Why Smoke Slowly?
“Slow smoking” only has upsides and doesn’t require any specific technical skills.
Alban Cordier, member of ADC’s tasting committee
I started writing this article as I lit up a Partagás Shorts; I keep my 50-cigar cedarwood box in the open air in a cool place (I smoke “dry”). It is 10 AM, and I want to share the pleasure of smoking slowly with you. It has many advantages – not least the fact that the pleasure lasts longer – and requires a “technique” that is within everyone’s grasp.
The advantage of “smoking (very) slowly”
- More – and longer-lasting – enjoyment.
It can easily take you an hour and a half to smoke a Shorts, a robusto lasts two hours, and a Churchill four or more. The improved flavor can be explained first and foremost by the low temperature of the smoke when you enjoy your cigar like this. Just as a sorbet is best served ice-cold, champagne at around 10°C, and chocolate at around 18°C, a cigar’s aromas are best appreciated when it doesn’t overheat. The enjoyment also comes from the intimate relationship that this enables you to establish with your cigar by being attentive to its rhythm. The session takes on a whole new dimension: the cigar is not just a consumer product, it is something to be savored.
- It is better for you
The main danger to your health comes from the temperature of the smoke; your mouth cells are more exposed if the smoke overheats. If you are a “chain smoker”, smoking slowly will also mean you automatically smoke less.
- More bang for your buck
You don’t need to be a genius to work out that the longer the experience, the better the pleasure-to-price ratio. If you still need more reasons, tell yourself that €10 or €15 for a smoke that lasts anything between two and four hours makes your favorite hobby quite affordable in terms of the cost per hour.
How to do it
The “technique” is simple and doesn’t require any particular effort. The only precaution you need to take is to ensure that your cigars aren’t too humid. Personally, I keep them in a box or in an open-air humidor, far from any heat source (see also ADC #128).
For the rest:
- In his book, “The Connoisseur’s Book of the Cigar”, Zino Davidoff already recommended not taking your cigar to your lips more than once a minute.
- Also very important: remember to blow air through the body of the cigar for a few seconds before every puff. This sort of “mini-purge” expels any residual gas that can accumulate in the cigar (see also ADC #125).
- Only take one or two puffs each time you put the cigar to your lips.
- Retrohale at least part of the smoke through your nose very regularly to really experience the smoke and sense the flavors more intensely.
- Wait at least a minute before starting the process over, and pay attention to the temperature of your cigar, which should never feel hot. If it does, then wait longer between puffs.
I am reaching the end of my article now, and I am also finishing my Partagás Shorts – which didn’t go out once. It’s 12:15 PM. Proof by example…
Enjoy yourself; get used to smoking slowly, but a word of warning – slow smoking shouldn’t be a competition, but rather a way to maximize your smoking enjoyment.
Photo : Luc Monnet