Frequently Asked Questions
The ‘ring gauge’ is the measurement of a cigar’s width and is described in 64ths of an inch. Therefore a ring gauge of 42 measures 42/64 inch or 16.67mm in diameter. Likewise a cigar with a ring gauge of 50 has a girth of 50/64 inch or 19.84mm.
Hand rolled cigars should be stored at between 16-18°C and 63-70% relative humidity. The relative humidity is most crucial. If a Havana becomes too moist it will be hard to keep alight and the excess moisture will inhibit and dilute the natural oils which are released when you light a cigar. Conversely, if you allow the cigar to dry out, these oils will have dissipated and may result in an unsatisfactory smoking experience.
No. This is called ‘bloom’ or ‘plume’ and occurs naturally on Havana cigars, most often when they are subjected to a sudden increase in humidity. It is a sign that the cigars are alive and well and should simply be removed with a soft brush or by rubbing your finger along the cigar.
Yes. First tap it gently in an ashtray to remove any excess ash and then gently blow through it to clear out any stale, residual smoke that may linger within the filler. Now reapply a flame to burn away the edge of the wrapper and then light as with a new cigar. This is only recommended if the cigar has been extinguished for less than an hour or so. Any longer than that and the cigar may taste bitter or charred.
No. Though wrapper colours vary between boxes, from Claro (light brown) to Maduro (dark brown), it is the blend of the filler leaves that dictates the intensity of flavour and aroma. If anything the wrapper leaf provides a slight ‘top-taste’, with dark wrappers adding a touch of sweetness and light wrappers providing a hint of dryness.
It is important to store cigars correctly at all times. Unprotected cigars can quickly dry out, becoming fragile and run the risk of damage. If the cigars have lost moisture over a short period of time and feel a bit hard, they are easy enough to revive. Simply place them back into a well maintained humidor and allow them to reacclimatise. This may take a few days to accomplish. Cigars that have dried out over a longer period of time are more problematic. If kept too dry for too long cigars will permanently lose their natural oils and taste. It is always worth trying to revive cigars from this condition as the alternative is to throw them away, but success is far from guaranteed.
Never light a cigar using a fuel lighter. The odour and the taste of fuel will be transferred to your cigar. Instead, light your cigar using a wooden match, a strip of cedar, or a butane lighter.
Wedge cutters are popular, especially for thinner cigars. However, a guillotine cutter is better when you have cigars with a large gauge as they will cut through the cigar more evenly. Since modern cigars are thicker, a guillotine cutter is optimal for slicing through cigars. Cigar punches are also an option and are used to pierce a hole in the head of the cigar. However, if done wrong, this can make the cigar burn too hot, which will alter the flavours.
Many manufacturers wrap their cigar with cellophane or place in a tube to include the mandatory warning labels and protect the cigar while sellers are handling it. Before placing your cigars in your humidor, it will be best to remove the cellophane wrappers or tube.
The golden rule here is that a cigar is done whenever you’re no longer enjoying it. But as a general maxim, we smoke our cigars about half to two-thirds of the way down. The reason is that a cigar gets hotter and more powerful the further down you smoke it, and its flavor changes as tars and moisture build up near the cigar’s head. Smoke it too far, and you risk ruining the great flavor you’ve been enjoying. But this is simply a suggestion—if you’re still enjoying the cigar as its lit end is about to burn your fingertips, go right on smoking it. Cigar smoking, after all, is about enjoyment.