Periodically on the Cigar Dojo app, the topic of retrohaling comes up. In the simplest of terms, retrohaling means to blow the smoke out through the nose instead of the mouth. To newer cigar smokers, the idea of pushing smoke through the nose may seem daunting at first, but it is essential for unlocking all the full flavor in the tobacco. Too often, when I hear newer folks talk about retrohaling, I get the sense that they are trying to push 100% of the smoke through their nose with every draw and that might scare off some smokers to this practice.
Having no prior experience in smoking anything, here is the way I quickly learned how to retrohale. It is as simple as imagining that you are blowing out candles on a birthday cake except push the puff out of your mouth and nose at the same time, and very slowly. You don’t even need a cigar to practice. Take in an imaginary puff of smoke, closing off the back of the throat as to not inhale, then slowly release the smoke through your nose and mouth at the same time. And remember to relax and don’t be tense.
Another method to learning the art of the retrohale is to take a draw of your cigar and begin to exhale the smoke through your mouth as you normally would—yet halfway through your exhale, close your mouth and allow the last half of the smoke to proceed through your nostrils. BOOM! You are now retrohaling your cigar like a champ.
You may want to start out with a milder cigar while you get the hang of it—some may find they enjoy retrohaling certain cigars more than others. There’s no set ratio of puffing through the mouth or nose, you’ll find your own comfort zone. This will unlock the flavor of the tobacco and let you enjoy all your cigar has to offer. I hope this easy-to-practice technique helps anyone trying to get the retrohale down pat.