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Plugged Cigars

I recently received a box of Montecristo No. 4s as a gift and the draw on every one I have smoked so far has been incredibly tight. Is there any way of curing a tight draw?
Posted: June 16, 2014

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It's not easy. But it can be done.

Plugged cigars sometimes have a knot in the bunch that keeps enough smoke from reaching your mouth. A determined cigar smoker can attempt to massage the knot in order to try to loosen the bunch.

This is a delicate process. It takes some pressure to work through a knot, but applying too much force can easily split a cigar's wrapper. From our experience no matter how hard you try, you run a pretty good chance of splitting the wrapper.

Unfortunately, most draw problems stem from when a buncher has twisted the filler tobacco while making the bunch. If this is the case, massaging isn't going to help.

Some products have come to market allowing a smoker to punch holes through a cigar. We've had mixed results with these tools. In the long run, remember that cigars are handmade products and subject to the shortcomings of human beings. If you have a plugged cigar, perhaps you should simply chalk it up to experience and pick up a fresh smoke.

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Comments   6 comment(s)

Tom Buckley — Lady Lake, Florida, USA,  —  June 17, 2014 11:56am ET

I cut about 5 inches off the bottom of a metal coat hanger, saving the 'hooked' end so I would have something to hold onto, and use it like a probe, carefully inserting it down the middle of the cigar until I feel it "break through." Works every time on a plugged cigar.

Darrow Clark — Keene, NH, US,  —  June 17, 2014 12:01pm ET

I had a plugged LaGloria last night. After several attempts with massage I turned to a trusty paper clip. Opening the paper clip and inserting it relieved the tightness and allowed for a pleasant finish.

Brian Huston June 17, 2014 4:17pm ET

I also enjoy smoking my pipe and have found that when I get a plugged cigar my pipe tool usually works very well pearsing the plug.

Bruce Parrish June 19, 2014 2:16pm ET

If it is a fresh box, I would recommend dry-boxing a cigar for a day or two to see if it loosens up. Unless you actually feel a plug in the cigar, it could just be that they are a bit moist and need to dry out for a bit. June 23, 2014 12:00am ET

I've tried drawpokers (and coathangers) with very little success. Typically, as soon as the heat from the cherry approaches the unlit tobacco, it will swell.... even a little swelling will usually reseal the hole.
And, agreeing with Bruce, wholesalers usually maintain a higher humidity to minimize drying out during shipment. It's always tempting to try out that new cigar "right off the truck", but cigar 101..... any cigar that's been through any kind of shipping should be allowed to rest/cure for a while. I personally prefer at least a few weeks to a month of rest.

Alex Lyman — Manchester, ct, United States,  —  April 4, 2015 12:07pm ET

When I do not get enough smoke from my draw, the problem is typically due to a sizeable stem or stems that were not excised from the filler. This happens with the most noteable brands, purchased from local quality shops, unfortunately. Usually I can feel a rigid stem at the cigar's draw end, and it can be carefully wriggled out. A full draw is then usually restored. You'll be amazed at the large stems that come out of your favorite cigar.

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