Cigar Etiquette: Cigar Bands and When to take them off

July 8, 2022

Should I remove the band on my cigar while smoking? This is arguably one of the most asked questions by newcomers looking to enjoy the pleasures and customary rituals of smoking fine handmade premium cigars.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to this minor dilemma, so we have to respond by saying “yes” and “no” because the choice, in most cases, is totally up to you!

Before we delve further into this heated topic, let’s discuss the origins of the cigar band itself.

Legend has it that the cigar band was created to accommodate Catherine the Great, the Empress of Russia, in the late 18th century. Another rumor has it that her majesty didn’t want to soil her dainty fingers with residue from her cigars, but there is no reliable historical evidence to back this claim up.

Another unsupported tale from a century later reveals a concern among the British that cigars would stain the fashionable white gloves that women wore during this formal Victorian era.

Aside from the premise of staining Cathy’s fingers and soiling British women’s white gloves, Gustave Bock is credited with the invention of the cigar band around 1854 while helping to build the cigar industry in Cuba.

Keeping things simple and without any myths involved, Gustave created the designs of cigar bands to add visual appeal to the cigar while promoting further advertising for the brand being smoked.

Some smokers prefer keeping the cigar band on for the above reasons. Others would instead remove the band so no one knows what brand they are smoking.

That said, if you happen to be smoking a premium cigar of the finest pedigree, leaving the cigar band on will afford you some bragging rights while adding a luxurious look to the overall experience.

If you want to remove the band, we suggest you wait until your cigar is lit and has been smoking for a few minutes. This method will reduce the likelihood of damage to the wrapper leaf during the removal process. We say this because bands are attached with a sticky gum-like glue, and removing it too soon may tear the delicate wrapper.

Smoking the cigar for a few minutes first will soften the glue and loosen its hold on the wrapper, thus allowing you to remove the band without tearing the outer leaf slowly.

The current trend in the premium cigar industry today, especially among boutique cigar manufacturers, is to use elaborate single or dual bands that cover almost all of the cigar, giving you no choice but to remove it after the cigar warms up.

In summary, whether to take a cigar band off or leave it on while smoking is a personal choice dictated by the size of the band and your preferred style of smoking. Feel free to use this valuable information to end the debate quickly and resume smoking your favorite handmade premium cigars — with or without the band.

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One response to “Cigar Etiquette: Cigar Bands and When to take them off”

  1. Donna Haynes says:

    I’ll be turning 60 in June and I like to celebrate bye enjoying my first cigar with a nice glass of Maker’s Mark. I love the way a cigar smells the woodsy burning you just can’t help from being attracted to the aroma ,I’m not sure what cigar to smoke only that maybe the cigar and Maker’s Mark compliment each other.I would like a few suggestions before I beginner.

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