To many men, there is nothing sexier than a woman with a cigar.
And, while women certainly can attest to their powers of seduction — stogie or not — a growing number are puffing now and then for a completely different reason: taste!
“Much like a fine wine, cigars are something to be enjoyed and savored,” says Brad Berko of the Scottsdale Cigar Club, which is among the most beloved and most uniquely stocked retail cigar stores in Arizona, focusing on popular hand-rolled tobacco brands. The Club offers anyone who comes in a free membership that includes the use of the best and largest cigar lounge in town with eight large-screen televisions and more.
Berko has certainly noticed an uptick in female members in recent years — as well as a rise in female clients in general. Given this rise in popularity among women, Berko often finds himself teaching newbies the intricacies of the world of cigars.
As such, he sat down with us to provide some helpful cigar tips to both men and women.
How to cut
“There are two parts of a cigar: the head (closed part) and the foot (open part),” Berko says. “When cutting the cigar, you always want to make sure you cut the head a 16th of an inch.”
The more you cut the bigger draw or bowl of smoke into your mouth.
Types of cuts
“The standard cut is called a ‘Double guillotine,’ which slices the sides,” Berko says. “Then there is a ‘Bullet’ or ‘Punch Cut,’ where you press in and pull out the tobacco.”
The final cut is a “V Slice,” which cuts a slice into the cigar.
Lighting a cigar
“First you need to know how to light a cigar,” Berko says. “Start by lighting the foot of the cigar and turning it dark. This process is called toasting.”
Next, put it in your mouth, light the cigar and draw on it until you have an orange ember. This indicates that it’s lit. The proper way to smoke a cigar is to draw in a small amount of smoke and hold it in your mouth until you get the flavor. Then blow it out.
“Never inhale the smoke,” warns Berko.
Cigars are not cigarettes
Unlike a cigarette, cigars have no chemical ingredients.
“As such, if you leave the cigar in the ashtray, within three to five minutes it will put out itself,” Berko says. “Stamping out the cigar will create more of a mess.”
Savor now and later
Also unlike cigarettes, cigars can last weeks even after the initial lighting.
“The best way to store cigars is in a humidor, which keeps the cigar fresh,” Berko says. “You do not want to store your cigars in a refrigerator or cigar box. Unless you have a humidor, you will want to smoke the cigar within a week or so after purchasing the cigar.”
Plan a “tasting”
Just like with wine, it is important to keep in mind everyone has a different preferences and palettes when it comes to cigars.
Therefore, Berko always recommends cigar sampling — just as one would with a wine tasting.
A best bet for supreme sampling?
“Why not join celebrities and Valley leaders at the Bogies & Stogies Cigar Dinner at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort on February 7, where we will be sampling dozens of cigar ‘varietals’ while enjoying a lux dinner and auction to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale,” Berko suggests.
And the fun doesn’t stop there.
Rodney Strong Wines, Belvedere Vodka and Glenmorangie Whiskey have all signed onto the event as perfect pairings with the food and cigar menu.
“Lighter cigars mix perfectly with wines, while full-bodied cigars are known for their ability to pair perfectly with vodka and whiskey — brandyn too,” Berko says. “Especially the high-end, quality brands this event has been lucky enough to secure.”
Among the biggest fans of the pairing, local celebrities who’ve helped to make Bogies & Stogies into one of the best cigar events of the year with their support.