Retro-haling is the act of moving smoke from the back of the mouth, up through the nasal cavity, and exhaling through the nose. In order to retro-hale, the mouth and nasal cavity can be connected by simply closing a smoke filled mouth and exhaling through the nose. Retro-haling creates a powerful synergy of taste and olfaction (aroma/smell) where the spices, body, flavor, and strength of the cigar will be pronounced simultaneously. This method is quite easy in theory but takes some practice getting the action down. Once perfected the enjoyment of cigars will increase to an unbelievable level.
When retro-haling, I recommend starting slow. A smoker can control the amount of smoke he or she retro-hales, so start off by only retro-haling a fraction of the smoke. The following is a step by step break down of the method I use to get the most flavor and enjoyment out of my cigar.
1. Take 2-3 puffs from the cigar. First take a short pull and then on the second or third puff take a long, full pull to generate lots of smoke.
2. Close your mouth around the smoke. I like to think of this as smoke control. At this point in time you can choose whether you wish to blow all the smoke out of the mouth or retro-hale a portion of the smoke if not all of it. Practice smoke control before trying retro-haling by opening your mouth at this stage and ever so slowly let the smoke drift out of your mouth. This seemingly endless cloud of smoke floating from the mouth is a really easy smoke “trick” that I get people asking me to do again and again.
3. After closing the mouth around the smoke push air from the lungs out of the nose while dropping the front of the tongue. This will pull the smoke from the mouth around over the palate, through the sinuses, and out of the nose.
4. Important step: Very rarely can retro-haling move all the smoke out of the mouth so finish a retro-hale by opening the mouth and exhaling the rest of the smoke.
The most important advantage to retro-haling is that it increases the flavor of the cigar, and if flavor is increased so is the enjoyment. Smoking a cigar uses all the senses, but the main senses used when smoking are taste and smell. These senses work in conjunction. Food just doesn’t taste as good when suffering from a head cold. It is the same with cigars. By not retro-haling a smoker mutes a large portion of the cigar’s flavor and nuances.
Retro-haling not only increases flavor but it also increases the intensity of the cigar as well. When first beginning to retro-hale a smoker may need to return to milder body cigars and work back up to the fuller-bodied smokes. Retro-haling will open up a whole new world; there is no way to describe the increase in taste. It must be experienced.