Cigars bitter at first, then round out

Q. I’ve noticed that no matter what cigar I take out of the humidor, it tastes bitter when I light it up, and then becomes flavorful after it burns for a while. It happened yesterday on two totally different, very high-qualitycigars. Any thoughts on what’s going on?
– Jerry in Reston, VA

A.  I’ve noticed this myself over the years, but only on occasion, not as frequently as you seem to have experienced. I also remember asking about this phemomenon to a very highly-respected master blender a few years ago.

What happens is, sometimes a little ammoniac works its way into the end of the foot during the aging process, which is where the bitterness comes from. Once it burns-off, the cigar rounds out.

The only thing I can think of that would cause every cigar you reach for to taste bitter would be that you have a lot of cigars that were not fermented properly. (See also: “Funny odor in humidor.”)

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor at

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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