Why does my cigar taste burnt or bitter?

The allure of a fine cigar can be compromised when bitterness or burnt flavours emerge. Understanding the causes behind these undesirable taste sensations is essential for an optimal smoking experience. Delve into why your cigar might taste bitter or burnt and uncover the tips and tricks to savour every puff.

What causes bitter or burnt flavours to develop?

Bitter or burnt flavours in cigars can stem from various factors. One of the main reasons for an unfavourable taste is overheating the tobacco while puffing too rapidly. Poor storage conditions, like high humidity or exposure to direct sunlight, are also likely to contribute. 

Additionally, selecting a cigar with tobacco leaves that haven’t been aged or fermented adequately can introduce harsh flavours. Finally, uneven burning due to improper lighting or a tightly packed cigar can lead to charred notes. 

Developing a mindful smoking technique, choosing well-constructed cigars, and ensuring proper storage are vital in preventing these undesirable tastes and enjoying a harmonious smoking experience.

How to prevent a cigar from tasting bitter or burnt

Avoiding bitter or burnt flavours in cigars requires exceptional finesse and awareness. By mastering proper lighting techniques, controlling puffing speed, and ensuring optimal storage conditions, you can preserve the nuanced flavours and enjoy a rich, satisfying smoke. Take a look below at our best tips and tricks. 

Store in a humidor 

Storing cigars in a humidor is essential for maintaining their quality. However, excessive humidity can lead to bitterness! To prevent over-humidification, aim for a  relative humidity level between 65% and 70%.

In fact, a too-moist environment can cause the tobacco to swell and release bitter compounds, ultimately ruining the delicate flavours. So, regularly calibrate your humidor’s hygrometer to ensure accurate humidity readings. By striking the right balance, you’ll safeguard your cigars from bitterness while preserving their flavours.

Cigar lighting

Making sure your cigar is from bitter or burnt flavours necessitates a thoughtful approach. Start by lighting it evenly, rotating the foot over the flame to ensure an even burn. However, always use a clean lighter with high-quality butane fuel to avoid tainting the flavours, as low-quality fuel can introduce undesirable tastes.

You should also adopt a deliberate puffing rhythm, allowing the tobacco to smoulder at a controlled pace. 

By paying attention to the details, you can relish the rich flavours of your cigar without encountering the bitterness or burnt notes that might otherwise arise.

Don’t smoke too fast 

Ensuring a delightful cigar experience relies on a couple of fundamental practices. Firstly, avoid smoking too quickly, as rapid draws can lead to overheating and bitterness. Instead, opt for measured puffs, allowing the tobacco to smoulder uniformly.

Secondly, you should always keep your cigar dry, as moisture can ruin the burn and impart unpleasant flavours. This means avoiding excessive saliva on the cap and refraining from licking the cigar. Lastly, handling a cigar with clean, dry hands prevents unnecessary moisture transfer to the tobacco. 

Let the ash develop

A crucial aspect of preventing a cigar from acquiring bitter or burnt flavours involves allowing the ash to develop adequately. When you light your cigar, let the ash build up naturally, creating a protective layer over the burning tobacco. This layer acts as an insulator, regulating the combustion temperature and mitigating the risk of overheating, which can lead to bitterness.

Additionally, taking deliberate and measured puffs allows the cigar to burn evenly, reducing the chances of charred or uneven spots that contribute to undesirable flavours. 

By focusing on these essential aspects – nurturing the ash and maintaining a balanced smoking pace – you can savour your cigar’s intricate flavours without encountering unfavourable notes.

Clip the cap

Preventing a cigar from developing bitter or burnt flavours involves more than lighting techniques. Properly clipping the cap before lighting is essential. A clean cut using a sharp cutter helps the cigar draw evenly, whereas an uneven cut can lead to a nasty taste.

Ensure a straight cut, removing just enough of the cap to expose the filler tobacco. Avoid cutting too much, as this can cause the wrapper to unravel. By paying attention to this detail and achieving a precise cut, you set the stage for an even burn and a more enjoyable smoking experience.

Pair with the correct food and drink 

Preparing for a cigar session extends beyond the smoke itself and includes selecting the right food and drink. As a rule of thumb, avoid consuming strong-tasting or heavily spiced foods before smoking, as their flavours can overpower the delicate nuances of the cigar. Instead, opt for neutral or lighter fare that won’t linger on your palate. 

Similarly, make sure to choose beverages that complement the cigar’s flavours rather than clash with them. In fact, non-alcoholic options like water or unsweetened tea work well, as do spirits like whiskey or cognac that enhance the smoking experience.

By harmonising the cigar’s characteristics with the suggestions in our pairing guide, you create an environment where the cigar’s flavours can shine without being overshadowed by conflicting tastes. 

Buy reputable cigars 

Safeguarding your cigar experience from bitterness or burnt flavours starts with selecting reputable cigars. Always choose well-constructed, premium cigars from established brands to ensure quality tobacco and craftsmanship.

With years of experience and an unwavering commitment to excellence, Cigar Club offer only the finest cigars. Our curated selection guarantees a memorable smoke, free from undesirable tastes. Trust in our expertise as we provide you with the best, allowing you to relish the rich flavours and complexities of cigars without any bitterness or burnt undertones.