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Top 10 Most Asked Questions About Cigars

In no particular order, here are answers to 10 of the most commonly asked questions about cigar smoking
Posted: July 19, 2010

At Cigar Aficionado, one of our missions is to educate readers about the finer points of cigar smoking and to provide the most complete and accurate information possible to help smokers further their enjoyment of cigars. We try our best to answer readers' questions.

In no particular order, here are answers to 10 of the most commonly asked questions about cigar smoking. If you're new to cigars, you will find this section invaluable, and if you've been smoking for years, you may learn some things you had not previously considered.

Q. My cigars are overhumidified. What can I do to restore the humidor to optimal conditions? Can the cigars be saved?

A. In most cases, the cigars can be saved. Overhumidification is a problem, especially prevalent during summer or in warmer, more sultry climates. But there are ways to combat it, and to ensure that your humidor stays in top shape year-round.

Adding cedar strips to the humidor—you'll find these in many cigar boxes—will help maintain optimum moisture levels. Put a strip or two on the bottom of the humidor, a strip in the middle, and another on top, and you'll watch the humidity reading drop as the cedar absorbs the humidor's extra moisture. Just keep an eye on the cigars, and add or remove cedar until you've reached the desired humidification.

The one thing you should not do is simply leave the lid of the humidor open—this can lead to wild fluctuations in humidity, and turn cigars that are too moist into dried-out cigars in a short time. Another thing to consider is the number of cigars in your humidor; if you have a very large box containing few cigars, the smokes may absorb more than their proper share of humidity.

Q. Although I generally use guillotine cutters, I was recently given a stylish wedge cutter. What's the difference, and will I damage my cigar?

A. Wedge cutters were conceived decades ago, when the average cigar was much thinner than it is today. They were designed to open up a larger opening to channel the smoke, which is a consideration for lonsdales and coronas but generally not an issue for thicker cigars such as robustos. As a general rule, we prefer guillotines, as cigars cut with wedge cutters can accumulate tars that do not build up when using a straight cut. Also, wedge cutters tend to be imprecise in comparison with straight cutters, and you run the risk of damaging the cigar.

The third type of cutter that has become popular is the bullet, or lance, cutter. This type of cutter makes a circular hole in the head of the cigar, and it, too, has its drawbacks. First, it is easy to pierce the cigar too deeply, creating a tunnel near the head that makes the cigar burn hot. Also, as with a wedge cutter, the bullet hole left in the cigar's head allows tars to build up near the mouth of the smoker, frequently altering or souring the cigar's taste.

Q. I've noticed a powdery substance on several of my cigars. What is this, and need I be concerned?

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