I was fortunate to receive this pearl of wisdom from a viewer of one of My Cigar Blog videos recently.

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It made me think about my smoking technique, and why i smoke good cigars all the way down to the nub.

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Zoltland has a point — a cigar evolves very dramatically during the smoking process. The longer you smoke it, the greater the tar buildup in the remaining portions of tobacco, and yes, it generally creates a stronger, bitter flavour. But in my mind, this is how you tell the difference between a good cigar and a bad one.

A cigar made from well cured and well fermented leaves will have a lot of tar broken down during the stacking process. Stacks of tobacco weighing around 50kgs each are wrapped in cloth and allowed to “sweat”. The internal temperature is monitored closely to watch for large variation swings and when it reaches 140 degrees, the stack is pulled down to release tar, ammonia, and nicotine. Then it’s re-stacked. This is done several times until the temp will no longer reach 110 degrees. Done properly, this reduces the content of these nasty chemical elements in the tobacco; one of the reasons why Cuban tobacco generally has such a refined flavour is preciously because this process is done painstakingly carefully to ensure that as much chems are burned out as possible.

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So unlike third-rate tobacco used to create fourth-class cigars, a good cigar is easily smoked down to the nub without tasting foul, and why i smoke down all my cigars because they are practically good till the last inch. Waste not, want not.

Of course, to each his own. Even good tobacco, smoked down to the last inch or so, will be quite strong, and some palates will not enjoy the sensation. In such cases, stop. A cigar that stops giving pleasure is a cigar that needs to be put down.