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Cigar 101

Can You Save a Half Smoked Cigar?

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Here’s a question that easily miffs purists and makes unapologetic curmudgeons gush with excitement: can you save a half-smoked cigar? The short answer is yes, of course. The debate boils down to how much length of a cigar is really worth saving and do you really care what others think of your frugality – if you want to call it that?

Many have done it before, myself included. In the middle of a sublime smoke, the phone rings. You’re called away suddenly but you can’t take your cigar along for the ride. What do you do with a $30 Padron Family Reserve when you’ve barely finished the first third. That leaves $20 worth of cigar on the table. You wouldn’t toss a $20 bill out with the ashes just because you didn’t have time to spend it, would you? Of course not.

Don’t Put a Half-Smoked Cigar in Your Humidor

But, let’s keep a few practical considerations in mind. While saving a half-smoked cigar is acceptable, sticking it back in your humidor is a bad idea, unless you’re in love with the charred, sooty smell half-smoked cigars emit (even after they’ve stopped burning). Trying to rehumidify a half-smoked cigar isn’t really worth it, unless you can stick in a ziplock bag by itself with a humidity pouch. I usually won’t save a cigar I’ve started smoking more than a day anyway.

There’s a reason a cigar always tastes best when you smoke the whole thing in one sitting. The smoke and the oils in a premium cigar crystalize when the cigar fully cools off. Because of this, what you taste when you relight it won’t be the same as when you first lit it up. You might have to burn through a bit of charred, bitter flavor when you relight it, but hopefully that dissipates quickly and you can get back on track with a smooth and creamy finish.

Seal Your Half-Smoked Cigar in an Airtight Environment

It gets tricky when you have to travel with a half-smoked cigar. If you just got booted from your pal’s man cave, a ziplock bag is a must if you’re taking your half-smoked cigar home. Think twice before zipping it up in your breast pocket or leaving it in the glovebox overnight. Your jacket and your car won’t be the same. And definitely don’t ask your wife to stick a half-smoked cigar in her purse – unless you have a death wish. When the fuss outweighs the reward, let the cigar go. You can always get another one.

Some guys will stop smoking a cigar when it gets too strong, too. That’s completely understandable. When I’m unable to finish a cigar, I’ll often simply let it sit in the ashtray and try to finish it the next day. I’ll relight it and take a few puffs to test out the taste. You’ll know in a minute or too if the cigar has become too potent or pungent to finish.

Snip the Ashes Off

You can also snip off the ashes from a half-smoked cigar with your cutter and store your cigar in a special cigar savor tube – basically, a spring-loaded tube with a screw top designed to contain any unwanted half-smoked aromas. Just be aware that a cigar can become pretty fragile after it cools. If the wrapper starts to crack or unravel, you’re simply carrying around a mess.  

We’ve even caught a few diehard bargain hunters on our security cameras combing the parking lot for cigar butts afterhours. That’s a bit too extreme. By contrast, one of Winston Churchill’s half-smoked cigars actually sold for over $12,000 back in 2017. I can only imagine how amazing the room note could be!

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