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Cigar 101

How Far Down Should You Smoke a Cigar?

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

How far should you smoke your cigar? Great question. And trust us, we’ve done a ton of research on the topic, smoking every brand, blend, and size you can imagine to answer it. Some guys refuse to quit smoking until their facial hair is on fire. But, when are you really supposed to stop smoking? When the band starts to burn? (BTW, take the band off before it’s on fire.)

There is no real unspoken etiquette regarding when you should stop smoking a cigar. Smoke your cigar as long as you like the taste. Here are a few points to consider when you want to know when you should stop.

What Size Are You Smoking?

As you smoke a cigar, the heat and oil build up at the head of the cigar – the end that’s in your mouth. If you’re smoking a longer cigar like a Churchill or a figured shape like a Torpedo, the concentration of heat and oil can be more intense as you get past the halfway point. If oil and moisture build up at the end of your cigar and constrict the draw, you can cut a little more off to loosen it up and keep smoking.

For many premium cigars, the intensity of taste that arrives toward the end is welcome. Lots of connoisseurs like the surge in flavor and strength just before a cigar is finished. Don’t keep smoking, though, if you start to feel woozy.

Does Your Cigar Taste Good?

Good cigars are defined by their taste. It’s common for premium cigars to go through transitions of flavor from beginning to end. We never recommend smoking cigars that taste bad. So, as long as your cigar provides desirable taste and aroma, keep smoking it. If the flavor becomes bitter or overly intense, then maybe it’s time to let it go out. A good cigar should be satisfying, not something you have to suffer through.

Is Your Cigar Too Hot?

If you’re pinching the end of your cigar and its incinerating your fingertips, you could be in harm’s way. You can risk dropping a hot cigar butt into your lap or burning a hole in your favorite sweater. Some cigars become so irresistible at the end, it’s worth living dangerously for a few minutes. Poking a paperclip or a matchstick in the butt of your cigar to suck every last puff out doesn’t make you a curmudgeon. Some guys resort to using a roach clip. Don’t singe your lips and sit near a fire extinguisher, just in case.

Should You Remove the Band?

You don’t have to take the band off your cigar before you light it. Cigar bands identify what you’re smoking and often show off gorgeous and intricate imagery. We suggest leaving the band on until you’ve gotten past the halfway point of the cigar. That way, the heat from the end of your cigar loosens the adhesive on the band and you can safely peel it off without the risk of tearing part of the wrapper leaf in the process.

You’ll definitely want to take the band off before it starts to burn if you plan to smoke your cigar until the bitter end. As beautiful as many cigar bands can be, the band won’t improve the flavor or aroma of your cigar if it starts burning with the wrapper leaf.

How to Put Your Cigar Out?

When you do reach that fateful moment when there’s either nothing left of your cigar, or it’s too hot or too intense, and you have to let it go, remember to let your cigar expire gracefully. Don’t smoosh it out in the ashtray. Remove the band (if you haven’t done so already), and set your cigar in the ash dish. It will burn out on its own without the need to mash it into a smoldering mess.

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