Are There Invisible Holes In Your Cigars?

March 15, 2013 0 Comment Cigaranado

CigarsLet’s say you are in the middle of enjoying your favorite cigar, and all of a sudden, you realize that it’s not burning correctly. The cigar might be tunneling, or it might only be burning on one side, which is referred to as canoeing. It is called such because, after a while, the cigar will assume the appearance of a dugout canoe.

There are a number of reasons why your cigar might be burning incorrectly. It could be due to the fact that it was lit incorrectly. If you were lighting your cigar in a hurry, you may not have toasted the whole foot properly. Most premium cigars will correct themselves after the first inch or so, but they do fail to do so on occasion. Alternately, you might not have removed enough of the cap. While a cigar might seem like it’s burning well, if it is not producing an even draw, this can cause a poor burn to occur. It could also be attributed to a cigar that was not stored in the proper conditions. If your cigar is drier in some places more than others, it can result in a poor burn.

Bunching is also a common cause of poorly burning cigars. Occasionally, the binder of a cigar will be folded over itself (referred to as double bunching), or the ligero leaf may be placed slightly off center. However, when the binder burns more quickly than the other tobacco leaves, a cigar will often begin to tunnel or canoe.

Fortunately, there is a simple method to fix a canoed cigar. The most common method to address this problem is to burn off the canoed section with your torch lighter. My friends often refer to this as the “flame thrower option”. However, if you don’t mind dirtying your cigar cutter slightly, my preferred method is to use my cutter to clip off the excess leaf at the point where the ash starts.

Almost invisible holes in the cigar wrapper can cause a cigar to “leak” smoke. It produces a negative effect on the burn of the cigar, because each time you draw on it, air is also being drawn through these small holes.

If you think your cigar might have small holes in it, then trying holding your cigar with the unburned portion towards your face. Beginning at the foot, use your torch lighter and hold the flame closer to the cigar’s wrapper. Move the flame slowly back to the portion where the ash meets the canoed part of your cigar. The leaf should begin to ignite, and if there are small holes present, you will begin to see smoke emanating from the unburned portion of the cigar. This most likely will be where the problem lies. The smoke is not being held within the cigar properly, and it is going to prevent your cigar from burning cleanly.

If the holes are found near the ash, let the cigar continue to burn as normally as possible. Once the burn has passed where the holes are located, your cigar should correct itself naturally. However, if there are a number of holes along the length of the cigar, I’m sad to say that you’re just going to have to toss this one out.

You can also look closely for the appearance of holes or cracking in the wrapper while you are lighting your cigar. Most of the time, our eyes tend to be focused on the foot of the cigar while we are toasting it, and we may not be paying attention to wisps of smoke that are appearing along the body of the cigar. It is possible that holes will appear on the underside of the cigar, which we are much less likely to notice them.

The good news is that a poor burn is the exception, rather than the rule. Premium, hand rolled cigars are going to be well sealed once their construction is complete. However, if you do have this problem occur in the future, you will know how to identify the source of the problem.


This post was posted in Professional Cigar Tips