Stop “listening” to your cigars

Q. I have seen some “aficionados” gently roll a cigar between thumb and index finger while holding it close to their ear prior to lighting up. I assume this is a test of freshness or proper humidification. It also seems this could really stress the wrapper. Can you shed some light on this?
– Ben G.

A.¬†Yes, it’s supposed to indicate freshness. I don’t know how this practice originated, but for the purposes of this response, allow me to quote Steve Saka, noted cigar writer extraordinaire,¬†president of Drew Estate Cigars, and creator of the Liga Privada No.9 cigars:

“Do not ‘listen’ to your cigar by placing it beside your ear as you roll it, as all cigars make that crinkle sound even when at their perfect moisture content – so, all you are accomplishing is making yourself look plain silly.” (Cigar Magazine, Spring 2008)

The best way to tell if a cigar is fresh is to very gently “pinch” it at the foot, middle and near the band. If it has a little “spring” to it, the cigar is fine.

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