Relighting your cigar

Q. When my cigar goes out and I relight it, it often tastes bitter. Is there anything I can do about this?
A. Relighting a cigar can be a tricky business. One technique is to clear the entire foot of all ash by gently rubbing and/or tapping it on the ashtray. You then re-toast the cigar to get the wrapper going. Relight the cigar by puffing, then blowing OUT through the cigar, which is supposed to clear the foot of tar and resins left from the previous light. The downside of this technique is that sometimes you blow out sparks, turning your cigar into a Roman candle.

I’ve tried this in the past with some success, but I stumbled upon what I think is a better way to go. I clip the cigar about 1/4 to 1/2-inch behind the ash. This leaves you with mostly fresh tobacco. However, you may often find the tobacco in the center a little scorched depending on how deep you cut. This may still cause a little bitterness, depending on how hard you puff on your cigars, but it does tend to make the cigar taste less bitter.

Also keep in mind that depending on how far down you are when you relight, lots of tars and such have already started moving back toward the head. So, the easier you puff and the more you let the cigar “breathe” between puffs can make a big difference in how well the cigar will withstand a relight.

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