Cigars 101

Why is My Cigar’s Filler Burning Faster Than the Wrapper?

Q: Why is the filler on the inside of the cigar burning faster than the wrapper on the outside?

A: What happened to your cigar was something called “tunneling.” That’s when the filler & binder (more likely the binder) burn faster than the wrapper. It’s not uncommon, but it is frustrating because it throws the whole character and flavor of the cigar off. From my experience, this usually happens when the wrapper leaf is too moist. Of course, it could have been just that cigar, but if it happens again try this:

Gently pinch the cigar at the band, mid-section and near the foot. If the cigar is supple throughout, it’s probably not the filler & binder. More likely, there’s too much moisture in the wrapper. This is more likely to happen with thicker, oilier wrappers, like a lot of Maduros, for instance. A good example is the La Floridita LE – it has a thick and oily Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. In either case, try letting the cigar sit out for the better part of the day to let the wrapper “dry out” a little. Then light it up and see how it burns.

There are also cases where there are minuscule gaps between the binder and wrapper. When you light-up, it may look like it’s burning fine, but eventually, the binder, which is designed to burn faster takes, over and you have a tunneling situation. I’m not sure if it’s due to poor rolling, or it happens while the cigars are aging in the factory, but I have found this latter situation happens more often in Pyramides and Torpedoes.

Finally, try to keep your RH at about 68% average. That works best for me. If you have a lot of cigars with similar dark, thick and/or oily wrappers, 65% is also quite acceptable, and even preferred, by a lot of cigar smokers.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

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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