God's honest truth, I didn't want to write about this, but I literally can't take it anymore. If I see one more guy violate his cigar with a blow torch I might flip out. In this rant - I mean post- I will discuss how to light a cigar properly and what tool to use.
First the science! Whatever fuel source you decide to use to light your vitola on fire, know this; the greatest amount of heat is located roughly 1” above the flame. You are not welding a new fender here, you are lighting a cigar. The hottest part of the flame is not inside the lighter! Stop raping your cigars foot with the lighter! You are destroying much of the flavor by doing it this way. I mean you might as well save your pennies and just lick an ashtray because it's basically the same flavor. When you burn tobacco (or anything for that matter) there is a build-up of carbon, (that pretty black stuff)and carbon tastes yucky. By sodomizing your cigar with a lighter, you create large amounts of carbon (a blackened color that is all of the bottoms of the cigars wrapper Post lighting). The char is then drawn through the entire length of the cigar with every puff. Cigar = Ruined.
The best method for lighting and retaining the flavor is to gently roll the cigar back in forth in your fingers while toasting the foot. This will toast the foot evenly, ensuring when you draw on the cigar, drawing heat (not flame) onto the foot of the cigar you get a nice even light without “burning” or charring. There is much debate as to the best tool to light a cigar with. Below I have listed all rational methods with pros and cons. You can make your own determination, feel free to leave comments, I like to hear what other people do as well!
Zippo Lighters: If you are going to use this lighter it is only to be used on cigars that cost less then $1 because clearly, you hate cigars and your taste buds. Zippo lighters will destroy a cigar as you draw up unburnt fuel through the hydroscopic cigar. My advice, Don't do it! If I catch you doing it, I will take your lighter and cigar and send you to your room like the child you are.
Torch lighters: These lighters come in so many different brands and formats from a single flame to as many as 4 flames. This is a clean fuel with a super hot flame. The major benefit to this lighter is that the flame or heat point is very accurate. Because the flame is under pressure it works well in many different environments and is the preferred weapon of choice for most aficionados. Check out some examples from our friends at Pipes and Cigars. There are two main draw backs here. First, these lighters tend to be pretty high maintenance. Requiring cleaning, adjusting and “burping” from time to time. The other, the flame burns so much hotter, you can more easily burn your cigar during the lighting process.
DJeep, Bic, and other butane based flint lighters are fine to use in a pinch. The fuel shouldn't spoil your cigar, the flame can be difficult to adjust as it is not under pressure and can wander a bit. Also, this flame is not nearly as hot compared to the torch lighters and thus can take a bit longer to light your viola. Good news if you lose this lighter they are cheap and easy to come by especially at Amazon.com.
Matches: Ahhh matches, the great debate rages on. The paper version are unacceptable unless you are homeless and in which case you shouldn't be smoking a Davidoff... Wooden matches can be used with one hard rule. Once you strike the match, allow time for the sulfur and other chemicals to burn off before lighting the cigar. While this is not a perfect method, the last thing you want is to draw a bunch of sulfur up through that stogie.
Cedar Strips: Connoisseurs choice or tool of the douchebag? Both actually… Let me explain, while they are the purest way to light your cigar they are also a total Pain in the arse! The flame burns unevenly across the cedar making it difficult, if not impossible to control temperature and direction. The ash of the cedar spill is a mess, often leaving long wisps of white ash all over the place. Hardly a gentlemanly pursuit! So, the compromise I make is this, if I am smoking something really special in my Man-Cave then I reserve the right to use a cedar spill. However, outside of the sanctuary, I stick with my trusty S.T Dupont torch or flint lighters.