Cigar 101: Cigar Lounge Etiquette
The cigar lounge is a sacred place for relaxation, to kick back and relax whilst savouring fine cigars. It’s for meeting other, like-minded people, enjoying pleasant conversations and taking a step back from our otherwise busy, jam-packed lives for some self-reflection.
Like anywhere, a cigar lounge comes with its own set of essential rules for how to properly conduct oneself in an appropriate fashion. For newcomers to this world, this might seem like a daunting experience. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts to follow when you step foot in a smoking lounge.
Cigar Lounge Etiquette: The Don’ts
Don’t Blow Smoke in Someone’s Face
Whilst you will be enjoying yourself and your cigar, you should always be aware that there are other patrons around you whilst you’re smoking. It might be normal to be surrounded by smoke in a cigar lounge, but it is never acceptable to be consistently blowing smoke in someone else’s face. If the way the space is arranged makes it unavoidable to stop cigar smoke from blowing around, go out of your way to blow the smoke in a different direction away from others.
Don’t Ask to Try Someone’s Cigar
A cigar is a personal experience; once someone has lit up, that cigar is theirs to enjoy from beginning to end. You should never ask to try someone else’s cigar. If you’re curious about another’s cigar, simply invite them to describe the taste to you, or ask a shop assistant about that particular cigar. Should the cigar take your fancy, you can buy one for yourself.
Don’t Be a Mooch
Asking others for a smoke in a cigar lounge, whether they’re your friends or not, is poor form. Most people have no problem sharing their cutter or lighter, but asking others for cigars is not appropriate cigar lounge etiquette. You should always make sure you have a plentiful supply of cigars to sample yourself.
Don’t Bring Your Own Cigars
In the same vein that it would be unacceptable to go to a bar and only take swigs from a flask in your pocket, or head out to a restaurant and pull out a box of homecooked food, cigars sampled in a cigar lounge should be ones purchased from the store attached. Bringing in cigars from a competitor’s shop is not appropriate.
Don’t Smash Out Your Cigar in The Ashtray
When your cigar is finished, it should be placed in the ashtray to go out on its own, it’s the respectful way to end a cigar. Stubbing the cigar out in the ashtray is an amateur mistake, it will only make a mess and cause the cigar to emit the unwanted and pronounced aroma of smashed out tobacco.
Don’t Judge Other’s Taste in Cigars
As with anything in life – whiskey, literature, cars – preference is subjective. What one person loves and enjoys, another may find reprehensible. When selecting a cigar, one does so with their own tastes and preferences in mind. In this vein, it is not appropriate to pass judgement on another’s choice of smoke if it is not to your particular taste. Making unsolicited comments on another’s choice of cigar is just bad manners.
Cigar Lounge Etiquette: The Do’s
Do Cut and Light the Cigar Correctly
A lousy cut may damage a cigar and cause it to burn unevenly; you should always cut a cigar on the end cap that closes the cigar. The three most common cuts are the straight cut, punch cut and v-cut.
Lighting is also essential to get right, as doing it the correct way avoids issues such as an uneven burn. Use only a lighter, matches or a cedar spill, never light a cigar with a candle as the aroma particles may ruin it. Start by toasting the foot of the cigar while you rotate it evenly, this ignites the outer layers of the tobacco that hold the cigar together. Don’t place the cigar directly in the flame, keep it above and near the flame. Place the cigar in your mouth to ignite the filler by taking the first puff.
Finally, if you’ve borrowed someone else’s cutter or lighter, ensure you return them promptly.
Do Clean Up After Yourself
Be cautious of spilling ash on the floor or furniture, this goes for coffee and tea, too. If you do cause any mess, ensure you clean it up yourself. The people working in the shop have enough to contend with without having to clean up after guests.
Do Welcome Newcomers
If you’re a regular at the shop and you see a new face, ensure you offer them a friendly greeting and welcome them in. It could be their first visit to a smoking lounge, and you should always make sure you make a good first impression and help them feel more comfortable.
Do Ask Politely to Join a Group of Strangers
There might be a group of friends in the lounge, or perhaps a business meeting. Whilst many visitors like to engage in polite conversation with strangers and meet new people, others may not want to. You won’t know until you ask, so don’t be afraid to see if someone wishes to make your acquaintance – just be polite and know when to leave them be.
Do Relax and Enjoy Yourself
A cigar lounge is a place to escape the problems of the world, kick back and enjoy a delectable smoke. You’re there to enjoy yourself and appreciate fine cigars, so just relax and enjoy your time there.
At JJ Fox, our sampling lounge is one of the few places in London where you can enjoy a smoke indoors. It is situated on the first floor of our store on St James Street. If you’re looking for a cigar shop in London and a place to enjoy a relaxing smoke, come down and see us. Our experts would be more than happy to make recommendations.