Understanding The Burn – Cigar College

When it comes to smoking cigars, there are so many conventions and rules that make up the long list of etiquette. However, some technical issues are common amongst all cigar smokers, and one of those issues is uneven burn. Now, this can be one of the most frustrating issues that a cigar smoker has to deal with, and a lot of times it can turn novices away from the hobby, especially if it is a frequent occurrence.

35Now, there are a few variables when trying to understand the causes of the uneven burning of a cigar. Some of these variables are inadvertent and ultimately out of your control. One of these freaks of nature is the cigar roll itself. Keeping in mind that a premium cigar is a handmade product from start to finish, sometimes mistakes can be made. A cigar roller can pack a cigar too tight, too lose or even leave large pockets of air int eh cigar which will naturally affect the consistency of the burn.

Another variable is the moisture level of the cigars. Now this is an issue that is left up to the consumer, it is the onus of the cigar smoker to ensure that their cigars are humidified within a reasonable range, ideally between 65-72% humidity. Keeping your cigars within this range will usually ensure that properly rolled cigars will burn evenly. If your cigar is too high, it may frequently go out because it is too moist, thus needing many re-lights which will increase the probability of an uneven burn. Having a cigar that is too dry will crack the wrapper and binder, burn too fast and thus create an uneven burn. Moral of the story, make sure that you keep your premium cigars at the proper humidity.

Moving on from that, there is also the variable of your environment. Your cigars may be perfectly packed and rolled, humidified, but if your environment is very humid, or too windy, or even too dry, the same outcomes of improper humidity storage can occur naturally as a byproduct of your smoking environment. Although indoor smoking venues are slowly being squeezed out of business, it remains the ideal place to enjoy a cigar because indoor environments allow for temperature and humidity control, thus removing this variable from thought.

Finally, there is one of the most important principles of cigar smoking, thermodynamics. Have you ever heard the cigar tips from connoisseurs that when you smoke a cigar, after each puff to rotate the cigar? Well, that is not just an elitist or particularists convention, it has a mechanical purpose. The cigar is its own thermodynamic system; when you light the cigar, the cigar is in a state of combustion. Because of that, and the physical nature of heat, the hot air and smoke rise, as is apt of hot molecules. Therefore, if you keep your cigar in the same position, the hot smoke will always rise to the top of the cigar, and the hot smoke will naturally extinguish the ability for oxygen to burn that portion of the cigar. This is why it is common to see the bottom of a cigar burn faster than the top, thus resulting in an uneven burn. All of that is because there is less oxygen to burn at the upper part of the cigar than at the bottom of it. Moral of the story, after every puff of your cigar, or at a regular time interval, take a second to rotate your cigar about 45 degrees. This will help to relieve unnecessary lights.

In conclusion, cigar smoking is called an art for a reason, there are many nuances to adapt to, but it is also a science because there is a lot involved within the cigar system itself. Take the time to understand every cigar your are about to smoke as well as the environment that you plan to smoke in. Doing this will help you to avoid wasting time on the technical aspects of smoking your cigar, and afford you more time to actually enjoy it.Smoking-Pipe-icon

Class dismissed.


By: Steven Umbrello

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