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Cigar 101

What is Cigar Glue?

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Cigar glue, also called pectin or vegetable gum, is a food-safe adhesive similar to the coating on the backs of stamps and inside envelope lids. Cigar glue is derived from plants and is used by cigar rollers in the manufacture of premium cigars. Cigar consumers also use it to repair the occasional cracked wrapper leaf. The substance used by consumers differs a bit from the glue rollers use, which is often made at the cigar factory, but both perform the same function. Here’s how cigar glue works.

Putting the Cap on a Cigar

If you’ve watched a cigar roller in action before, one of the last steps in the rolling process is the application of the cap over the head of the cigar. The cap is a rounded piece of the wrapper leaf that is cut exactly to cover the head. To apply the cap, the cigar roller dips his or her finger in a small dish of cigar glue and coats the underside of the cap with the glue before it is placed on the cigar. The glue affixes the cap precisely where the roller places it. Although you cut an opening in a cigar’s cap before you smoke it, the part of the cap that remains on the cigar keeps the wrapper intact at the end you draw from.

In Cuba, cigars are finished with a triple cap, or a three-seam cap, that adds extra protection to the wrapper leaf. Many makers of non-Cuban premium cigars employ this method too.

Repairing a Cracked Wrapper

Cigar glue comes in handy when you need to fix a cracked wrapper leaf. If the wrapper begins to unravel, or if your cigar is a little dry and part of the wrapper has flaked off, you can repair it with cigar glue. You’ll find cigar glue for sale online and in retail shops. It’s usually packaged in a small jar that looks like nail polish with an application brush attached to the lid. Simply apply a few strokes of cigar glue to the seam on the wrapper where it’s unraveling and hold it in place for a few seconds until it dries. The glue creates a bond that will secure the wrapper over the cigar so that you can smoke it.

If part of the wrapper has cracked and flaked off, you can cover the gap with a piece of wrapper from another cigar. If the gap or crack is small enough, you can even use the cap that you’ve cut off your cigar to cover the opening. Brush a few strokes of cigar glue on the underside of the tobacco you’re using to cover the exposed area, and hold it in place over the opening until it dries. It’s not uncommon to sacrifice an inexpensive cigar by removing part of its wrapper to repair a cigar that costs more.

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