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For those of you who take a few puffs of the cigar before lighting, which is almost all of us, what are you looking for other than construction? More importantly, what are you NOT looking for? Does a predraw flavor often indicate the flavor of the cigar when lit? 

For me, I’ve noticed cigars that give off a very delicious chocolately predraw tend to taste bland when lit. All show no go. I’ve noticed more peppery or spicy cigars tend to smoke sweeter when lit. Just my two cents... what’s yours?

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Good question. Not sure if it's anything other than curiosity. For me it's about 50/50 if cigar when lit will have the predraw flavour. But I'm testing for draw anyways so...

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I take a few pre-light puffs, mostly to check draw, as I rarely get much flavor indication this way. I tend to pay more attention to the correlation between the pre-light aroma (nosing the stick) and flavors/smells once lit. Generally, the more pungent the stick, the better the flavors are.

I’m not really privy to the science behind this, but I’ve noticed olfactory input is really what allows taste to happen. Try holding your nose while drinking orange juice - can’t taste a thing. It’s the same with cigars for me - the aroma is everything.

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@PuroDiario thanks for that article. I’ll give it a try on one of my regular smokes and see if there’s a difference. I just started paying more attention to lighting my cigar. Before I was roasting the whole cigar then taking a puff with the flame in front. Now I’m strictly toasting the cigar with no puff from the flame. I’ve noticed a difference there. Now I’ll try not cutting. 

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@Bri Fi at the end of the day it’s all about personal enjoyment, and some times or most of the times the joy is in everything around the cigar smoking experience more than the smoking itself...let me know what you think.

below is a video of Jose Colmena, who used to be the Director of Education for Altadis showing his take on how to light a cigar in Pasión Habanos club in Madrid 😉

https://youtu.be/Kvpau6PxMms

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Interesting question.  I always inspect the wrapper and nose test / smell the cigar before cutting it.  Then I take a few draws on a CC to test the taste and resistance.  For small RG's I use a straight cut but try to snip off only a portion of the thin cap.  For coronas and larger sizes I start with a punch, then move up to a V-cut, then straight-cut if I need more surface area to improve the draw. 

 I've had a few CC's that I sometimes wonder if I should even light because they smell so good and taste so good on the pre-light cold draw (CD).  🤣 From my tasting notes I almost always prefer CC's that give off a stronger smell / flavor on CD than the ones that have a lighter smell / flavor.  Any time I get any sort of sweetness - it's likely to be a great cigar.  Chocolate or Cocoa on the CD has not indicated to me a bland cigar.  I've had some high-point CC's that have gotten cocoa on the CD - Monte PE, Boli PC, Aging Room Quattro, even a RGPC.  Occasionally, it appears from my notes, that if I get almost nothing or a light gingerbread it may end up being a one-dimensional / bland CC.

From memory -- The only smell / flavor that I worry about on the CD is when I get only hay / grass or any back of the tongue, bitter ammonia from a young cigar.  Then I worry about it's moisture content and whether I'll be able to keep it lit.  Also, that grass flavor is one of my least favorite taste's so that may unduly influence me to the CC's performance before I even get it lit.

I'll pay more attention to the pre-light routine smells / flavors and see if I come-up with any patterns.  Good question .... and nicely, requires much more research and thusly, more CC's to test.

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I don’t do anything with pre-light taste - just check draw....but I will take out a few from my 58 degree ready to smoke humidor and pick the one that smells best....I’ve found that for Medio Siglo at least great smell usually equals great taste once I light up....

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I've experienced no dependable correlation between pre-light aroma and actual cigar taste.  With deference to @PigFish there are some cigars that I like to give plenty of pre-light time in my "gob" because they taste and smell so good unlit. 😁  I really do enjoy the surprises of cigars that smell one way prior to lighting and taste completely different while smoking.  The BRC is one of my favorite examples since it smells basically like nothing special pre-light and then smacks with flavor after lighting it.

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On 12/4/2020 at 7:16 PM, PuroDiario said:

I don’t always cut my cigar before lighting it also...not too fussed about it, but it changes a lot the experience in that first third indeed. In my family some people do and some people dont. It depends on my mood for me. Some background:

 

http://www.cigarinspector.com/cigar-tips/lighting-a-cigar-the-method-of-jacques-puisias/

Interesting. I’ve done that on occasion without thinking, blew on the foot etc, then when I went to puff noticed I forgot to cut the cigar. Coincidentally (or not) those cigars tastes great.

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