How to Retrohale

July 6, 2018

The one thing almost everyone knows about cigar smoking is this: do not inhale.  Cigars are much different to other tobacco products.  The tobacco is much stronger and is fermented in various ways.  The way to enjoy a cigar is to bring the smoke into your mouth and then release it.  However, if you are looking to optimize your cigar experience, there is one trick that true aficionados have learned to get the most flavor.

This practice is known as retrohaling.  While this is not something I recommend for everyone, particularly a beginner, it is a practice that could enhance your enjoyment of the cigar and fill you in on all the nuanced flavor.  So, I’ve decided to break down what retrohaling is, how to do it, and why it is done at all.

What is Retrohaling?

To keep it simple, retrohaling is the act of bringing the smoke into your mouth before releasing some of it through your nose.  Your nose, while obviously being responsible for your sense of smell, plays a great deal in your sense of taste.  The olfactory sensors play a role in how you taste things, bringing aroma into the equation.

Don’t believe me? Close your nose and bite into an apple, then bite into an onion.  They will taste almost identical.  By adding a touch of the smoke and aroma through your nasal passages, you’ll be able to taste those small, nuanced flavors that you always see cigar reviewers talking about.

How to Retrohale

It might seem tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, retrohaling will come second nature to you.  Just make sure not to inhale the smoke into your lungs.  What you want to do is puff your cigar like normal.  When the smoke is in your mouth, use the air in your lungs to push some of the smoke up and into your nasal passage.

It is going to be touch and go at first, but trust me once you master it your tastes are going to change.  Cigars you didn’t like before might become your new favorite.  It is the best way to experience the full cigar at its finest.


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