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Cigar 101

Can You Smoke a Cigar Backwards?

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

What happens if you smoke a cigar the wrong way? We’re not sure why you would do this, other than for curiosity’s sake. Smoking a cigar backwards is akin to driving down the street in reverse. It can be done, but it’s hardly ideal. If your fascination has got the best of you, we suggest smoking a cheaper cigar to find out what it’s like to smoke from the wrong end. Here are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider, though.

The Cigar’s Construction Is Compromised

Premium cigars are meticulously handcrafted by skilled cigar rollers. Each cigar is made from a specific ratio of binder and filler tobacco leaves which are enclosed in the wrapper leaf. In many cigar factories, a buncher assembles the binder and filler, and a roller puts the wrapper leaf on. Learning how to roll a cigar correctly takes years. For most shapes, the foot of the cigar – or the end that you light – is left open, and the head – the end that goes in your mouth – is closed with a cap, which you cut before you light your cigar. When you buy a cigar, you’re paying for the quality and consistency of its construction.

If you smoke a cigar backwards, you’re pulling smoke from the wrong end and the cigar will likely not draw correctly. Because there is no cap on the foot, your cigar can deliver a loose draw. You can also anticipate getting unwanted bits of loose tobacco and wrapper leaf in your mouth. And, there is a greater chance the wrapper leaf will unravel while you’re smoking it.

Anticipate an Uneven Burn

When a cigar does not draw smoothly and consistently, it will burn crooked. A crooked burn can ruin a premium cigar. When you’re forced to constantly relight your cigar and perform touch-ups with your torch to get an even burn, the ash gets messy and the cigar inevitably absorbs an unnecessary amount of butane, which interferes with the taste. 

A Bad Finish

Smoking your cigar backwards can lead to a bad finish. When you’re drawing from the wrong end, the flavor will culminate at the foot. Even if your cigar hasn’t unraveled, there’s no guarantee it’s going to taste good. Smoke your cigars the way the cigar-maker intended for the best possible experience. 

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