If you’ve spent any time on online cigar forums, you’ve probably read some weird things that people do before, during and after smoking a stogie. Part of this could come from how they were taught to do it, but a large part of it comes from the fact that cigar smoking involves a lot of ritualistic devotion, and will be different for nearly every smoker. Today, we’re going to look at one of the points of contention between smokers: Wetting the cigar before smoking it.
The Thought Process
So why do some people wet their cigars? It all depends on a certain school of thought, and the variables around the stick itself, the smoker, and the conditions in which it’s being smoked. Some smokers lick or moisten with liquor, only the cap either before or after they cut it. Others have been known to actually lick the entire stick, and others still will put a portion of the stick on their mouth and rotate it. Some like to get a small “pre-taste” of the cigar before actually smoking it, and others are doing it to moisten the wrapper even more.
Actually Wetting the Stick
Actually wetting your cigar though, by running it under tap water or spraying with a spray bottle is what we are looking to explain here. The method is to leave the cigar uncut and run it under a slowly running faucet for 5-7 seconds, rotating it so as to make sure the wrapper is evenly touched by the water. You then distribute the water more evenly with your finger. Some will then use a paper towel to remove the excess. However, it’s very important to remember to not get the filler wet at all, as that could make the stick un-smokable. You could also simply spray water at the stick in the same manner from a spray bottle.
Pros and Cons
There are a sub-set of cigar smokers that claim wetting the wrapper prior to smoking will both help to develop the flavor of the cigar, as well as provide a cooler smoke. The full list of supposed pros are:
- Cooler Smoke
- More Smoke Production
- Better Smoke Quality
- Longer Ash
- Slightly changes flavor and Finish
- Could assist with cold weather smoking
The changes to the flavor and finish can include mellowing and adding more “fullness.” However, as with anything else there are cons as well, and here they are:
- Could make cut less even
- Could cause uneven burn
- Some have reported trouble evenly lighting
Back in the day, before we had all the lovely technology that we’ve now like hygrometers, or an actual understanding of how to properly humidify cigars in transit, folks would moisten their cigars either by licking the entire thing, or in some cases quickly dunking their cigar in whatever liquor they were drinking, immediately before cutting it. Today, however, cigars are shipped and stored at proper temperature and humidity the vast majority of the time, so most people consider it unnecessary. If you decide to use the above methods to moisten a cigar before smoking, please do so carefully and don’t do it on a stick, you’d be heartbroken if you messed up.