Five Cigar Myths Extinguished
For centuries, cigar smoking has been subject to a number of myths and rumors. Until recently, it was seen as a hobby of the wealthy, so to appear cultured, people would create tales and theories of cigar smoking to make them seem part of the upper echelon.
However, following the cigar boom and the use of the internet, more and more information about cigars is readily available making even the new cigar smoker much more informed than before. Still, there are several false ideas about cigars that continue to permeate the minds of the average cigar smoker.
Today we seek to debunk these myths and provide straight facts. Here are five of the most common cigar myths.
A Dark Cigar is a Strong Cigar
This is by far the most common myths about cigars and frankly one of the more infuriating. The strength of a cigar comes from the nicotine content, which is produced more so by the filler and binder tobaccos. The wrapper is responsible for a higher percentage of the flavor than the strength.
A dark wrapper, commonly known as a Maduro, will offer a rich and heavier flavor and body, but that doesn’t mean it is going to be a strong cigar. For example, the Ashton Aged Maduro is wrapped in a dark, almost black Broadleaf wrapper yet on the strength scale it would be categorized as mellow to medium.
To simplify this even more, dark equals flavors, not strength.
Strength and Body are the Same
This myth actually ties into the one above. The strength and the body are two different attributes of a cigar. The strength of a cigar is based on the nicotine content and the effects it has on your body. To understand, you can compare it with alcohol. A straight shot of whiskey has a higher alcohol content than a light beer, and as a result, it is considered stronger.
The body of a cigar, however, refers to the amount and depth of the flavor one experiences with a cigar. A full-bodied cigar will offer you a rich and heavy amount of flavors, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into it being stronger.
To continue the alcohol comparison, Natty Daddy is a light beer with not a lot of flavor to it, however, it has a higher alcohol content then Rolling Rock. Therefore, Rolling Rock has more body, but Natty Daddy is stronger.
You Can Store Cigars In A Refrigerator
Not only is this idea wrong, but it will end up ruining your cigars. Cigars tend to be very delicate and need to be stored at the proper temperature and humidity. Perfect humidity is between 68-72%, while the temperature should be between right around 70°.
Obviously, your refrigerator is going to be much colder than this. This can cause oils on the wrapper to freeze off, which, in turn, leads to construction issues. If you’ve ever smoked a cigar on a very cold day, you will notice it will burn off and/or begin to split. This is because the oils needed to keep the cigar together are no longer viable, essentially causing the cigar to unravel.
Cuban Cigars Are The Best
This myth is based on the age-old saying, “people want what they can’t have”. For years, the majority of all premium cigars were coming out of Cuba. Following the Cuban Revolution, several of the country’s top growers and blenders left and began to establish operations throughout Central and South America. This was the beginning of the cigar industry as we know it today.
Now I will admit I have had some fantastic Cuban cigars. Their soil is rich in nutrients and the island provides the perfect conditions for growing premium cigar tobacco. However, the products coming out of the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua rival Cuba in terms of quality and flavor, and in my opinion, best them in terms of construction.
With Cuban cigars being illegal in the US, many novice smokers share this idyllic picture of them as these super high-end and unobtainable things of wonder. Ask any seasoned cigar smoker and they will tell you. I’ll take an Opus X or a Padron 1926 over a Cuban cigar any day.
You Need to Lick The End
This practice has transformed from one of necessity to one of just personal preference. In the “good ole days”, cigars were nowhere near as well maintained as they are today. Humidors were something only for the most hard-core hobbyists and the cigars were smoked in such abundance, very few people could tell the difference between a well-humidified cigar and one that dried out.
It was due to the overall lack of care and humidification, that cigars would easily crack or come apart at the end after being cut. It was a common practice to lick the end prior to cutting, using your saliva as a kind of paste to hold the end together.
In the current industry, cigars are being humidified and cared for from the factory to the store and to your house- so the licking of the end is no longer a necessary practice. However, several cigar smokers, myself included, lick the end both out of habit and to get an early preview of the taste and quality of the wrapper