It is supremely disappointing to light up a smoke and find that it is a “bad” cigar. So in the interest of helping to save our cigar-smoking brethren from experiencing these aggravating incidents, I am going to provide a few tips regarding warning signs of a bad cigar.
First, I’d like to say right up front that lower price/quality cigars cannot inherently be considered bad cigars any more than high priced/quality cigars can be considered inherently good cigars. When I talk about a bad cigar, I am talking about a cigar that is flawed, damaged or otherwise had its “smokability” significantly damaged.
A cigar may be bad because of poor construction, poor ingredients or poor care. Regardless of the reason, there are a few simple warning signs to look for when judging whether a cigar may be bad:
- Cracked or peeling cigar wrapper: a cracked or peeling cigar wrapper is a sign that the cigar may be dried out. This condition will certainly affect the draw of the cigar (normally makes it draw fast, burn quickly) and will often affect the robustness of the taste.
- Mold growth on the cigar wrapper: mold on the wrapper indicates the cigar was maintained in improper conditions (excessive humidity). But beware; what may look like mold often isn’t. The rule of thumb is if it is green in color and does not easily dust off, it is mold. If it is whitish in color and dusts off easily, then it is harmless cigar plume caused by an interaction between oxygen and the oils on the wrapper leaf.
- Sponginess or stiffness: if a cigar is too spongy when you gently squeeze it in the middle, it is likely over-humidified or poorly constructed and may draw and burn poorly. If a cigar is too stiff or hard, it is likely dried out or poorly constructed and will deliver similar problems. A good cigar will depress slightly when squeezed gently in the middle and will immediately spring back to form when released.
Here are a few consistently good quality smokes I have enjoyed over the years and found very few faults with:
About the Author
The Cigar Don is the lead copywriter for StogieBoys.com, America's fasted growing cigar retailer. He is also the founder and editor of TheCigarDon.com, a leading cigar blog that delivers "real cigar talk to cigar guys." The Don knows his cigars and loves to talk about them with anyone that will listen. He's anything but a cigar snob. He will drop cigar knowledge on your, but he'll do it with plain talk every time.