by layer.

There is a new product on the market called "Close Call" which debuted at the RTDA and uses a patented process which suspends copper sulfate in liquid. It has a light citrus taste and is reported to be safe to "swish and swallow."

But, no single product or procedure will completely remove the taste of a cigar. By using several steps to successively reduce the amount of cigar residue in the mouth, any remaining taste can be almost totally eliminated. Try a three-step approach:

oCut most of the taste with citric acid
This is extremely important. There's a reason why so many mouthwashes and other products have a lemon, lime or orange taste. It's the citric acid, which overpowers everything else in the mouth. If lemon extract is a key ingredient in engine degreasers, imagine what it can do to the tobacco's oleoresins in your mouth.

Stay away from the weaker citrus drinks such as sodas and go for more acidic tonics. Orange juice is good, but my favorite is the bitter lemon drink mixes, especially Schweppes Bitter Lemon. Their combination of lemon juice and bitter quinine is both sour and refreshing and will cut 80-90% of the taste of anything that was in your mouth.

o Give your mouth something else to chew on
After the citric acid moth rinse, try one of two things:

Cereal. If you're at home, try a couple of handfuls of Rice Krispies straight ... no milk . Any of the Chex cereals ... except Bran Chex ... and Grape Nuts are also excellent.

Cheese. A great choice to chase the cigar taste from the mouth is some hard cheese like sharp cheddar.

o Give your cigar the brush-off
Once you have been citric acidified and cheesed up, you can get out the toothbrush and be sure to brush that tongue. By then you should be cigar taste-free.
  Reprinted with permission from Dale Scott, author of "How to Select and Enjoy Premium Cigars."  


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