Cigar 101: Minor Myths

In this post we’re going to go over some minor cigar myths that, while important to debunk, don’t necessarily warrant a full post by themselves. If you’ve fallen for these myths, don’t feel bad, we’re just now entering the golden age of cigar information.

The White Ash Myth – I’m sure you’ve heard that a white ash is indicative of a quality cigar and a good roll. Both of these claims are false. The color of the ash of your cigar has everything to do with the nutrient content of the soil in which the tobacco was grown. Soils with a higher calcium content will produce a lighter ash while soil rich in potassium will produce a darker color ash.

The Cigar Smelling Myth – Many people think you can tell the quality or flavor of a cigar by smelling it and while you will get a pleasant aroma from most cigars, it’s almost impossible to know what notes you’ll get from a cigar until you light it. If anything, smelling a cigar to get the pre-light aroma is a ritual and nothing more. However, smelling a cigar can have some benefits, if it’s an infused cigar you might be able to get an idea of the type of infusion and if a traditional cigar has a pungent odor or smells like ammonia, it could indicate a problem with where it was stored or it could indicate that the cigar is not ready to smoke or was processed improperly. A side note: if you are smelling cigars that are still in cellophane, you’re smelling plastic, not the cigar.

The Cigar Wetting & Dipping Myths – While both of these myths seem bizarre to the modern cigar smoker, there was a time when they may have been functional due to poor cigar storage or poor quality cigars. In case you haven’t heard of these myths, the Wetting Myth is the myth that in order for the cigar to burn properly, the cigar needs to be licked thoroughly or wet down and the Dipping Myth is that a cigar must be dipped in an alcoholic beverage to be enjoyed. The idea of wetting a cigar to help it burn properly is ludicrous, as long as a cigar is humidified properly there is no need to try to hold it together with spit and if the cigar has been stored improperly for too long a period of time, there’s not much you can do to help it. The stranger myth of cigar dipping really comes down to whether or not it is necessary and it isn’t, there’s no reason to ruin a good cigar by dipping it in alcohol. If you’re smoking a bad cigar, then that’s another story….

Cigar Storage Myths – Neither your basement nor you refrigerator are appropriate places to store cigars. Both are too cold for proper storage and both lack adequate humidity control. If you want to store cigars long term, buy a humidor.

Cigar “Freshness” Myths – There are a few misconceptions about cigar “freshness” so we’ll start with the definition of a “fresh” cigar. A fresh cigar is a cigar that has just been rolled and is not yet a finished product, it may or may not be enjoyable in that state. It has nothing to do with sponginess of the cigar or when they were delivered to a cigar shop. There’s usually some give in a properly stored cigar, but different tobaccos have different densities and if a cigar is overly spongy, it can indicate a problem with the tobacco or it can be an indication that the cigar is under filled, both will lead to an unpleasant smoking experience.

If you have anymore questions, check out the entire Cigar 101 page or drop by the store and ask.

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