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How to Cut & Smoke

ItalianSmokes Guide on How To Cut and Smoke Toscano Cigars

Smoking a Toscano cigar is a ritual. Every phase, before and during the smoke, is an enjoyable experience. The first thing you notice about a Toscano is its aroma. When you remove the wrapper, an intense yet delicate aroma captures you. You do not have to light a Toscano in order to enjoy it. If you smell the cigar, you will discover that a Toscano cigar has a exquisite scent even when unlit.

When you remove an Intero Toscano cigar from its package, cut both ends of the cigar by approximately 1/16 of an inch. This allows for increased flow throughout the cigar, making it easier and more pleasurable to smoke. The true Italian method of cutting a Toscano cigar is to use a cigar cutter because it prevents the cigar from splintering, with resultant undesirable fragments of tobacco. A perfect cut is the necessary condition for even burning properties.

A very frequent question asked is whether a Toscano cigar should be smoked whole (Intero) or halved (Ammezzato). In Italy, it is a culture to cut and smoke a Toscano cigar in halves, but there are also those who enjoy smoking it whole. Both ways offer unique experiences with different flavors and aromas. The act of smoking must be unhurried: do not draw on the cigar too strongly or too frequently as this would cause the cigar to become too hot.

Intero

In Italian, Intero means whole. Smoking it whole, in the "Maremmana" or Cowboy style is a Tuscan tradition born partly because cutting a cigar while riding is not exactly convenient, and partly out of the need to kill time during long rides.

Savoring it whole enhances the quality of its flavor, which is smoother when the cigar is lit, becoming gradually fuller-bodied up to the bulge, where it reaches its maximum flavour.

In this way one is able to perceive the complexity of the flavor of the tobacco as it gradually takes shape. By doubling the length of this journey, the characteristics of this flavor are enhanced, while at the same time giving the smoke the chance to cool.

Ammezzato

Ammezzato in Italian means halved. When you cut a Toscano directly down the middle, you have two short cigars to smoke. Smoking a Toscano in the Ammezzato style changes the dynamic of the cigar itself: you start immediately with an intense smoking experience.

The burn rate for an Ammezzato Toscano is faster than an Intero Toscano. Smoking the Ammezzato style has been described as a very John Wayne style of smoking a Toscano, and it is perfect if you have less time for a smoke or simply prefer a more potent smoking experience.

The Toscanello range of cigars is half the size of the Intero Toscano cigar. Due to their size and the process by which they are crafted, Toscanello cigars do not need to be cut.

Lighting up a Toscano Cigar

The right way to light the cigar is to use a traditional wooden match, taking care to wait until its sulfur tip has burnt away, or with a butane lighter. Wax matches are not recommended because of the wax which risks contaminating the inner part of the cigar; neither are candles for the same reason nor petrol-fueled lighters, the smell of which may compromise the flavor and aroma of a Toscano cigar.

Heat-based, quartz-operated cigar lighters, also known as piezoelectric lighters, are very effective. Reduce thermal shocks, beginning by gradually heating the Toscano cigar without direct contact with the flame and taking care to preserve the wrapper leaf.

While lighting the cigar, we recommend rotating the cigar between the fingers, so that the whole of the edge of the tip comes into contact with the flame. The flame approaches the tip of the cigar, but does not touch it. Once the cigar is lit, blow lightly on the embers to consolidate them, and rotate it. If one decides to break off smoking, it is advisable to trim away the part where burning occurred with a cigar cutter before lighting it up again.