Tar coming out of my cigar: what to do?

I recently received this question by e-mail from our reader George and thought I'd write a quick blog post about it:

I sometimes come across tar in liquid form coming out of the end of the cigar, why does that happen?

So this is how your disturbing experience happened. You cut the head of your cigar and noticed, after you started smoking, a dark substance oozing out. Or perhaps you didn’t even notice that it was oozing and got a little in your mouth—yuck. What is this stuff and why does it happen? What do you do about it if it happens to you?

The answer is not entirely clear or certain, but the likely explanation has to do with sap (as plant sap). The stuff oozing out of your cigar is a natural substance, presumably some excess sap from the stem or leaf of the tobacco plant which failed to evaporate during the fermentation process. So it’s mostly tobacco juice, tar, and resin. It is utterly disgusting to taste, so if you see it, you’re going to want to get rid of it. Usually the trick is to make a new cut just below where you see the resin oozing out, and this will typically get rid of it. Thankfully this doesn’t happen all that often, and you can rest assured it has nothing to do with your technique, nor does it point toward a quality problem with the cigars. It’s just a quirk of the manufacturing process that comes up now and again. Usually it’s easy to resolve, and then you can enjoy the rest of your cigar.

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3 Comments on “Tar coming out of my cigar: what to do?”

  1. In fact, leaves of tobacco while burning produce tar. But this particular cigar is an exception i hope lol

  2. justin121032 says:

    Thanks for the info on this. Had this happen to me a handful of times, most recently about 15 minutes ago. Just happened to be my one and only 5 Vegas Limitada 2012. As with the few previous occurrences, I didn’t notice it until well after I had it good and going, probably about 1/2 – 1 inch ash. Then as I went in for another delicious puff, the the dreaded taste of bitter tar enveloped my pallet. Just as described in the article above, YUK! I clipped a bit off the end and started over, but I couldn’t seem to recover this time. Though there did not appear to be tar oozing from the head anymore, every single puff from there on out tasted completely bitter and undesirable. Not sure if it really did taste that way or if the contact with the tar just messed up my taste buds. Either way, with about 2/3 of a cigar left, I gave up and tossed it in the bottom of my ashtray. Of course, being a limited release cigar, they’re sold out everywhere now. Bummer.

  3. Thanks for the clarification. Finally a beautiful spring day to sit out and enjoy a cigar. All of a sudden, the bitter taste hits me. I look at the freshly cut end and see little droplets of goo oozing out. Touch it and it’s like molasses. A quick search in an effort to save it gave me this site. I promptly chopped off 1/8″ and all is well. Some good bourbon took the bitter taste from my mouth.

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