Why Do Some Cigars Unravel?

cigar havanaI don’t know how often this occurs to better, premium quality cigars (it should not, though), but cigars unraveling is pretty a common problem encountered by cigar smokers with their ordinary, run-of-the-mill cigars. There are a number of reasons why the cigar wrapper begins to peel open and can be controlled and prevented with proper handling and cigar care.

Cigars consist of three parts: there’s the filler or core, the binder, and the wrapper. The filler refers to the tobacco inside the cigar and is responsible for about half of the cigar’s flavor. For hand-made cigars, the fillers are usually a combination of long tobacco leaves bundled or bunched together by a tobacco leaf fittingly called the binder. For machine-made cigars, the binder clumps together short remnants of tobacco leaves, chemicals, and other substances.

After the binder has been applied, the cigar is then rolled into shape and placed in molds until the semi-complete cigar becomes ready to be covered by the tobacco wrapper. The cigar wrapper is actually another layer of carefully grown tobacco leaf.

Tobacco leaves that serve to be cigar wrappers need to be flexible enough so that they won’t crack when rolled over the cigar. One can usually determine if the cigar is bad by looking carefully at the wrapper.

When cracks are present on the cigar’s outer surface, this is usually an indication that the cigar is dry and has not received proper humidification and storage. A good cigar has a wrapper that is a little bit oily and has a sort of smooth luster to it. The wrapper is very sensitive to temperature and humidity conditions, that’s why it is important to store cigars properly.

Sometimes, human error is the reason why cigar wrappers peel off. It is possible that workers who rolled the cigar in factories and home-made cigar shops made mistakes along the way causing the badly rolled cigars. However, premium cigars are manufactured under strict quality control by very skilled workers which makes human error as an unlikely reason for cigars to unravel.

Another reason is when cigars dry up. When the cigar wrapper dries up, the tobacco leaf loses whatever elastic property it has. It will peel off even exposing parts of the binder and filler. If you notice that the cigar is starting to peel open in the head, you can help moisten the wrapper with your tongue. You can do the same when the wrapper starts to unravel in the middle part. Usually, moistening the wrapper with your saliva would be enough to reseal the the loose wrapper.

The problem, however, is when the cigar wrapper starts to open up on the lit end. Obviously you can’t moisten it with your tongue. Although, you can continue smoking and hope that the cigar wrapper will stop unraveling. But if it does not, you could remove the wrapper altogether and continue with your smoke.

But, this is something I would not recommend. Not only will the cigar taste different, since the tobacco wrapper contributes about 20% of the cigar flavor, but you might find smoking an unwrapped cigar not that appealing.

Sometimes, the way you cut the cigar also causes the wrapper to peel open. Cutting the coned shaped head of a cigar at the widest part is almost a certain way to cause the wrapper to unravel. What you should do is just cut near the cigar’s shoulder or the area where the cap of the cigar begins to straighten out.

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