Cigar Tips & Tricks: Correcting an Uneven Burn

What do you do when your cigar stops burning like this…


And starts burning like this…?

photo courtesy

Few things throw off the cigar smoking experience like a canoed burn. There are a few ways to correct this issue that don’t involve throwing your cigar into the backyard in a rage. Here are a few suggestions, one of which you may not be familiar with, but first, a few “do nots” of touching up your cigar.

Do nots of touching-up a cigar:

1. If you are using a flame to touch-up the cigar, be careful not to burn the wrapper of the cigar with the flame. So much of the flavor comes from the wrapper that burning it prematurely will release the flavors oils on the wrapper, and therefore the flavor. Don’t let it happen!

2. Don’t clip your cigar just because you’ve had a burn that gets uneven. It is totally unnecessary.

A few ways to touch up our cigar:

1. Traditional flame approach: hold the cigar close enough to the match where the overhanging part of the wrapper slowly smokes and turns to ash, but do not let the cigar touch the flame. This will ensure that the wrapper doesn’t light on fire and prematurely burn.

Depending on how uneven the burn is, it is possible that the cigar has actually drifted from being completely lit, so it may be important to actually relight the cigar.

2. Using the purge to straighten the burn: One of the lesser known ways of straightening the burn is simply by pushing air outward through the cigar 2 or 3 times, then pulling in. Pushing air through the cigar not only purges the cigar and improves flavor, but it also pushes the ember in the cigar forward and out, catching the pieces of the binder and wrapper that weren’t burning before.

A tip here though: don’t purge too hard or you risk pushing the ash off of the cigar, which could complicate the burn even more. Pushing too hard could also overheat the ember and crack the binder/wrapper.

3. Using a torch lighter: The same principle as with a match. Aim the torch at the uneven wrapper/binder elements, and without lighting the whole cigar on fire, gently burn even the burn.

4. Turning the uneven portion so that it faces downward: I’ve always found this trick to touching-up my cigar to be pretty non-effective, but you’ll find cigar smokers on forums all over the place that swear by it as a method. Just don’t hold on to this method for too long. If it doesn’t work, try a purge, then pull out your lighter.