Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lighting a Cigar with a Zippo

By Dave Sabot

Some cigar smokers enjoy nothing more than getting out on the water, in the woods or to the campground and lighting up their favorite brand of cigar. Being outside, there are no concerns about the aroma and one is free to puff to their heart's content. Of course, lighting a cigar is a particularly intricate affair and doing it incorrectly can ruin a fine smoking session. There are several ways in which one may overcome this though some of them carry some concerns about influencing the taste of the cigar in a negative way.

Lighter fluid burns with a distinctive smell. It has an oily consistency which makes it highly-prized for its being able to burn in even very windy conditions. Lighter fluid has a taste which is detectable by some individuals and not at all detectable by others. Different fluids are said to affect this characteristic, as well. Whether or not this is true is entirely up to the individual to decide. Some cigar smokers would not for a minute consider giving up their prized Zippo; others would hesitate to light a fine cigar with anything other than a wooden match or a cedar strip.

Butane lighters are another popular choice. When these lighters came out, they were almost universally cheap and disposable. Today, there are lighters that use butane for fuel that are of as high a quality as any fluid-filled lighter. Many of them are windproof, offering some stiff competition to fluid-filled lighters in that regard, as well. While this may be a concern when out in the elements, however, most cigar smoking is done in much less-extreme conditions and most choices in lighting devices are made according to taste more than they are according to concerns regarding their ability to function in trying conditions.

Fluid-filled lighters are still very popular and, because many are given away to mark special occasions, many individuals have a nostalgic attachment to them. There are several brands of lighter fluid available which are formulated to eliminate the chemical taste. Even if a lighter fluid does give this taste, it is usually only for the first few puffs and it dissipates quickly.

Cigars are a very personal thing. If one wishes to use their Zippo then, by all means, they should do so. While some smokers may wince at the sight, a cigar is meant to be enjoyed in a way that offers the best experience possible and, given some people's attachment to their Zippos, there is no reason that they should feel that using those lighters is out of bounds when enjoying a fine cigar.

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