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.