How To Get Your Cigar To Burn Evenly

Alex Mcil author
Alex Mcil

Having a cigar burning unevenly is not only annoying, but it ruins the moment of enjoyment. No one wants to battle against an uneven burning cigar and detract them from kicking back in relaxation. This is especially true when you’ve spend a pretty penny on a quality cigar.

Why were you robbed from enjoying that sensual taste and aroma? It’s not fair, this shouldn’t be happening, especially with quality cigars, right?

Frist of all, you need to have a cigar of good quality, one that’s at least $8 dollars. Cheap cigars will not burn evenly no matter how much you try to prevent it.

There are a number of reasons causing an uneven burn, and it is not always the cigars fault… it might actually yours. 

Here are 5 helpful tips to ensure a perfectly even burning cigar!

Quick Answer

There are 5 factor that affect how a cigar burns: An even cut, air flow, the handling of the cigar, humidity and puff pacing. Getting the desired burning effect might require a lot of practice.

“Preventing sideburns and irregularities in your cigar is an elegant amalgamation of time, patience, and technique. It starts with proper humidity control – the key factor often overlooked. Maintain 70% humidity and 70˚F temperature in your humidor for constancy. The act of lighting is art – heat the foot (end part) evenly using a cedar spill, not directly letting the flame touch. This encourages uniform ember ensuring your cigar burns evenly.”

Zephyr Isaiah Gallagher, Senior Tobacconist

The Perfect Cut & Lighting It Up

Before we can even know there’s an issue, we have to light up first. But there’s a step before this that’s important, and that’s cutting the cigar (properly).

It’s recommended to moisten the cap area of the cigar with your mouth (do not use the tongue as we want it to get moist as opposed to wet).

Cut just above the cap as no to risk unraveling the cigar. Usually a guillotine cutter provides the cleaner cut. The cleaner the cut, the better chances the cigar will burn evenly throughout. You can find a nice guillotine for as low as $5 dollars, these are usually made from stainless steel.

The next step is lighting your cigar properly. Evenly distributing the flame on the foot (without charring it) is key for an even burn. You want to make sure the whole foot area is evenly lit, so that the burning process throughout the length of the cigar is also even. The best tool for this is definitely a butane torch lighter.

evenly lit cigar foot means an even burning cigar

Avoid Chomping & Air Restriction

An even burn is dictated by an even airflow and the airflow depends on your draw. Some cigar enthusiast have a habit of chomping on the end. Not only does this reduce the surface area of the end, it also makes it very damp, both of wish reduces the airflow and makes it uneven.

Allow air to pass evenly through your cigar as you draw on it and you will maintain an even burn.

Handling Of Your Cigar

Few realize, parting with the accumulated ash on your cigar can have a direct affect on an even burn.

holding cigar

A cigar is made up of 3 primary components (each made from tobacco leaves):

  • Filler
  • Binder
  • Wrapper

The filler is essentially the internal tobacco leafs, wrapped around a binder to hold it in place, followed by the wrapper to hold everything in place.

When it’s time to part with your cigar, do not bang it against the ashtray. This can compromise the wrapper and binder’s integrity. Any compromise here will affect the direct airflow of the draw.

The solution? Tap the top of the cigar with your finder!

Store Your Cigar At The Correct Humidity Level & Temperature

The 70-70 rule is one that’s encouraged to follow. This states the optimum relative humidity of a cigar should be set at 70% at a temperature of 70°F.

The best way of replicating this environment is by using a cigar humidor. So, why is this humidity and temperature important?

Too Much Humidity

Too much humidity (above 70%) means the leaves start to absorb moisture and starts to swell, making it difficult to draw the smoke.

Also, the excess damp in the leaves alters the burn rate. As a result, different areas inside the filler tobacco will burn at different rates, resulting in burn issues such as tunneling.

Too Little Humidity

A cigar stored at a lower humidity (below 70%) can dry out. Stale, dry tobacco leafs burn too hot and unevenly, while leaving a bitter taste (due to the essential oils having been evaporated).

An Even Pace Smoke Is Key

Puffing your cigar at an even pace promotes an even burn. Draw too aggressively and you are at risk of promoting canoeing which is essentially the top end of the cigar burning quicker than the bottom (much like the effect a canoe makes while gliding across water).

This issue can be resolved by touching up the areas that haven’t burned with a lighter. It is important to have the right tool, like one of the best torch lighters.

Draw infrequently, and you can promote tunnelling, when a tunnel is created through the cigar. This happens when the filler burns faster than the binder and wrapper leaf.

The key is to draw at an even pace, which will depend on the type of cigar you smoke. Determining the “correct” pace will come with practice.


7 thoughts on “How To Get Your Cigar To Burn Evenly”

  1. Once upon a time, I too believed steeper prices meant better burn. The real secret, however, is in the careful maintenance of humidity levels in your humidor.

  2. Drawing an analogy from my old hobby, carpentry, material cost is not always indicative of the final product’s quality. Similarly, a more expensive cigar doesn’t guarantee an even burn, but the way it’s stored—like an unfinished wooden sculpture in the right temperature and humidity—however, can make a world of difference.

  3. Indeed, the cost of a cigar doesn’t always reflect its burning quality. Still, it can provide an initial signal on the care put during its manufacturing, which undoubtedly impacts even burn. However, how one stores and lights the cigar, like Giancarlo rightly pointed out, can often make or break the experience.

  4. Yes, Giancarlo, you hit the nail on the head. How one lights a cigar is indeed crucial; I’ve found using butane lighters or matches provides a much better, even light than using a standard cigarette lighter. Also, the angle at which you hold your cigar when lighting it can play a significant role in ensuring an even burn. It’s about patience and technique, not just price.

  5. My grandad always said, “Better to toss a cigar away than force an uneven burn”. Nurse it, don’t rush it. The best burns come from a carefully lit and lovingly smoked cigar.

  6. Most people believe that quality equals an even burn, however, it’s more like baking bread; every loaf won’t come out identical because there are numerous variables at play. It’s all about how you prep, light and smoke it. That being said, even a high-quality cigar can surprise you sometimes.

  7. Absolutely, Kendricks! I remember trying a top-notch cigar during my travels to Cuba; it was oddly uneven despite being a high-quality cigar, purely because of my imperfect lighting.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *