C.Gars Cuban Cigars

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Cigar Bands

A commonly asked question when it comes to cigars is: Should I remove the band when I smoke it?

Well the decision is up to you! Some people enjoy smoking with the band on, and others remove it immediately. 

Most cigars sold these days will feature a band or two. The band helps to establish which brand you have in your hand as well as a status symbol, each brand will have their own unique design which will set them apart from the competition. 

The origins of cigar bands is a highly contested debate. Many believe that cigar bands came around in the 18th century when Catherine the Great reportedly requested a wrapping for her cigar so her fingers did not stain when she smoked them. It is believed that her “bands” were made from silk, which is a long way from the paper bands we know now. Another belief is in the 19th century when English Aristocrats requested a way to smoke a cigar without their white gloves getting stained by the tobacco. 

The most likely reason for cigars to feature bands is due to the German cigar market during the 19th century. Germany was the world’s biggest cigar supplier, but their cigars were of a lower quality and people preferred cuban cigars, which were more expensive. So German cigar manufacturers began to sell their smokes under Cuban names. To prevent this, Cuban cigar makers added a paper ring with their signature to mark Cuban authenticity.

Some people prefer to take the band off before smoking as they believe it improves the feel of the cigar. Enjoying a cigar is a personal experience and removing the paper band can make you feel like you have more of a connection to the cigar.

Positioning of the band is also important, if the band is placed at the foot of the cigar then it must be removed before lighting. If you burn over the band then your cigar is going to taste like burnt paper regardless of the band placement. Another reason to remove the band before smoking comes from an etiquette standpoint. Some believe smoking with the band on is showing off, especially if it's an expensive cigar - removing the band shows everyone you are not showing off and want to enjoy a cigar without judgement.

If you do decide to take the band off while smoking then there are a few things to know. Cigar bands are stuck together with a gum adhesive, known as gomma, occasionally the band fitter may use too much of the gomma and it can seep on to the cigar’s wrapper leaf, glueing them together. If you try to remove the band when this has happened it can cause some of the wrapper to come off too which can affect the structure. 

If you are having issues taking off the band, smoke the cigar with the band on, the heat will soften the glue which allows it to be slipped off the cigar easily and causing no damage. When doing this, be sure to undo the band at the seam as again it will prevent any damage to the wrapper.

Written by Oliver Partington

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