Friday, April 23, 2010

Exploding cigar theory: Why some cigar wrappers split on you

I received a recent email from a reader asking, "What causes the wrapper to crack about an inch above the burn after I smoke half of it?" Although, thankfully, it doesn't happen on all cigars, if you're an avid cigar smoker, this has probably happened to you every so often.

One of the causes of this phenomenon is usually due to extra moisture in the cigar, which can result from having a higher than usual relative humidity in your cigar humidor, say, 72-75% or higher.

When the soup heats up the steam has nowhere to go but through the seams in the wrapper leaf, which, in turn, causes it to crack or split.

Another cause of wrapper splitting is drawing too often and/or too hard on your cigars. By doing so, you create more juices in the pipe and get the same results. A symptom related to this is a poor draw, which will cause you to draw harder on the cigar. In these cases, try using a cigar poker in the head and foot to loosen up the cause. If you're smoking a figurado (a tapered or pointed head cigar), it may help to shave a little more off the head.

Suffice it to say, by keeping your humidor at an average of 68% RH in a range of 65% - 70%, you can help keep the moisture level in your cigars at bay and avoid smoking an "exploding" cigar.

~ G.K.

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