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HOW TO: Retrohale Cigar Smoke

Man exhaling smoke through his nose, retrohaling.

There’s a special technique that cigar aficionados use to get the most flavor out of their cigars? It’s called retrohaling. Before you smoke your next cigar, make sure you know how to do it properly. Retrohaling is a great skill to learn, but it takes a bit of knowledge and practice to ensure you are doing it correctly. Not to worry, we will show you how it’s done.

What is retrohaling? Essentially, it’s exhaling smoke out through your nose. And no, this does not require inhaling the cigar smoke. Retrohaling is the “second step” to simple cigar smoking. For beginners, the easiest thing to do is exhale most of the cigar smoke through your mouth first to avoid burning your nostrils. Then, with the remaining smoke, swallow (do not inhale) and the smoke will exit through your nose. 

The reason many cigar smokers retrohale is because a majority of the flavor is actually detected through the nose. Just like when it comes to food, the nose plays a huge part in flavor. If you plug your nose while eating a meal, you won’t be able to taste as well as when your nose is unplugged. Your palate is only going to give you the basic flavor profiles, but to experience more flavor, utilize your nose. Retrohaling will bring out more spicier notes, but it also brings out the sweeter side, like notes of hazelnut and cocoa. 

When starting out, we recommend you retrohale only a few times while smoking your cigar. This will help you to not get overwhelmed. Once you’re used to it, retrohaling comes more naturally and you can practice it more and more. Don’t stress about trying to retrohale with every puff, most cigar smokers do it occasionally throughout the cigar. Utilizing this new skill will allow you to enjoy more hidden flavors when smoking cigars.

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