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Cigars/Cigar basic question

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QUESTION: Hi, I was wondering if smoking a cigar makes a person feel mellow or buzzed out or what?

I have never smoked a cigar and have been invited to a cigar and wine event. I am not sure what to expect.

Thank you in advance for taking time to answer my question

ANSWER: Hi Helen,

Cigars can indeed make a person sick or "buzzed" so if you are new to cigars and plan to smoke at the event, it's best that you do NOT inhale the cigar smoke.  Cigar sickness (feeling nauseous, weak and lightheaded) commonly occurs when people inhale a large quantity of cigar smoke.  The key to enjoying cigars as a beginner is to take a small puff/draw of smoke, let it linger in your mouth for a second and then slowly blow it back out through your mouth. This will allow you to enjoy the natural aroma of the cigar smoke as well as detect the cigar flavours in your mouth.  (Experienced cigar smokers may inhale if they wish.)

As a general rule of thumb, you should be taking no more than 1-3 puffs per minute.  If you smoke any faster than this, it will cause your cigar to burn too hot and taste too harsh and this will sour your enjoyment (and again, it may make you sick).  Cigars also vary by strength and size so if you're unsure if a cigar is too strong or too large for you, feel free to ask the event staff to help you choose a mild-bodied cigar that is the right size for you.  (Smaller cigars can last 20-30 minutes while larger cigars can last up to 2 hours.)  If you're smoking a cigar and it's a bit too hot/strong, try sipping ice water between puffs.  Ice water will help fight off cigar sickness because it will keep your mouth cool and hydrated and your palate refreshed.

Second-hand smoke is less potent than inhaling cigar smoke directly but it can still be bothersome at cigar events when so many people are smoking at the same time. If you're bothered by the abundance of smoke, don't be afraid to step away for some fresh air.

All cigar tasting events vary so depending on the event organizer and/or sponsor(s), there may be food to sample and music to enjoy. In many cases, the event may provide you with a gift bag of complimentary cigars so you actually don't need to purchase any cigars at the event.  The good news is that cigar smoking is usually not mandatory at these events so if you don't feel comfortable smoking a cigar, you don't have to.  Also, if you're smoking a cigar and it is not enjoyable, you do not need to finish it.

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help.

Regards,
James

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you James for your answer. I never knew cigars could make you feel sick like that.

Do they make you feel mellowed out? Or a type of high like buzz? Wasn't sure what you meant by buzzed out.

Thank you again,
Helen

Answer
Hi Helen,

Cigars are meant to be smoked in a calm, relaxed setting and the aroma of cigar smoke is very smooth and fragrant so yes, you can feel more mellowed out.  A lot of cigar smokers do enjoy cigars with a glass of scotch or wine to unwind and relax.

Cigars won't make you high. When I said "buzzed", I meant that if you inhale the cigar smoke, the type of buzz you get may be nausea or feeling lightheaded.

Yes, cigars can make you sick so as a beginner, it's best that you start with a mild-to-medium bodied cigar. Avoid full-bodied cigars because they start out strong and become even stronger the more you smoke it.  Mild cigars are typically very smooth and creamy so it won't upset your stomach while full-bodied cigars are very robust and rich with flavours.

I hope this helps! As always, if you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help. :)

Regards,
James

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James Yee

Expertise

My main area of expertise is Cuban cigars and I can assist you if you have questions pertaining to Cuban cigars. I can also assist you with the following:

- General cigar-related questions and advice
- Humidor maintenance and troubleshooting (How to treat humidor mold, correct high/low humidity, humidor seasoning, etc.)
- Accessory maintenance and troubleshooting (Cigar cutters, hygrometers, humidifiers, etc.)
- Cigar restoration, preservation and troubleshooting (How to treat cigar mold/tobacco beetles, restoring vintage/dry cigars, etc.)
- Cigar/Brand identification
- Cigar etiquette

Unsure of a certain cigar brand? Wondering what a certain cigar tastes like? Have a question about Cuban cigars? Having problems with a humidor or Just let me know! I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. (NOTE: My main focus is on premium, hand-rolled cigars and not cheap, machine made, convenience store cigars.) IMPORTANT: PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT PROVIDE CIGAR OR CIGAR-RELATED APPRAISALS. If you have a vintage cigar item and you want to know if it's worth something, please contact an antique dealer that specializes in "TOBACCIANA".

Experience

I currently have 19 dedicated years of cigar smoking and counting. I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. For 5 years, I studied with Cuban torcedores (rollers), catadores (taste testers) and revisadores (inspectors) on every aspect involving the production of the Cuban cigar and I am currently writing a book that will help beginners understand everything they need to know about cigars and cigar smoking.

Publications
Maple Leaf Gardens: Memories & Dreams 1931-1999 (1999; ISBN: 0920445616)
50 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do (2006; ISBN: 0452286654)
The [London] Times (October 8, 2009)


Education/Credentials
B.A. University of Toronto

Awards and Honors
Allexperts Top 25 Shortest Average Response Time: 2008-2009
Highest Rank:
- 2008 - 6th Overall, July
- 2009 - 10th Overall, February

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