Nubbing Your Cigars With A Little Help

With about an inch to go, I put the matchstick in the stub.
With about an inch to go, I put the matchstick in the stub.
When it comes to table manners, remember how your Mom would tell you that there are only certain foods you can eat with your hands such as hot dogs, fried chicken, pizza, fries, etc. I wonder if there are such rules when it comes to smoking cigars down to the nub. For example, is it proper to use a tool to get those last few puffs out of a really good cigar?

I bring this up because of something that I did a few nights ago. I was smoking an Oliva Serie O Perfecto, which is a bit short to begin with, plus it has a tapered head. The cigar was smoking beautifully and offered a lot of flavor. When I got down to the nub I didn’t want to let it go, but I didn’t want to burn my fingers either. In the ashtray was a cedar matchstick that I had used to light a scented candle. So, I plucked it out of the ashtray and inserted the charred sharp end into the nub at just nubbing cigars
Another look at the stub as it begins to form an ash.
under a half-inch. I found that this works best if you twist the match in about a quarter of an inch. I also noticed that smoke does not escape from the hole, and the cigar continued to smoke perfectly. So, would this technique be acceptable amongst a group of cigar smokers? You may get a couple of funny looks, but I see no reason to cease doing this. If you can get more out of your cigar, more power to you. The only reason I can offer for not doing this is if the cigar has turned bitter by the time it gets down to nub-size length.

Useful tools for uber-nubbing your cigars are toothpicks, paper clips (though they can cause the nub to spin on you), a jeweler’s screwdriver, and of course, the old, reliable forceps that are normally used for nubbing something else.

There is also one other thing I learned by doing this. Normally, when your cigar is still mostly intact, you should let your cigar rest a minute or so between puffs. This helps prevent it from getting too bitter too soon. how to smoke cigars
Finished with less than half-an-inch left. Now THAT’S a nubber!
Now, assuming the cigar still has some good flavor coming from it, you need to let the nub rest about 2-3 minutes. Remember, the nub is going to be pretty hot, so the longer you let it cool, the less chance it will tar up and go sour on you. Just try not to let it go out on you.

As you can see by the photos here, I smoked the cigar down to the matchstick. Whether the credit goes to my technique or to Oliva for making such a great-tasting cigar, even that very last puff was delicious.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any cigar smoker try this in public. Then, I’ve never heard any cigar smokers say it was uncouth, either. If you’re at a cigar bar, ask the bartender for a toothpick and go for it. Practically speaking, if you can, why shouldn’t you try to get all of your money’s worth out of a great cigar?

Famous Smoke Shop


The world's fastest, friendliest, and best place to buy cigars! Since 1939, Famous Smoke Shop has prided itself on offering the freshest, largest selection cigars at the most competitive prices, and customer service that can't be beat.


  1. JackBNimble says:

    Best tool I’ve seen for the job is a corn holder, made for holding corn on the cob. They have 2 thin (but sturdy) metal prongs, and a nicely shaped handle.

  2. Gary Korb says:

    Hey Jack,
    What a great corny idea! Wish I’d thought of it. The other advantage is, because you have two prongs, it will prevent the stub from spinning, as it would on a paper clip. Of course, you could bend a paper clip and make two prongs, but I really like the corn holder idea. Can you imagine taking one of those out in a cigar lounge to finish your cigar? Especially one that looks like an ear of corn.

  3. Matthew says:

    Since the Nub 466 and 464 are my favorites, this is a great tip! Thanks!

  4. Matthew says:

    I would brown the corn plastic part to make it look authentic, like a perfecto.

  5. Gary Korb says:

    LOL That’s classic! I love the idea. Thanks Matt.

  6. Tommy Zman says:

    Gary, only a demented freak would nub their cigars like this, and that’s what I like about you. Always entertaining, bro.
    - Tommy Z.

  7. Mike says:

    Cool idea! As an electronics nut, the first thing that came to mind after reading about the corn cob holder was a wire clip. One thought led to another, and I was soon chuckling over what kind of stares one would get by using a “roach clip” for one’s cigar….

    The corn cob holder is a stroke of genius! The matchstick is perfect too, especially in a pinch!

  8. Gary Korb says:

    Hey Tommy. What can I say? When you’re home alone sometimes, you just come up with weird stuff to write. LOL

  9. John H Bozovich says:

    Apparently everyone has forgotten poor ole “Freddie the Freeloader” who frequently when rising from his bath bed; would be sporting a “nub” on the end of a toothpick.

  10. Gary Korb says:

    @John H.: Are you referring to the Red Skelton character? I remember the old TV show and the clown with the cigar, but I don’t remember seeing “Freddie” holding a stub with a toothpick. Of course, I was VERY young at the time. LOL.

  11. Shidoshi says:

    The match stick idea is actually a great one. I, too, have been faced with that same dilemma when enjoying some excellent cigars. In fact, I was burning my finger tips and my lips the other night on a Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial – one of the finer cigars I’ve had in recent memory. I wish I had thought of this idea, but the poking of a hole in the wrapper deterred me because I was worried it would cause the nub to unravel or the smoke to escape to somewhere other than my mouth! I’m actually surprised there’s not a tool or accessory sold that allows smokers to enjoy those last few puffs with their fingertips intact! Oh well – necessity is the mother of invention, right?

  12. Gary says:

    There are some nubbing tools out there, but when a toothpick or matchstick will do the trick, why pay more? IMHO, I get the feeling that nubbing with your bare fingers has sort of a “machismo” aspect to it, which is why you don’t see a lot of smokers doing this in public.

  13. Tse'Nagi ( Buffalo Spirit ) says:

    This has been a practice of mine for some time now, I invented a device to do this while I was camping, Sitting by the fire I took a small stick from the kindling pile and carved a nice sharp point @ one end to poke into the cigar. Didn’t the roach clip get hot when you used it ?

  14. Gary Korb says:

    I never used a “roach clip,” only a paper clip, but as I noted in the blog, it’s not that it got hot, the cigar stub kept spinning around on it. The square cedar match seemed to work best for me.