Pet peeve: When the wrapper leaf is damaged after removing the cigar band

I've got a bone to pick, and maybe you can relate. When I smoke a cigar, I usually remove the band early on. This practice is a point of contention among some cigar smokers, but I'm so deep into the habit, I do it almost subconsciously.

What sucks the wind out of my sail is when I remove the band and a piece of wrapper leaf comes off with it. I've noticed this happening much more lately, and with cigars of every class - even when I let the cigar smoke down a bit to let the heat soften the glue on the band. I found this particularly common with one brand that I'm very fond of. It seems to happen more with Connecticut wrapped cigars, whose wrappers tend to be naturally delicate. Finally, I mentioned it to someone at the company who told me I wasn't the first to bring it up, and they were working on it.

Having now ruined many a good cigar, these days I'm almost afraid to remove the band until the cigar has burned down to within a millimeter of it. Even then, you can't be sure whether the band will come off with a negligible little patch of wrapper, or result in the cigar unraveling like a cheap wool sweater.

Then there are some bands that don't come off at all. I found this evident with Avo bands. They use a heavy stock for their bands, and the ends are glued so well it's almost impossible to get your finger underneath to pry them apart. But to their credit, I don't remember damaging a wrapper leaf while removing the band on an Avo.

So I've developed the following conspiracy theory: The manufacturers intentionally apply the bands with extra glue. Then, after the wrapper leaf has torn on several cigars, you give up and are forced to leave the bands on. This way you help the manufacturer advertise their brand when you're among other cigar smokers. Brilliant, huh?

Or, as Larry David might say, "Pretty good. Pretty, pretty good."

~ Gary Korb


Jim in Millington, TN said…
Earlier today I had a Cusano Habano LXI Sungrown do this. Tore the wrapper and it unraveled from there and ruined a cigar I have never tried before so needless to say I was disappointed. I, too have tried all the tactics you mentioned. I was going to get online with CigarAdvisor and ask you since this has happened time and time again and lo and behold I was surprised to see your blog on this same subject. I guess I could try the pectin repair on some of the minor tears but I don't know if it would work all the time. I have sometimes wondered if cigar makers would actually consider leaving the bands off, but I also see the eye appeal factor with the bands. A lot of them are very colorful and sometimes I even hate to take them off but you can't smoke a paper band. Granted, this doesn't happen with every cigar and I know with as many cigars as the factories produce a some will get through with this band problem so for now I will try to work around it. I hope something better comes around with a little research into the problem. Thanks, Gary for all the great cigar information here and in the Famous-Smoke Shop catalog. I always seem to learn something every time I read.
CM said…
I'm with you - this drives me nuts. I wouldn't think it would be too hard to fix either.
Anonymous said…
I've noticed over the years if you smoke the cigar a while, the heat will usually release the band making it easier to remove without ruining the cigar.
This also happens with the cigars you can buy in the UK. I have seen a few cigars where the is glued leaving a short flap or tab on the end which you can use remove the band easily, unfortunately I can't remember the particular brand.
TOB9595 said…
Hahahaha, Gary you hit one of my peeves on cigar smoking!.
I love the looks of the cigar bands. I take em off and stash em in a baggie or jar. I also use a cigar journal to remind me of the terrific and the lame smokes I encounter. Fortunately, I find mostly terrific sticks.
Isn't it amazing...all the sticks out there and I think most of them are terrific.
I'll continue to try my various ways, including a pocket knife, to remove the bands.

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