smoking to slow?

Hey guys I'm new to cigars and today I bought what is about my 5th smoke. I've read the blogs and reviews here and on other sites endlessly for the last 5 days to try and get educated before I start spending. So today I went to Tinderbox in Ahwatukee, AZ and bought 2 Flor de Oliva's (Natural and Maduro, Robustos) and a Gurkha shaggy churchill.  So I cut and lit the maduro tonight, and I'm pretty sure this is the strongest cigar I've tried.  My question is how do  I know if I'm smoking to slow?  The reason I'm curious is because about half way thru the cigar it started tasting much less like a cigar and more like tar and smoke.  I decided I wasn't enjoying it so I put it out and decided to inspect the inside of it.  To smoke half way thru the cigar took me about 35-40 minutes, after I cut it half an inch behind the ash the middle of the tobacco was black.  The out edge of the cigar, my guess is the outer 1/4 inch, was untouched.  I cut back another half inch and it was the same only the the burn area was half the size.  Also by this time the light was almost gone, as in I had to take 3-4 strong puffs to draw any smoke.  I was just wondering if this is normal and/or am I smoking to slow?  Sorry for the lengthy explanation.

Comments

  • HaysHays Costa del Sol, SpainPosts: 2,338 ✭✭✭
    Welcome to the forums bro! Sounds like you're off to a great start. In reference to your question, it could actually be a couple different things...

    ** You may actually be smoking too fast..? The general rule is a puff every 45-60 seconds or so (it's worth it to time yourself a few times - in no time at all, it will become second nature). Smoking much faster than this can overheat the tobacco, which will lead to the harshness and build-up of tar that you experienced.

    ** From the way you described the burn (if I'm understanding correctly), your light may have been off. A popular way to light is to gradually toast the foot of the cigar with your lighter/match/method of ignition, ensuring an even burn around the entire foot. Then holding the flame to the foot for a couple puffs as you puff on the stick. Keeping the burn even as you smoke goes hand-in-hand with the pace, and smoking too fast or too slow will affect the way the stick burns.

    ** Lastly, it really could've just been the stick, and/or the conditions in which it was stored at the shop. I've noticed more than one 'proper tobacconist' that keeps their cigars at 75% humidity or above, and this is a little higher than ideal (especially for maduros). Maduro cigars have a lot of natural oils in the wrapper that characterize the wrapper leaf, and these oils make the cigar smoke differently than a cigar with a different wrapper. Maduro cigars are often best smoked when they've been stored at 65% humidity or below for a length of time, and a maduro cigar that's been stored at 70% or above would definitely exhibit many of the burn issues you had, and would likely be a general pain in the @ss.


    I know it's a lot of information brotha, but given the way you've started, I don't think it'll be long before you'll find yourself head over heels into a world of info you never knew existed. (As corny as it sounds, you remind me exactly of myself when I was first geting started at this time of year last year... been reminiscing a lot about that time lately! lol)
    ¨The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea¨ - Isak Dinesen

    ¨Only two people walk around in this world beardless - boys and women - and I am neither one.¨
  • LasabarLasabar Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭
    Arkias:
    Hey guys I'm new to cigars and today I bought what is about my 5th smoke. I've read the blogs and reviews here and on other sites endlessly for the last 5 days to try and get educated before I start spending. So today I went to Tinderbox in Ahwatukee, AZ and bought 2 Flor de Oliva's (Natural and Maduro, Robustos) and a Gurkha shaggy churchill.  So I cut and lit the maduro tonight, and I'm pretty sure this is the strongest cigar I've tried.  My question is how do  I know if I'm smoking to slow?  The reason I'm curious is because about half way thru the cigar it started tasting much less like a cigar and more like tar and smoke.  I decided I wasn't enjoying it so I put it out and decided to inspect the inside of it.  To smoke half way thru the cigar took me about 35-40 minutes, after I cut it half an inch behind the ash the middle of the tobacco was black.  The out edge of the cigar, my guess is the outer 1/4 inch, was untouched.  I cut back another half inch and it was the same only the the burn area was half the size.  Also by this time the light was almost gone, as in I had to take 3-4 strong puffs to draw any smoke.  I was just wondering if this is normal and/or am I smoking to slow?  Sorry for the lengthy explanation.
    Its normal... But usually means too slow...

    that being said don't worry, we all do it, I would try to puff every 1-3 minutes to keep your smoke lit... Also, you can "Purge" which is blow OUT of the cigar, this puts more oxygen at the ember and essentially re'enlivens the cigar and makes it hot.... You have to let it sit for awhile for it'll be too hot to smoke (again, 1-2 minutes) and that will keep the fun going...
    <also, it could mean the cigar is over-humidified and the put side is too wet to keep lit like the onside, most common with a brick and mortar store purchase and smoking right away
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    I'll try to answer as best I can, but I'm not the most knowledgeable guy here by a long shot

    1) How to know if you're smoking too slow? If the cigar goes out, you're probably smoking too slow. Other than that, each cigar has it's own characteristics, so different cigars like to be smoked at different paces. The only way to know if you're smoking it to slow is if it goes out on you

    2) Cutting a cigar that's tasting bad isn't gonna fix anything. If the cigar is tasting bad, there's a limited number of things you can do:
    a) Purge - that is, blow out until smoke stops coming out the end of the cigar, then resume smoking the cigar normally. This can push out any foul smoke that may be ruining your enjoyment
    b) Throw it out. It may be that you just don't enjoy that particular cigar, or it could be you lucked out and bought a dud. Try smoking a new one later to be sure the first wasn't a dud.

    3) As I said, cutting a cigar and relighting isn't gonna fix anything. In fact, it can make it worse since re-lit cigars, like pipes, typically taste horribly bitter and disgusting (though if you re-light within a few minutes of the cigar going out, you won't experience this very much, if at all)

    4) It's also possible that the cigar turned bitter because you smoked too fast. Generally, you wanna take a draw once every 30 sec to a minute (this is kind of a general rule; you may prefer to smoke quicker or slower - it's your call/personal preference). If you smoke too fast, the oils in the cigar get too hot and can taste bitter/harsh. A cigar isn't like a cigarette - it's meant to be smoked slowly and in a very relaxed manner; rushing a cigar always ends badly.

    Hope this helps

    EDIT - dammit, Hayes and Lasabar - you guys are quick on the draw; everything I just typed is totally redundant!!

  • docbp87docbp87 Posts: 3,521
    Smoking too slowly would mean that the cigar is going out between draws because you are waiting too long between.
  • LasabarLasabar Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭
    AAAAAAND we all answered at the same time! Awesome!!!!
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    ROTFL - well, this is unusual. Guess I'm not the only one with insomnia tonight!
  • LasabarLasabar Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭
    xmacro:
    ROTFL - well, this is unusual. Guess I'm not the only one with insomnia tonight!
    You spent "Alcoholism" wrong......
  • Thanks for the responses.  Just to be clear after I cut the cigar I wasn't relighting it, I only did that to see what was happening inside the cigar.  I definitely think I was smoking a little too slow.  I'll try the Natural cigar tonight and see how it goes.  But the maduro was problematic compared to the RP and Macando's I've tried in the recently. 
  • SchroozSchrooz Posts: 165
    Arkias:
    .....about half way thru the cigar it started tasting much less like a cigar and more like tar and smoke..........
    I am a beginner cigar smoker. I experienced this the other day with the draw having a harsh bitter taste to it as it neared the band. What I did was bite down and squished the end of the cigar flatter and it seemed to take away some of the harshness/heat in the draw...though I did puff more softly than usual. Try a Park Avenue 44...smooth cigar....then use it for comparison.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    Arkias:
    I definitely think I was smoking a little too slow.
    Like we said (all at once, it seems) above, you're smoking too slow if the cigar goes out. Harsh taste doesn't come from kicking back and smoking at your leisure.
  • LasabarLasabar Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭
    Lasabar:
    xmacro:
    ROTFL - well, this is unusual. Guess I'm not the only one with insomnia tonight!
    You spent "Alcoholism" wrong......
    and I spelled "Spelt" wrong, which in itself is not really a word but slang... Oh the conundrums!
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    Lasabar:
    Lasabar:
    xmacro:
    ROTFL - well, this is unusual. Guess I'm not the only one with insomnia tonight!
    You spent "Alcoholism" wrong......
    and I spelled "Spelt" wrong, which in itself is not really a word but slang... Oh the conundrums!
    rotfl! Now go put some Ms. Dash in your humidor and have another round.
  • jship079jship079 Posts: 621
    the black ring is from the cigar burning to hot which also will make the cigar become harsh to quick which is from smoking to fast
  • wwhwangwwhwang Ottawa, ON, CanadaPosts: 2,878 ✭✭✭
    Yeah...I think the original poster of this thread had it backwards. Only times a perfectly humidified cigar would accumulate tons of tar and taste harsh is when it's smoked too quickly or if it's a bum stick. If it was smoked to slowly, it would just keep going out.
  • Ok I smoked the Flor de Oliva Natural tonight. Things didn't go very well.  Obviously I thought I was smoking to slow, but the last two posters think the opposite.  So tonight I was smoking faster than I normally would.  The first half of the cigar was good, I preferred it over the maduro for sure, however, just past the half way mark I was getting the same harsh, smokey taste that was unpleasant.  After I rolled off the ash the 2nd time, the cigar was basically ruined I think.  I tried to draw but couldn't pull any smoke thru.  Instead of cutting the cigar i was just feeling it tonight and at the foot, after i rolled off the ash, the cigar was rock hard for a good half inch, the rest was soft.  I threw it out, but I literally felt sick for the first time since I started trying cigars.
  • The bundle of Flor de Oliva cigars I had took about 4 months in my humidor before they burned and tasted decent. These are really pretty economy smokes IMO. For me they are yard or golf gars, and pretty decent ones at that. I've been having great luck dry boxing my cigars before smoking, they seem to burn better, and I don't have to keep puffing to keep the thing lit. My coolerdor sits at 68 degrees and 70%, and I've got a small humidor that sits at 60%. I'll either leave the cigar in the 60% humidor for a day/few hours, or before I smoke I'll pull out the cigar and let it sit for 30 minutes or so before lighting up. Your local climate may make your results vary.
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 4,629 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Arkias:
    Ok I smoked the Flor de Oliva Natural tonight. Things didn't go very well.  Obviously I thought I was smoking to slow, but the last two posters think the opposite.  So tonight I was smoking faster than I normally would.  The first half of the cigar was good, I preferred it over the maduro for sure, however, just past the half way mark I was getting the same harsh, smokey taste that was unpleasant.  After I rolled off the ash the 2nd time, the cigar was basically ruined I think.  I tried to draw but couldn't pull any smoke thru.  Instead of cutting the cigar i was just feeling it tonight and at the foot, after i rolled off the ash, the cigar was rock hard for a good half inch, the rest was soft.  I threw it out, but I literally felt sick for the first time since I started trying cigars.
    You may just be having a run of bad luck. There are lot's of factors, as you're finding out. The age of the cigar, how it's been handled, especially recently, did it have time to "rest" after being shipped, etc. Also, man-made (hand-rolled) products will always have inconsistencies. I've had a couple of cigars with tight spots that won't fix, hollow spots it the middle, etc. CCOM has replaced a couple of these for me, when there was just no fixing them.

    That being said, there is something to how fast/slow one smokes. I used to say "keep the wrapper burning ahead of the body" when I first started posting, but that seemed to lead to a lot of confusion. Harder to understand when read than when demonstrated. Your cigar should ultimately burn evenly. Your first post here seemed to indicate a concave burn, which always tastes nasty, and could result from improper lighting, or too slow smoking, assuming that there were no other issues (humidity, age, etc.). On the other hand, too fast will lead to a convex burn, a cone or a cherry, if you will. In this case the wrapper is too far ahead of the body, which doesn't taste as bad as the concave, but you're still not going to get those tasty background flavors you hear described, like "cashews", "cream", "chocolate".

    So, each cigar is going to be a little different, but what you are trying to accomplish is an even burn, where the burn seems to spread across smoothly and evenly with each draw, and the wrapper seems to burn back just a millimeter or so past the body. You should be able to ash the cigar at about an inch or more, and have it look almost as though it was cut off cleanly. It takes a little practice, and there will be failures that are your fault, and failures that are just circumstance.

    Find one of Kuzi's posts, and read the links below his icon. Read the blog sections here on lighting, re-lighting, etc. Learn to use your nose, I do this by noting the flavors that rise out of the smoke as I exhale out of my mouth, many do so by partially exhaling from the mouth, then the rest out their nose. (This burns the hell out of MY nose, but, to each his own) Either way, the nose is important to getting the most out of your cigar.

    Lastly, welcome to our world. I think it was Hay's, above, who also encouraged you to keep at it, and he's exactly right. It will come, and if you're one of us you'll find an enjoyment that isn't reproduced by any other experience that I know of, for years. Oh, and please help us keep the politicians (**** bastids) out of our business.
    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    Arkias:
    Obviously I thought I was smoking to slow, but the last two posters think the opposite.  So tonight I was smoking faster than I normally would.
    Some people just never learn.

  • I smoked the cigar before I read your post about smoking to fast xmacro.  I was commenting because it seemed I did the opposite which only made the experience worse than the first cigar.  So you were probably right to begin with but I didn't read it in time.
  • Hi Arkias, Welcome - I'm a new smoker too and I had similar problems as well. I've been experimenting with trying new methods from what I read on this forum. In the last 2-3 sticks, I've really had to pay attention to how often I was puffing and the strength of each puff. I've slowed the pace to a good 60 seconds between puffs and started drawing a lot softer (about 2-4 seconds). This has given me about an inch more of the cigar than what I used to get. Keep trying and things will work out. James
    "There's three parts to making a great cigar. There's the science and the know-how, the experience. There's the art, which is the judgment call, that feel that you know exactly what to do. But there's something else: the inspiration. And I consider that very spiritual."

  • Thanks James.  Tonight I smoked a Gurkha shaggy and I tried only puffing once a minute or less.  I think this along with a better light made a big difference.  The most obvious difference was the cherry when I rolled off the ash on the Gurkha, the cigar was burning evenly.  The other 2 were concaved a half in or so.  Thanks for the encouragement.
  • HaysHays Costa del Sol, SpainPosts: 2,338 ✭✭✭
    Arkias - I'm glad to hear things are turning up for ya bro. Don't worry...like any new hobby, there's gonna be a learning curve. Like I said before, you'll soon find yourself in a world of knowledge that you never knew existed (not to mention, get thoroughly wrapped up in one of the coolest hobbies in the world).
    ¨The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea¨ - Isak Dinesen

    ¨Only two people walk around in this world beardless - boys and women - and I am neither one.¨
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