Cigar Aficionado

The Questionable Process of Purging Your Cigar

I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t know what the hell purging a cigar was until recently. I am only using “hell” because my editors would cut the proper four-letter word for this column.

I guess I never thought about purging my cigar. It sounds sort of nasty. I only purge smelly or bad things. That normally means dumping, flushing or burying things that I purge. And, thank God, my cigars do not fit into that category unless something has gone very, very wrong.

In fact, I can’t think of the last time I didn’t finish a cigar unless it was bad or I had already smoked so many before it that I could not finish the smoke. So I would never purge them anyways.

I assume most of you know what I am talking about. It’s basically blowing outwards on your cigar, instead of sucking, at some point in the smoke. Some say it improves the quality of the cigar and delays the point at which it turns. Others say that by purging the cigar you can let it go out and then smoke it later – even the next morning. Check out the video with Edward Sahakian, the owner of the Davidoff cigar shop in London, who is one of my very good friends. He tells you how to do it.

I am not convinced. Friends can get it wrong! I have never enjoyed a partially smoked cigar the day after unless I was still drunk or there was nothing else left to smoke. I think I once smoked an old half-smoked stick while marlin fishing in Cabo San Lucas, but everything smelled of the sea, diesel and bait. And the tequila and beer was still fresh on my mind. So it made no difference!

Come on! An old, partially smoked cigar just doesn’t taste the same. It’s like drinking a beer that’s been open all day, eating a steak that has gone cold, or sipping your morning coffee after dinner. Yuck! Gag! Choke!

But am I missing something? Am I not being one of the lads? Have I missed one of the great cigar smoking experiences?

"I purge when I get one of those nasty tasting holes in the middle of my smoke (I'm inclined to believe it is a stem). Purging seems to burn the nasty out, at least for a little while." —May 13, 2014 13:39 PM
"I was initially turned off by the very idea of using purging to bring a cigar back from the dead. I still am for that purpose. That said, I had one that was on its death bed anyway and decided to try it in the name science. As I smoked this dieing beast that had lost it pleasurable flavor to the bitters, I decided to purge. It was two puffs from the ashtray anyway. It was a success! I blew through the cigar very gently while holding the flame to its exposed cherry until the gasses had burned away. As you purge it seems the impurities are blown through the foot and ignite. After this the smoke was no longer bitter and again enjoyable. I wouldn't do it to a cigar that is performing as expected but in this case it was a fine cigar that was behaving badly. " —September 14, 2012 09:55 AM
"in addition, I did not see that this article was three years old. So I guess that's a fail on my part" —July 10, 2011 03:28 AM
"i've never heard of purging a cigar so that you can smoke it the next day. I personally just don't like saving half-smoked cigars. The reason I purge however is because towards the end the cigar accumulates a bitter flavor and after purging it goes away, at least for awhile." —July 10, 2011 03:25 AM
"I'll say it if James can't:Fuck that." —April 24, 2008 14:58 PM
"I've tried to do this several times but for the life of me, it never tastes good the next day. On occassion, I will puff outward on a lit cigar just to...well, I don't know why I do that. But as far as saving a half-smoked cigar for later...I agree with Edward: Fuck that!!!" —April 24, 2008 22:18 PM
"I've puffed outward on a lit cigar if it's about to go out. I've found that it helps to keep it going. I've never purged a cigar to smoke it again the next day. In my opinion, smoking a cigar that has already been smoked is not pleasurable. Yet, to each his own." —April 25, 2008 12:05 PM