The power of the poker
This past Sunday night, Labor Day eve, I decided to smoke the third of three Havanas that were gifted to me by a friend not too long ago. The cigar in question was a Romeo y Julieta Cedros De Luxe No.1, and pretty tasty, too. The only problem was the cigar had a weak draw.
To backup for a moment, the ISOM I smoked several weeks earlier from the same friend, a long home-aged Fonseca No.1, also suffered from a tight draw. Shortly after smoking it I called him to say thanks. When I mentioned the draw problem to him, he told me he had similar problems and used a draw poker to loosen it up. I told him I neglected to do so because I'm not a big proponent of using draw pokers and eventually gave up on the cigar, opting for a 601 Blue Maduro as a replacement. Suffice it to say, the 601 was perfect in every way.
Getting back to the Romeo, it was obvious that the cigar had been rolled pretty tightly. The draw was not as tight as on the earlier Fonseca, but tight enough to be annoying after the first couple of inches. In an effort to not waste what I felt was a good experience in terms of flavor to this point, I got out my Havana Draw Enhancer (yes, coincidentally, that's the name!), which is made by Don Salvatore (see image above).
Very carefully, I proceeded to infiltrate the foot of the cigar, turning it slowly while continuing to apply pressure. Luckily I didn't puncture the cigar. After removing the poker the draw had opened up considerably, and although I had to do it again it a bit later, it saved the cigar.
As I mentioned above, I don't like having to use additional tools to make my cigars work, but there are always exceptions. The other reason I bring this up is, if you're going to use a draw poker, then I recommend the Draw Enhancer. The reason I like this particular tool is because it's very thin, has a flat head, is a little shorter than most pokers, and along the shaft are diamond shaped serrations that literally cut through the tobacco. I feel this design makes it a superior product, as I've had problems with the more common ice-pick design cigar pokers.
One other thing that may have helped was, since the cigar had smoked down a couple of inches, it was much more pliable, which made it easier to insert the poker into the cigar without harming it. Moreover, once I reached the point where I felt I better not push any further, I used a gentle "pull-push" reaming method, and could feel the serrations cutting through the blockage.
I rarely, if ever have draw problems with my cigars, but I'm glad I had this tool in my cigar accessories box. The moral of the story is, if you absolutely have to use a draw poker to loosen up your cigar, make sure you have one that's going to work properly.
~ Gary Korb