Tar and Cigars: A Match Made In Hell

Tar and Cigars - 1

Last week when Jerry and I sat down to record episode 36 of Your Questions, My Answers (YQMA) we both lit up a Por Larranaga that we received courtesy of Rich from the Fan Forums. About an inch and a half into the cigar I started to notice some tar droplets on the cut head.

Being that I am no rookie to seeing tar on a cigar, I wasn’t nearly as creeped out as I was the first time I came across the issue. Solving the problem was pretty simple, all I had to do was re-cut the head of my cigar. For whatever reason, when a tar buildup occurs and leaches out of the head of a cigar, a quick re-cut removes it once and for all.

When I re-cut my Por Larranaga, I simply grabbed my Cigar Scissors and shaved the head. I removed just enough tobacco to remove the tar and expose some clean filler tobacco. After that, the cigar smoked just fine and I was free from any addition tar problems.

Tar and Cigars - 2

Some time ago I had my first experience with tar after taking on a cigar punch as my standard form of cutter. The round hole just seemed to make the tar collect at the head and ooze out. Sometimes the tar comes on suddenly and you may not even see it develop until it is too late. If you get a little on the tip of your tongue or on the lips, it will taste very foul and begin to burn a bit (much like the capsaicin within a hot pepper)

As I gradually moved away from the plug cutter and used a guillotine, I still came across the problem from time to time. I found that if I cut too shallow and leave a small flap over the filler of the cigar, the tar has a tendency to appear before I am finished with the smoke. My experience has shown me that the restriction in the flow of smoke tends to bring on this problem from time to time.

Wanted to be more educated on this issue, I shot off an email to a manufacturer or two. The response was a little underwhelming as they did not really seem to know the answer. In one instance the cause was blamed on the plug cutter and there was no real answer as to why I experienced this problem with a guillotine.

I decided that this was a dead issue and I was very unlikely to get a good answer to the problem. I was exhausted from searching Google and wasn’t getting the answer I was looking for from the manufacturers I spoke with.

Tar and Cigars - 4

A long stretch of time went by and I had a minor tar issue come up once again. I thought I may be waiting my tine contacting another manufacturer but gave it a shot anyway. The response I received was leaps and bounds better than before. The email still didn’t contain an answer, but it did say that they would contact the factory and find out what causes this problem.

Not wanting to get my hopes up, I thanked them for taking the time to help me out and went back to searching Google. About a week later I received the answer I had been looking for and it all made perfect sense.

“This grotesque syrup is somewhat of an enigma. We assume that it is sap left inside the stem of the leaf which doesn’t evaporate during fermentation. It is extremely rare, but by far one of the most pungent and foul substances of the world. It has been my experience that cutting below the ooze usually ends the matter.”

Due to the difficulty I had finding an answer to this problem, my email to this manufacturer stated that all information would be kept anonymous. Whether this manufacturer would have a problem with taking credit for this answer is unknown, but to stick with my statement of anonymity in my original email, the name has been withheld. I would like to say that this manufacturer is considered a friend of Stogie Review due to their willingness to answer any and all questions without sugar coating or otherwise skirting the question at hand. I routinely smoke their cigars and appreciate the time taken to get an answer from the factory.

Have you ever run into this problem and found a different answer?