Lighting a cigar is equal parts art and science. For many smokers, it is the opening act in the smoking ritual and, in many ways, one of the most enjoyable. Zippo lighters are regarded by some as a poor way to light a cigar owing to the lighter fluid imparting a chemical taste to the tobacco. Other smokers claim that this is simply not true and wouldn't use anything else to light their stogie. The individual should always feel free to make this determination for themselves.
Lighter fluid burns with a distinctive smell. It has an oily consistency which makes it highly-prized for its being able to burn in even very windy conditions. Lighter fluid has a taste which is detectable by some individuals and not at all detectable by others. Different fluids are said to affect this characteristic, as well. Whether or not this is true is entirely up to the individual to decide. Some cigar smokers would not for a minute consider giving up their prized Zippo; others would hesitate to light a fine cigar with anything other than a wooden match or a cedar strip.
The reason Zippos remain popular for outdoor use is that they are an inherently windproof lighter. The lighter fluid used to fuel them is slow to evaporate and is thick enough that it will stick to the wick and ignite even in very windy conditions. This makes them popular with sailors and fishermen.
As is the case with everything concerning cigars, whether or not to use a Zippo is a matter of personal preference. These lighters are often heirloom items and using them is something of a ritual for some people. If one should detect an unpleasant chemical taste fouling that of their favorite cigar, the solution may be to purchase a higher-end fluid. Some fluids advertise that they give no taste to the tobacco at all and, even among very discriminating smokers, these fluids are a popular option.
Some smokers claim that they can't taste a thing and, if one is using one of the high-quality fluids, this is likely true. If a Zippo happens to be something to which one is very attached, consider using a high-end lighter fluid to ensure the best smoking experience. It's not only good for taste; it's good for the lighter.
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