View Full Version : Smoking

07-08-2010, 05:18 AM
First off, not a smoker here.

I need to write a scene from the perspective of a cigar smoker, and it's important that he smokes a cigar in the scene.

What sensory details do you experience? To my understanding smokers have a limited sense of smell, but how limited? Does the cigar itself have a strong odor? What kind of taste? What does inhaling smoke feel like to someone that has been doing it for decades?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

07-08-2010, 06:36 AM
Suggest going to a tobacconist and buying a decent cigar. Then smoke it. There's nothing like first-hand experience.

07-08-2010, 06:57 AM
I do plan on buying one and lighting it up to get a sense of the smell. However, to my understanding the smoking experience is different for someone who has been doing it daily for decades, vs. a first timer. Pretty sure I'll hack my lungs out since I can't even stand within 10 feet of a cigarette smoker lighting up. ;)

07-08-2010, 07:11 AM
Hi Canotila - I'll try to give you a little help. I am a long time smoker (but not cigars). First off, I have an excellent sense of smell - and it's not at all limited in the types of smells I notice.

I've always heard that cigar and pipe smokers do not inhale - sort of pull the smoke into their mouths/back of throat and then exhale. I sometimes smoke cigarettes the same way - pull the smoke into my mouth, hold the smoke in my mouth, and then inhale through my nose. I can't really say it's a rush type of feeling (not exactly knowing what that would be like), but it's a good feeling - sort of like inhaling a favorite type of air (like I like air in damp woods right after a rain).

The smell of smoke to others is much different from what a smoker smells. Cigars and pipe tobacco are much more pungent than cigarette smoke. When I was a child my uncle smoked Prince Albert pipe tobacco - the burning tobacco didn't smell quite the same as the tobacco in the can, but both the smells were pleasant and familiar to me. Some cigars have a pleasant smell when they're burning and others (my opinion) smell like burning what's on the floor in a barn - very strong and acrid. Some pipe and cigar tobacco has arromatic ingredients added (even liquers) - one of the ones sold by a local tobacconist smells a lot like very dark rum. But it doesn't smell quite the same when it burns.

I suggest you might want to watch a few old movies that have cigar smokers and see if you can pick up some ideas - everything from biting off the end, to holding the cigar out away from the body and "considering it" (which a lot of cigar smokers fifty years ago did.)

Hope that helps. Puma

07-08-2010, 07:53 AM
I've been a cigar smoker most of my life. I've never inhaled, and my sense of smell is just fine.

People who smoke cigars constantly have a Freudian element - it's as much about having something to put in their mouth, and hold in their hand, as it is the process of smoking.

Personally, I might smoke once or twice a week, and I set aside time in a smoke-friendly location and usually don't have more than two cigars in an evening.

You might want to pick up a copy of Cigar Aficionado, which is written by the same people who produce Wine Spectator. Their descriptions of the nuances of cigar flavors can be very elaborate.

One important thing to consider - smoke isn't hot. Fire is hot. As the cigar gets shorter, the smoky air pulled through it by the smoker gets warmer because it's not as far away from the fire. When the cigar turns bitter or the warmth of the fire gets uncomfortable, it's time to discard the cigar.

Cigar brands come in dozens of different sizes and diameters. A smoker might choose a shorter cigar for a situation where there isn't time to smoke a longer one, but usually they'll stick with the same diameter. The diameter of a cigar is called a "ring gauge," and is in 64ths of an inch.

A 50 ring guage is a fairly stout cigar. At eight inches long it's a Churchill, which would be good for a long afternoon reading or playing golf. At six inches it's a somewhat large Corona, which would be good for after lunch. Five inches or shorter is a Robusto, which would be ideal for a short walk of half an hour or so. Keep in mind that as you pull the smoke through the unburned tobacco, it makes it slightly harsher. Two inches left of a Churchill might be bitter and unpleasant, while two inches of a Robusto might have some life left in it.

I'd be glad to provide whatever information I can if you'd like to send me a private message.

07-08-2010, 08:07 AM
Cigar smokers won't have diminished senses the same way that heavy cigarette smokers do. As a former cigarette smoker, I can attest that my senses of smell and taste were greatly diminished. And I wasn't even that heavy of a smoker (half-pack at most per day over 7~ years). Smell was the most diminished. When I quit, it was like I gained a sixth sense, even though I was merely restoring one of my original five.

And generally, cigar and pipe smoke is not inhaled, as the posters above noted.

07-08-2010, 08:12 AM
A lovely Dom Diego Robusto, nice and smooth and chocolatey almost--tastes better after it's rolled around your palate for a while and excellent with a nice, spicy wine like a Red Zinfandel and a heated argument about politics.

But don't take my word for it. Try a cigar reviewing site. You can find out anything you ever wanted to know about cigars from the cigar afficionado's point of view. http://www.puff.com/Cigar-Reviews/

07-08-2010, 10:09 AM
A lovely Dom Diego Robusto, nice and smooth and chocolatey almost--tastes better after it's rolled around your palate for a while and excellent with a nice, spicy wine like a Red Zinfandel and a heated argument about politics.

Yes, very nice, but compared to a good Cuban it's still El Ropo. Smoking a Cuban after hundreds of cigars from nearly everywhere else was like having sex for the first time after a lifetime of masturbating into a Brillo pad. Get thee out past the twelve mile limit and fire one up. It's amazing.

And I've always inhaled cigars.

07-08-2010, 10:11 AM
When I lived in Key West, I used to occasionally smoke one of the cigars the street rollers sold on Duval Street. I've had Cubans, but I prefer a milder cigar when I have one (which is maybe four times a year and never in the summer) so Dom Diegos suit me just fine.

07-13-2010, 02:48 AM
Smoked both cigars and cigarettes for some years. I quit both in the early 90s. My senses of both smell and taste got gradually better over the first couple of years after quitting.

That out of the way... One thing about cigars is that they tend to represent an investment in time way over what is required by cigarettes. I rarely smoked a cigar during in the daytime, and only when time allowed a leisurely hour or so to sit, or stroll, or read and enjoy the thing.

As mentioned by others, cigars and cigarettes are smoked differently. I know of nobody who inhales cigar smoke, and very few cigarette smokers (unless you count beginners) who do not inhale. This is why a veteran cigarette smoker's first experience with a cigar has a very real danger of involving an up close interview with the tidy bowl man.

Clouds around cigar smokers tend to be thicker. I don't know for sure, but I would attribute this as something having to do with the sheer size of the burning end, or the fact that the cigarette smoker's exhaled portion has been "filtered" somewhat by his lungs. I've seen situations in which cigarette smokers have complained to cigar smokers about personal polution.

One other thing: I would say that a smoker's reek (breath, clothes, and especially hands) is much stronger off a cigar smoker.

07-13-2010, 10:48 PM
One other thing: I would say that a smoker's reek (breath, clothes, and especially hands) is much stronger off a cigar smoker.

If you're comparing Milton Berle to Groucho Marx - that is, someone who's always got a cigar in his mouth compared to a continual cigarette smoker. Someone who's had one cigar is not going to be more repellant than a person who's had an entire pack of cigarettes.

Personally, I've never known a cigar smoker whose clothing and possessions reeked of stale tobacco the way a cigarette smoker's would.

07-13-2010, 10:52 PM
Personally, I'm not sure that discussing the reek of a smoker's clothes, breath or hands has any bearing on this conversation other than to be insulting--whether cigars or cigarettes.

07-13-2010, 10:55 PM
Eww, I remember the first time I tried a cigar....inhaled it...thought my throat was on fire...