A: It could be you, the wrapper or a combination of the two. The thing about Maduros is, the wrappers are thicker than the thinner, silkier Connecticut Shade variety. If the cigar is well made, you shouldn’t have any burn issues, regardless of the wrapper leaf. Moreover, with thick wrappers you want to make sure that the seams are tight. If any part of the wrapper has some space between the seams, I can guarantee you it will burn crappy.
I just went through a bundle of maduros, and almost every one burned horribly. Once I began investigating what might be causing this, I believe I found the source of the problem. Just about every cigar had at least one spot where the wrapper was not completely flush at the seam. Smoke would leak through the space, and the next thing I knew, trouble ensued, because the heat caused the wrapper to lift up further. It was a disaster, to say the least. By the time I’d reach the midpoint, it looked like an exploding cigar.
In addition to checking the seams, here are a some other things that may help.
- Besides its naturally thicker skin, if a Maduro wrapper is especially oily that can negatively affect the burn. Wrappers that are very oily tend to have had less fermentation time, too.
- Try getting your humidor down to about 64 to 66% RH. If you’re smoking a lot of maduro cigars, try to dedicate a humidor just to them and keep it at the lower RH. They will respond better when lit.
- Make sure you get a good even light when applying the flame. Assuming you use a torch lighter, keep the flame far enough away to prevent over-lighting, but close enough to make the tobacco glow. Blow on the foot as you turn it to ensure it’s completely lit, before you start puffing. You want to make sure the binder has taken, which helps all of the tobaccos burn. Also rotate your cigar in your fingers between puffs, especially if you smoke outside.
- You could also try dry-boxing the cigars before you smoke them. Get an empty cigar box and place the cigars in there for a day or two before you smoke them. This will suck a little extra moisture out of them. It’s a pretty neat trick that I now use often.