What do you use to light your cigar with?

Cigar conversation.

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Count Silvio
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Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:59 am

I decided to make this thread here to have some conversation here in the Humidor. What is your preferred method of lighting a cigar and why? Below are some methods I've used to light my cigar:

Normal matches - Very difficult to light a cigar with normal matches because they burn out very quickly and if you're outside the sligthest blow of wind can blow it out. When using a normal match you should wait for a while for the sulfur to burn out before lighting your cigar. Sulfur can affect the taste of the cigar. (There are sulfur free matches available)

Long matches - Better for lighting a cigar than normal matches. With long matches I recommend using the 'Three match lighting techniques'. The first step is not to cut the head of the cigar. This is because the air will flow through the cigar if the head is cut and the potentially bad flavours from the matches will go with the air and can affect the taste of the cigar.

Light the first match and put it under the foot of the cigar and rotate the cigar over the tip of the flame. Do the same with the second match after the first match is finished while making sure that the foot of the cigar is exposed to the flame evenly.

Finally with the third match, concentrate the flame in the middle of the cigar and when this match is finished, blow some air on the end of the cigar you were lighting and cut the head off. If you've done it properly the cigar should be well lit.

This is a time consuming way to light the cigar but according to some aficionados it is the only way to light a good cigar. (Sulfur free matches are available)

Zippo - This is definitely not a good way to light the cigar as this is a fuel based lighter. Even when you light the zippo you can smell some fuel briefly, what do you think it will do to your cigar? On top of that the Zippo will soon become very hot, even too hot to be held in your hand.

Torch lighter - This is probably the most commonly used lighter when lighting a cigar. The flame is cleaner than that of the normal lighters because it uses butane, Zippos and matches and will quickly light your cigar. You should keep the tip of the flame some distance away from the cigar but so that you can see it lighting. Simultaneously you should rotate the cigar to ensure it is evenly lit. This is my preferred method of lighting a cigar. What is yours?

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MJL
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Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:20 pm

Interesting post. Although I agree the torch lighters are best I have used all sorts of things to light my stogies over the years. I am partial to making a match from the little sheets of Spanish Cedar you find in better boxes of cigars. These impart a very nice little start to the cigar. I have so many problems with my butane cigar torches that I find they do not last long with me. I don't know what it is; cheap manufacture or abuse by myself but I tend not to get too much out of them. I would add that candles can do a number on a cigar as can kerosene lamps. Both will tend to impart some funky and lasting flavors to the cigar.
Last edited by MJL on Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Count Silvio
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Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:12 am

I'm the occasional smoker myself so the butane torches that I've used have lasted, though the ones they give at certain bars are always empty and I end up having to use a million matches. Good point about the candles and kerosene lamps!

I've not tried the cedar strips myself yet but might have to give it a go. Romeo Y Julietas (in tubes) comes with these strips.
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Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:19 am

I found out about the kerosene and candles while sweating out the no-electric nights after hurricanes in the past.....ugh.

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Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:39 pm

Two years later and with more reflection I think the lighting of a cigar, within limitations (no zippos, or liquid petroleum based fuels) is less important than the cutting in getting a good smoke. A well stored cigar will actually rather quickly (within a few minutes) even out the ash if lit in only one tiny spot. To be frank cheap butane lighters, like BICs will do the trick. Cheapo BICs will not be as nice as a good torch but I tend to break lighters quickly so I am not sure the money I have spent on decent lighters would not have been better spent on more cigars and cheap lighters.
Last edited by MJL on Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pieter
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Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:59 pm

When I started with longfillers, about 2 years ago, I bought a Xikar jetflame
http://www.xikar.com/images/product/590t.jpg
It worked fine, but I had to respray it because of the damage it had. ( keys in the same pocket)

2 months ago I got a very nice lighter, for free :)
it stopped working, and if I was able to fix it, I could keep it.
So i took the lighter apart and replaced the piëzo with one from an el cheapo bic lighter.
The result was a nice flame and a new lighter :)
http://www.prometheuskkp.com/images/lig ... mox2-1.jpg

MJL
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Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:07 pm

Pieter,

I picked up a Xikar lighter as a reward to myself for completing the writing of a paper on the Great Depression. I was at the wonderful tobacconist in Key Largo talking about lighters when I decided to take the leap. They are a great bargain and are wonderful lighters....haven't broken it yet.

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Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:45 pm

While I prefer small, wooden kitchen matches (usually two-to-a-lighting), I've also found long, wooden fireplace matches to work well. With proper angling of the flame, they'll burn as long as necessary and you usually have enough of the matchstick left for multiple reuses. You can light a "virgin" match, of course, on the usually-supplied striker but some fireplace matches don't come with strikers and they must be lit from another flame source. I've lit these matchsticks, both new and used, with a Bic-style lighter and never have had any noticeable fuel-taste imparted to the cigar.
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MJL
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Sun May 22, 2011 12:44 pm

I like the strike-anywhere matches to light cigars. I use them to light pipes as lighters tend to burn the rim. On the other hand much of my cigar smoking these days seems to go while driving home from work or university. With the windows open, even in the parking lot, it is almost impossible to use a match to light a cigar. Thus, I keep a supply of cheap Bic lighters and they do the trick. No matter what I find the torch style lighters tend to last less than a year so I cannot justify the price of them. The Xikar lighter has made the cut and is still working but gets less use as I tend to use the disposable Bics more often.

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