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What To Do With A Misbehaving Cigar

Apr 7, 2008
The best-laid plans of mice and men. Even the most careful cigar smoker - the one who only buys premium cigars, keeps them stored in a humidor at around seventy percent relative humidity, and lights them slowly and carefully, turning the cigar in the open flame to achieve an all-over even burn - sometimes winds up with a dud. Here are some tips for dealing with what we might call Cigar Emergencies.

The first kind is probably the most common - the cigar that, despite your best intentions, can't be finished in one sitting. Though time is an essential ingredient in the higher pleasures of cigar smoking - after all, the slower you smoke, the more enjoyable it is - sometimes time is not your friend. Perhaps your significant other - the one who can't stand the smell of cigar smoke - got home earlier than expected, while you were enjoying your cigar on the porch. Maybe, while you were enjoying that well-earned smoke after dinner on a business trip, your boss suddenly called with a problem that can't wait - and you have to take the call inside your hotel room, where smoking isn't allowed. Or maybe the cigar bar is closing. In any case, sometimes stuff happens.

In these situations, it's hard to throw away a well-made (and somewhat expensive!) cigar. Some smokers will opt to throw the unfinished cigar away. If the interruption won't last more than a few minutes, it's safe to put the cigar out - don't neglect that step! - and set it on a window ledge or other outdoor surface. (Just to be on the safe side.) No matter what, you should finish the cigar within twelve hours. Like an open bottle of cabernet sauvignon, or a can of Guinness left in the fridge with aluminum foil over the open mouthhole, a cigar steeply declines in taste the longer it's left "opened" - that is, partially smoked.
(And, again, don't forget to stop the burning!)
Speaking of burning, that brings up one of the most common problems with cigars - the uneven burn.

Occasionally a cigar will start burning too fast down one side. Of course, as I've alluded to above, this can result from careless lighting. (Once again: always light the cigar thoroughly and evenly, turning it slowly in a circle in an open flame.)

But let's not blame the victim - sometimes, that uneven burn is not your fault. It results from the filler tobacco not being packed tightly enough into the cigar, leaving slack, spongy places in the cigar which, when the burn reaches them, ignite too quickly (because the little pocket that's underfilled with tobacco has more oxygen in it than the rest of the cigar). One way to avoid this is to feel a cigar before you buy it (as you test melons at the grocery store) - the ones with "bruised" or spongy, less-firm spots on them should go back on the shelf, or be reported to your tobacconist.

At any rate, unevenly-burning cigars can lead to a burned finger or even burning fragments that fall on your clothes and catch fire. At best, they make a big mess. You may try rotating the slower-burning side to the bottom (thus ensuring that it has more access to oxygen, since the smoke will be floating the other way, giving it more of a chance to "catch up"), or using your saliva to slightly moisten the part of the wrapper that is just ahead of the quick-burning part. Set these uneven-burning cigars in the ashtray and wait for one side to catch up with the other. (Some experts also recommend burning off the quick-burning part of the cigar with your lighter - after taking the cigar out of your mouth, of course - but this can cause the rest of the cigar to taste gross and ashy.)
About the Author
CigarFox provides the finest cigars that include cigar brands like Cohiba, Montecristo, Gurkha, Macanudo, Rocky Patel, Romeo, Drew Estate, and many more. Other cigar products include cigar humidors, cigar boxes, and cigar accessories like Zippo Lighters.
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