As I write this I am smoking an excellent Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente (natural) but last night there was this cigar that exploded when I cut it. No, it was not filled with TNT or Cemtex. It was just way too dry.
The cigar was part of an amazing dinner at The Cellar restaurant and, I can safely say, that cigar, a Torano The Brick, was the worst part of the dinner. (The rest of the tequila themed dinner was sublime and the company was just as good. The other cigar, a Torano 1916, was also very good). When I looked at The Brick I immediately noticed that the cap was splitting and that it was very dry. Even though I normally would not smoke a cigar like that I thought “What’s the worst that could happen?”
The worst was that, upon cutting The Brick, tobacco fragments sprayed every which way but the ash tray! I was mortified. Here I am, at this award winning French restaurant, and I was responsible for this long filler carnage on the white cloth table. To add insult to my malfeasance as the resident cigar expert at the table, the cigar was bad. Luckily, most of my table mates had not yet arrived and the ones who were there were understanding. Even John, who drove over an hour from Temecula and fell victim to the shrapnel, wasn’t annoyed.
After the dinner was over I realized there was a couple of ways I could have avoided this explosion. The best way to avoid exploding cigars is by not cutting them. Just put it in your humidor for a couple of months and then smoke it. But, if you really want to smoke a cigar that is a little too dry there may be a way to do so without letting tobacco rain.
If you gently press against the cap with your thumb while cutting it then there should be no pyrotechnics. I tried this tactic with the Fuente that I am currently smoking and, even though it was properly humidified and wouldn’t have exploded anyways, it works. The cap stayed on the cutter with the gentle application of pressure that I put on it.
While an exploding cigar is hardly something that most cigar connoisseurs will encounter with any regularity it does occasionally happen. In an effort to mitigate any more such explosions, I will continue to slightly press against every cap that I slice. It does not take any extra effort and is well worth it if it prevents any more explosions.