CUT AND LIGHTTo properly cut a cigar, first you must identify the cap of the cigar. The cap is placed at the end of the cigar that you would put into your mouth. It is the “finished” end of the cigar and is identified with a defined line in the wrapper where the cap meets the body of the cigar. You only want to remove enough of the cap to allow for an easy draw through the tobaccos that fill the cigar. You can use several methods to cut the cigar – biting the cigar, cutting with a traditional single or double blade cutter, or using a punch. Whatever method you choose to cut the cigar, make sure to leave about 3 mm of the cap so that you can avoid tearing the wrapper. Try cutting in one swift motion in order to achieve a smooth cut.
Once you’ve cut your cigar you’re ready to light it! It is important to remember to use an odorless flame to light your cigar. Wooden matches and torch or butane lighters are your best options for this. To avoid the taste of sulfur from lighting your cigar, make sure to wait until the head of your match is burned down. Holding the cigar between your thumb and forefinger, you will begin to toast your foot. Toasting the foot of the cigar prepare your cigar to be lit. It decreases the amount of moisture that the cigar is holding at the end and dries the tobaccos. Gently rotate the cigar so that the foot toasts evenly. Next, simply place the cigar into your mouth once it has begun to produce the initial smoke. At this time you can begin to puff on your cigar and continue to rotate it so that it lights evenly. There is no need to hold the cigar directly to the flame. As you draw breath in during the lighting process, the flame will naturally draw into the cigar. When you believe your cigar is properly lit, you can blow gently on the foot and the entire area will glow.
CIGAR ENVIRONMENTOnce you have received your new humidor, DO NOT put cigars directly inside. If your humidor has not been seasoned, then the wood will actually absorb moisture from the cigars and quickly dry them out. This effect is the direct opposite purpose of the humidor itself. The wood needs to be humidified, or seasoned, before the box is ready to hold cigars. To maintain good quality, cigars must be kept in a properly humidified environment. The appropriate atmosphere inside a humidor is a temperature of 70º Fahrenheit and between 70-75% Relative Humidity. Cigars may be subject to swelling or cracking when exposed to large or rapid temperature and/or humidity fluctuations. Please keep your humidor as far away from a radiator, heating vent, or sunny window as possible.
Seasoning Your HumidorBefore you begin storing any cigars, you must season a new humidor. This is also true for an old humidor that hasn’t been used in a while. To season a humidor, you will need two essential items: distilled water and a sponge or cloth. Use only distilled water, as minerals contained in tap water will affect the wood of the humidor itself. Please make sure your clean sponge or cloth is unscented and free of soap. Also, try to avoid using a paper towel because it will leave paper fibers on the wood.
Start by generously dampening a clean sponge or cloth with distilled water. Then, wipe down all exposed cedar wood inside of the humidor, including the interior lid, tray, and dividers. To prevent warping, carefully place the wet sponge or cloth on top of a plastic bag and place inside the humidor. The plastic bag will thus create a barrier so there is no direct contact with the wood.
Next, you need to prepare your humidification device. Once the humidification device is filled, be sure to wipe it down to remove all the excess water. With the humidification device and damp sponge inside, close the humidor and let it sit overnight. The next day, refresh the humidification device, check the sponge, and repeat the wipe down procedure using distilled water. Do not leave the sponge inside this time. Wait another 24 hours.
After the second treatment, the walls of the humidor should have now absorbed all the water they need. It should be safe to use the humidor as long as you cannot feel any dampness on the cedar. If so, then wait an additional day before storing your cigars.
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