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How to Deal with a Crackling Cigar


No doubt, we all enjoy our cigars, whether they be large-sized, medium-sized, small/tiny-sized, hand-made, or even machine-made. It’s that flavor & aroma from the tobacco and the wrapper that bring about such a blissful cigar smoking experience. However, if you’ve been a cigar smoker for quite some time now, you might’ve come across certain rare issues. One of those would be cigar crackling. Today, we will cover how and why this happens, and what you can do to fix the problem before simply tossing that cigar in the trash.

Why Do Cigars Crackle?

If your cigar crackles when you smoke it, it is often a sign that the cigar is too dry. When the moisture content is too low, the tobacco burns too fast and unevenly, which can cause a crackling sound. Here are common reasons and what they indicate:

  1. Temperature and Humidity: Environmental factors, such as the temperature and humidity of the smoking environment, can impact how a cigar burns and whether it crackles. Extreme temperature or humidity conditions can exacerbate cracking issues.
  2. Too Dry: As mentioned, a dry cigar will often crackle and burn too quickly. This is because the low moisture content causes the tobacco to be brittle and combustible.
  3. Uneven Burning: Uneven burning can also contribute to crackling. If a cigar is not properly lit or if it burns unevenly, certain parts of the tobacco may ignite more vigorously, causing a crackling or popping noise as it combusts.
  4. Air Pockets: Sometimes, air pockets can form within a cigar as it is rolled. These air pockets can create areas of uneven combustion, leading to crackling sounds as the cigar burns through these pockets.
  5. Foreign Particles: Occasionally, crackling can also be caused by small bits of foreign matter in the tobacco, like tiny stems or even sand, that combust suddenly when the burn reaches them.
  6. Over-humidification: If a cigar is overly humidified, the outside may be moist, but the inside can be much drier, leading to a crackling sound from the interior as it burns unevenly.
  7. Tobacco Varieties: Different tobacco varieties and blends can produce varying levels of crackling sounds when smoked. The crackling can be influenced by the type of tobacco used, its moisture content, and how tightly the cigar is rolled.
  8. Construction Issues: Sometimes the way a cigar is rolled can cause crackling. If it's rolled too tightly, air pockets can form, and when the burn reaches these pockets, it can cause a crackling sound.

How to Prevent Cigar Cracking?

To prevent cigar crackling, it's crucial to maintain proper storage conditions for your cigars. Luckily for you we have some prevention tips that you can use.

Prevention Tip #1: Maintain Proper Humidity Levels

A common cause of cigar cracking is insufficient humidity. Cigars should be stored at a relative humidity between 62%-72% to prevent them from drying out and cracking​​​​​​, depending on personal preference and the cigar's requirements.

Prevention Tip #2: Avoid Extreme Temperatures and Direct Sunlight

Cigars should be kept away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight exposure, as these can cause the cigars to dry out or swell, leading to cracks​​.

Prevention Tip #3: Careful Handling

When handling your cigars, be gentle to avoid squeezing them too tightly, which can contribute to cracking​​.

Prevention Tip #4: Gradual Re-humidification

When re-humidifying cigars, do it gradually. Introduce increases in humidity in a step-by-step manner to prevent the wrappers from cracking as stogies expand and then contract with changes in moisture.

Prevention Tip #5: Dry Boxing

During winter or dry conditions, it can be beneficial to dry box your cigars before smoking them. This process involves placing cigars in a less humid environment to slowly adjust the moisture content, thereby reducing the risk of crackling when they are smoked.

Cigar Crackling isn’t the End of the World

By closely monitoring and adjusting the environment where you store your cigars, you can significantly reduce the risk of them crackling. Also, it is recommended to use a high-quality humidor and to ensure that the door is closed tightly to maintain the correct humidity levels​​. Additionally, always check if your hygrometer, which measures the humidity level inside the humidor, is calibrated correctly. These steps should help in reducing the likelihood of your cigars cracking. Again, if you suspect your cigar is too dry, you might try to re-humidify it slowly before smoking.

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