Cigar Tar: My Own Epidemic?

Drew Estate

Its been some time since we last talked about tar oozing out of cigar. Nothing ruins a cigar experience like the foul taste of tar. If you are lucky and paying attention you will notice the tar forming on the cut end and usually make a deeper cut and be on your way. No harm, no foul. If, like me, you aren’t in the habit of looking, you will be greeted with a foul, bitter, burning taste. While a quick cut gets rid of the tar oozing out of the cigar, there is no saving grace for your palate. Coffee, soda, juice…you are basically screwed for an hour until things return to normal.

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Historically, I only need two fingers (#twss) to count how many times I’ve run into this tar issue and those were way back in the early days of Stogie Review circa 2006-2007. Over the course of the past month and a half, it feels like an epidemic. At least once a week I’m having to put a cigar down because I’m just grossed out. Poor Walt has been on the receiving end of my pictures of tar oozing out (I try to time it for when I think he’s eating lunch). At first I thought it was me. I have been enjoying a punch cut lately but that theory went out the window when I started having the issue using a straight cut and a v-cut too. Smoking too fast? Whether I puff once a minute or hot box a cigar it happened. Then I thought it was my humidor but then it happened with both cigars from home and local shops. Then I thought it was a particular brand but I’ve experienced on a wide range of well known brands that I’ve smoked a lot of this year. Then I thought maybe country of origin but that too was disproven when I got it on Dominicans, Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars. So we’ve eliminated type of cut, smoking rate, storage conditions, brand, country of origin and even price range? So what else is there?

When we last discussed this the answer we received from a manufacturer was:

“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.”

That makes sense except for the “extremely rare” part. I wouldn’t call what I’ve been experiencing “extremely rare”. If this was something I occassionaly experienced like once a blue moon that would be one thing. But this has been a weekly ordeal the past four to six weeks. I actually take deep breathes wondering if the cigar I’m enjoying is gonna ooze tar. Just bad luck catching up with me after all these years?

Is anyone experiencing this or is just me?