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Cedar & Cigars

Cedar plays a bigger role in the cigar industry than you think.

To begin with cigar-makers package cigars in cedar sleeves to help with ageing, offer protection and to help shops with presentation. Some cigar smokers can taste the cedar and appreciate how the cedar sleeve can influence the flavour in a cigar's taste. 

Unlike most wood, cedar reacts positively with moisture - it is able to store moisture and release it gradually, this is why most humidors are made of cedar or at least lined with it. Manufacturers often separate the rows of cigars in a box with a thin sheet of cedar to help with humidity and even protection.

Some go even further by wrapping the individual cigars in a cedar sleeve for protection and flavour - A cigar’s flavour evolves over time, which is why it’s always wise to age them. A cedar sleeve will encapsulate the natural oils and aroma in a premium cigar and keep them more uniform in flavour. Cigars are known to absorb what is in their vicinity and if you’re ageing different kinds in your humidor, a cedar sleeve is a great barrier to preserve its natural taste. As the cigar ages they are known to become more mellow so by keeping them wrapped in cedar can make them more fragrant and rich.

In addition to improving the flavour of a cigar, cedar can be used to light a cigar. Many connoisseurs will tell you that the best way to light your cigar is to use a thin strip of cedar (otherwise known as a cedar spill). To use a cedar spill you light it on fire and then use it to light the cigar, burning the cedar in the process. By doing this it prevents any taste residual from butane in a lighter or the sulphur on matches from interfering with a cigar’s natural flavour.

Many people don’t realise that you must remove the cedar from a cigar before you light it. Aficionados know better but beginners tend to forget this step. Cedar burns extremely fast and will engulf your whole cigar whilst you are trying to light it, so make sure you remove the cedar sleeve before you light.

Written by Oliver Partington