As the needle on the thermometer drops, enjoying a cigar in comfort can become increasingly challenging. Drawing in cold air changes the way you perceive your cigar, and it’s undoubtedly harder to relax if you’re quivering as your body temperature drops.

When our bodies are cold, our mind becomes increasingly fixated on regaining warmth. This mental survival tactic tends to dull our sense of taste and smell and detracts from the sensory pleasures of a cigar.

While many choose to scale back on cigars during the colder months, others decide to strategically tackle the elements, cigar in hand: “Cigars, like any great love, is a year-round, all-time thing” says Canadian cigar lover Taylor Matthew. Matthew, who regularly attends outdoor tailgate gatherings for his favorite NFL team the Buffalo Bills (the football season runs as late as January), is no stranger to cold-weather smoking.

“If you can minimize factors such as cold, wet, and wind while dressing accordingly, I have found no reason to avoid a cigar or pipe during the winter months”.

Cigar or pipe, Matthew is prepared for smoking on a brisk day

With that in mind, here’s 5 ways to maximize cigar enjoyment in colder weather:

1. Get Your Mancave On

From a makeshift garage setup, to a pop up tent with walls, to a fully tricked-out lounge, personal mancaves come in many different forms and allow you to escape the outdoors to some degree. This of course depends on your budget, the space that you have available to work with, and your overall devotion to the hobby.

For most, a simple garage, tent or shed with some heaters will do. From small space heaters, to freestanding heating lamps, to large wall-mounted heaters, finding the right heat source to keep you and your friends comfortable in these spaces is key.

The tricky part to this approach is striking a balance between proper warmth and proper ventilation. In a garage, things can get real smoky in no time flat, which can quickly seep into the house – if attached.

Though heat will inevitably escape, plan to intermittently open a door to let some smoke out. Other options include a gently blowing fan that pushes the smoke in the opposite direction of the house, or taking measures to install some proper ventilation.

Alternatively, if you’ve decided to drop a decent chunk of cash into a properly heated and ventilated lounge space, I recommend building a space that is NOT attached to your house. Despite the inclusion of seriously expensive ventilation systems, smoking spaces that are physically connected to the house somehow always fail to eliminate smoke from seeping into the living areas.

If you’re going to spend all that money, do it right the first time and keep it fully detached.

2. Dress the Part

Though it seems to be common sensical, there may be a few key clothing concepts that you are unaware of. These include aiming to layer heat-trapping fabrics that do not hold onto odor and are easy to clean.

Polar fleece is a warm synthetic material that doesn’t hold on to odor like cotton or wool does. With the exception of maybe wool socks, wool is seldom a good option, as odor clings to it and it is also complicated to wash. Cotton holds on to odor like wool does, but is easier to launder.

Keep a go-to rotation of a few warm polar fleece sweaters and be sure to do the same with some washable fingerless gloves and a solid toque (a beanie or watch cap to our American friends). The fingerless gloves will keep your hands warm while affording you the dexterity to cut, light and smoke your cigar, and the toque will prevent valuable heat from escaping from your noggin.

If it’s cold enough, a solid parka coat and thermal underwear can greatly aid in providing necessary warmth.

Dressing strategically will allow you to focus more on the flavor and aroma of your cigar and less on staying warm.

3. Pass on the Churchill

Unless you’re perfectly comfortable within a warm, well-ventilated space, opting to smoke cigars that are shorter in length with reduced ring gauge sizes typically make for a more appropriate cigar during the colder months.

Something that takes roughly twenty minutes to one hour, max, is recommended when the temperature is less than ideal. A petit corona or robusto will usually fit the bill nicely.

For an extensive list of common cigar sizes and their average smoking durations, click here.

4. Skip the Connecticut

In colder weather, it’s a good idea to choose a cigar with some extra muscle.

Similar to how ice can mute the flavors of the whiskey in your glass, when cold air comes through on your draw, certain flavor nuances will become lost. Avoiding cigars that are mild to sub-medium in strength and flavor intensity are a good way to ensure that the flavors from your cigar are successfully making their way through to your palate.

Reaching for a stronger cigar with a spicy and robust character can deliver the flavor that you seek by overcoming the colder air that may be experienced in your draw.

The Serie D is a short robust cigar

In short, it is recommended to keep your cigar short, bold, and strong when it comes to smoking in colder temperatures.

A few standout examples of an ideal shorter, fuller-bodied cigar for cooler weather are the Antano Gran Consul 1970 by Joya de Nicaragua, The Judge by My Father, Serie D No. 4 by Partagas (Cuba), or the NUB Maduro by Oliva.

The Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story features a true Cameroon wrapper and produces deep luxurious flavors. It is a sublime perfecto that only time and the skilled hands of Fuente and Co. can produce.

This 4 x 49 cigar will take around a half hour to forty minutes to enjoy.

5. Carry the Torch

Though wood matches and cedar spills present a classic way to light a cigar, they are simply no match (pun intended) when it comes to dealing with cold weather and wind.

For times like these, you’ll want something that is far more powerful and precise. I’m talking about a butane torch lighter of course, preferably one with multiple jets.

Butane torch lighters typically feature one or more fully adjustable windproof flames that can effectively toast and light up a cigar in colder weather and wind. Conveniently, most also come equipped with a punch cut built in as well.

If left out in the cold on a table it will have difficulty igniting, so when not in use be sure to keep the lighter in a pocket close to the warmth of your body.


As a final tip for successful cold weather smoking, Taylor Matthew adds that “a cigar that has been properly humidified will prove to be more resistant to faltering in lower temperatures when things get really cold, dry and windy”. Thus, your cigar should be well cared for, and remember to apply the aforementioned principles to ensure that your smoking experience will be enjoyable during times of colder weather.

No matter how inclement it may be outside, there will always be die-hard cigar lovers are who up for the challenge.

Even in the throes of a Canadian winter, Taylor Matthew is ready for the elements