Friday, February 8, 2013

The retrohale

I have been unable to enjoy a cigar lately thanks to all this crazy weather. I have just recently recovered from weeks of sinus congestion and crud. I usually don't smoke a cigar while sick, I feel it is a waste of a good cigar if I cannot taste it. I had a comment left asking to explain more about the retrohale or retro-hale of cigar smoke. I have a friend that tried to join me in my cigar obsession not too long ago. He is a frequent cigarette smoker and liked that a cigar can be enjoyed for a much longer time while drinking than a cigarette. I offered him a few sticks and even packed him a humi bag to take home. I guess I should have educated him a little but honestly it never crossed my mind. I met up with him again a few weeks later for a few beers and a couple games of pool. Afterwards I offered him a cigar and as we chatted and smoked, I noticed he was inhaling the smoke. As I tried to explain the ways to properly enjoy a fine cigar he asked how and why I had smoke coming from my nose. I explained how the flavors were best brought out in a cigar by allowing the smoke to go through the nose as well as out the mouth. He must have tried for 15 minutes before giving up. Though he tried and tried, he just couldn't manage to get the smoke through his nose without first taking it into his lungs. For some it just comes easier than others I guess. The tobacconist university defines the retro-hale as : "Retro-haling is the act of moving smoke from the back of the mouth, up through the sinuses, and exhaling through the nasal passages." It is hard to explain really how to do it for someone who never has experienced it. The question ha arisen on how frequent to retrohale and what percentage of the smoke should go through the nose. I would say frequency is up to you as is the amount. I enjoy some cigars more if I retrohale every puff and 100% of the smoke through my nose. Most of the time i go with retrohale on every puff and try to get around 50% of the smoke through the nose and the remainder out my mouth. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. If you have never retrohaled while smoking I would challenge you to give it a try. To me, it really helps to bring out the flavors of the cigar and I can find more flavors by doing so. My friend Brad said it added a new dimension of the cigar for him when he tried it. As my friend proved, it doesn't come easy for some people but don't give up. Cigar Inspector had a nice write-up in 2007 on the subject with a number of comments from reader's experiences. It is worth checking out and can be found HERE


  1. Thanks for the explanation! Now I will have to "try it at home"! ...without choking.
    Don B.

    1. Very welcome my friend! Hope it comes easy for you. Let me know how it goes :)


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