Like any hobby, there’s an entire culture around cigars. It can be overwhelming for newcomers who might not have the proper context. More than just knowing how to smoke, you need to be able to talk about what you’re smoking. It’s a major part of cigar culture. Whether you’re at a formal cigar lounge or hanging out on the back porch with your stogie loving friends, it’s inevitable that the cigars you’re smoking are going to come up in conversation.
Being able to talk about cigars is just half the battle – it’s the only part of this world where you don’t want to be “blowing smoke.” Keep these core ideas in mind when you’re talking shop and you’ll be able to keep up with the most experienced smokers.
Know Your Cigar Terminology
Do you know what a stogie is? Can you identify the head, cap, band, body, and foot? Talking about cigars can feel like learning a whole new language, ranging from key terms to more obscure descriptors. Knowing all the terms will take time. But to begin with, you can get by with having in-depth understanding of key terms, particularly around the elements of a cigar itself. You should know all about the filler (the tobacco at the center of the cigar), binder (the inner wrapping that holds the tobacco together), and wrapper (the leaf that wraps around the outside of the cigar).
If you do want to expand your knowledge further, sites like Stogie Fresh offer great glossaries that outline nearly every term imaginable. But oftentimes the best way to learn is to talk with experienced cigar smokers and ask them questions. Did someone just throw out the word “plume” in conversation and you’re not sure what the hell they’re talking about? Just ask! What gets annoying to other smokers are new smokers who aren’t actively trying to learn or seem ambivalent to the culture of smoking. They’ll appreciate your thirst for knowledge and help you along the way/
Know Your Cigar History
One of the joys of smoking cigars is being a part of the rich history that comes with it. When you pick up a Davidoff or Alec Bradley cigar, you’re not just buying a name brand product. You’re smoking a legacy that sometimes can span over a century. The more you know about the cigar, the better your experience will be. Are they manufactured in the Dominican Republic or Honduras? After a while you’ll be able to tell some of the differences in flavors and develop a preference. These are great conversation starters when you’re smoking with a group. Oftentimes smokers will assume you know the ins-and-outs of your cigar. Do a little bit of research before you smoke. Your tastebuds will thank you and your smoker friends will be excited to engage with you.
Know Your Cigar Etiquette
We’ve emphasized in the past the things you don’t want to do when you’re smoking cigars, which is great for making sure you don’t embarrass yourself. That carries over with talking about cigars as well. If you can speak breathlessly about the robust flavor about the wrapper, but then you stub out your cigar in an ashtray… you’ve just lost a ton of respectability. Cigar smoking is very ritualistic for most smokers. Be respectful of that and it will inform the flow of conversation.
It takes time to learn how to talk about cigars like a pro. However, if you keep these core ideas in check you’ll get there in no time. One of the best ways to learn is also to keep smoking! The more experiences you have, the more insight you’ll be able to add and more context you’ll have for all these terms. Check out our daily deals for some great cigars to try out and help build your cigar vocabulary.