Subscribe to Cigar Aficionado and receive the digital edition of our Premier issue FREE!

Email this page Print this page
Share this page

Wetting the Head Before Cutting

I watched a movie where a cigar smoker wet the head of his cigar with his mouth before clipping and lighting it. Is this necessary or correct?
Posted: November 12, 2012

It's not really necessary, but it's not incorrect, either.

Cigar smoking is a multi-sensory experience with a healthy dose of ritual and anticipation. Some people like to moisten the tip prior to clipping in order to taste the wrapper leaf by itself. It's just one more piece of information about the cigar.

For instance, if your tongue tingles after moistening the tip, you can probably expect a spicy smoke; if the wrapper tastes neutral, the cigar is likely to be mild.

There's also a more practical reason to moisten the tip. If a cigar is slightly dry, moistening the tip lessens the chance of cracking the wrapper when the cigar is cut. However, if a cigar is very dry, no amount of moistening will prevent wrapper breakage.

Click here for our tutorial video on cigar cutters.

Have a question for the Cigar Aficionado editors? Submit it here

Share |

Comments   7 comment(s)

Nick Skinas November 30, 2011 2:38am ET

I understand about wetting the tips to prevent cracking, and I used to ‘wet before cut’ too, but now I do not. I found that my cutter got “sticky” with moist tobacco bits and pieces. I choose to cut, taste and draw, in order to judge the air flow.

Gary Gengler — Anaheim , CA - 92807, USA,  —  November 30, 2011 2:35pm ET

I can appreciate wetting the tip as well, however, I don't do that; no reason either. The steps I take start with scissors, so no residuals issues; then cut, taste, blow, draw, then toast the foot and light.

Elliot Ghigliotty Ghigliotty — Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,  —  November 30, 2011 8:51pm ET

I used to wet the tip before cutting just to prevent cracking, but I don't do it anymore. Also liked to "taste" the wrapper, but now I just enjoy it as I smoke. Again, this is a matter of the ritual each person has to enjoy the most of each cigar.

Jacob Hunt December 18, 2011 3:06am ET

Was this The Devils Double?

T D — Paducah, KY, USA,  —  November 14, 2012 9:10pm ET

What about wetting and never cutting? I have heard of setting the edge of the tip in rum, which makes the cap more porous and requires no cutting.

Never tried it though, my preference is to slice the end off to get the full flavor of the stick. Plus I assume tar would build-up by this alternative no-cut method

Any one else?

Francois Legrand — Montreal, Qc, Canada,  —  December 10, 2012 3:42pm ET

I wet the tip, toast the foot, then cut and light.

Michael Tarone — Bellefonte, PA, USA,  —  January 5, 2013 11:46am ET

I have observed people wetting the end of their cigar in a B&M before cutting. The only problem I see with that is they were using a community cutter that the B&M put out for everyone's convenience. Yuck, very bad etiquette.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In If You're Already Registered At Cigar Aficionado Online

Forgot your password?

Not Registered Yet? Sign up–It's FREE.


Search By:



Cigar Insider

Cigar Aficionado News Watch
A Free E-Mail Newsletter

Introducing a FREE newsletter from the editors of Cigar Aficionado!
Sign Up Today