How to Stop Your Cigar From Tasting Bitter
Aficionados, do you ever find that your Cuban cigar tastes awfully bitter? Much of the time, you can head straight to the assumption that you simply don't like the cigar. However, did you know, sometimes it's not the cigar itself - but the way you handle it? There are various ways you could be ruining the taste of your cigar without you even realising. Let's be honest, you do not want to invest in an expensive cigar and destroy the intended flavours. You want to taste all the genuine flavours and complexities that a great-quality cigar has to offer, right? So here are 5 ways you can stop your cigar from tasting terrible.
STOP PUFFING YOUR CIGAR TOO QUICKLY
The usual culprit for a bitter-tasting cigar is the speed at which you puff it! Think about it, tobacco is made of natural matter, and therefore it is susceptible to burning very quickly especially when it is blown. When tobacco is heated, tar and bitter chemicals are produced which creates the distasteful flavour, therefore, the faster you puff, the more bitter it gets. As the famous Zino Davidoff puts it, “A cigar symbolises rest, relaxation, leisure” and that “each puff carries its own pleasure”, so don’t be hasty! Slow down, give your cigar 1-2 puffs per minute and savour the flavours. You may also decide to clear the ammonia building up in the cigar by gently blowing air through the stick.
Image: Montecristo Box
HUMIDORS ARE IMPORTANT
When it comes to keeping a Cigar Collection, storing them properly is immensely important. By maintaining storage conditions, it will keep the tobacco fresh, preventing it from tasting bad. If neglected, a cigar can end up overly dry or too damp, and therefore affecting the smoothness of the draw and the flavour - just imagine ruining your expensive Cohiba Behike 52! It is best to purchase a Cigar Humidor like the S.T. Dupont Humidor to maintain the right levels of humidity for your cigar collection. You should also consider obtaining a digital hygrometer, it is the perfect instrument to measure and ensure that there is the right amount of humidity within the container so that the cigars do not go bad. In essence, you can use any tightly sealed container as long as you know the levels of humidity inside. Think about it, if your cigar dries up, the leaves would burn even faster and therefore generating those bitter chemicals.
LIGHT YOUR CIGAR THOROUGHLY
Every seasoned cigar aficionado knows that to achieve the optimum smoking experience, one must adequately, and evenly, burn the foot. Therefore, the Art of Lighting a Cigar is not merely just firing up the end and puffing it immediately - it is a slow and thoughtful ritual that must be done to ensure a smooth draw. There are a series of consequences that could happen if all fails - most notably - canoeing. Canoeing is a phenomenon where one side of the stick is burning quicker than the other, this is because oxygen is reacting quicker at the bottom compared to the top. This is a major implication for the taste of the cigar, as well as the draw because burning the leaves too quickly can make it develop an unpleasant bitter flavour. We suggest that if this does happen, use a lighter like the Davidoff Prestige Palladium Lighter to touch up one side of the cigar until it is even. Furthermore, the cigar may be tasting bitter due to the type of ignition you are using; sulphur matches, candles or stoves aren’t recommended.
Image: Sparking up a Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No. 2.
THE END IS TOO WET
Another way you could be making your cigar taste terrible is through over-moistening the head of your stick. Of course, while you are smoking, you will be placing the end of the cigar frequently in your mouth. If it becomes too wet with saliva, the bitterness will start to seep through your tastebuds. To resolve this issue, you should only keep the cigar in your mouth when you puff it, in other times, hold it in your hand.
IT'S SIMPLY A BAD CIGAR!
If all else fails, you might just have a bad cigar in your hands! Though it happens quite rarely, Cuban cigar manufacturers may fail to regulate the quality of the cigar, and consequently, aficionados end up with low-quality tobacco. Low-quality tobacco can influence a bitter flavour, and unfortunately, we cannot control whether we receive a bad cigar in the box. On the bright side, obtaining a bad Habanos can help us develop our palate for comparing cigars, and allow us to decide what are our preferences are.