How Far Down Should You Smoke a Cigar?

Davidoff Grand Cru No. 1

I just received the following question from a reader:

“How far should one smoke a cigar? Down to the band? Or, until you need to be hospitalized for 3rd degree burns on your fingertips?”

Good question, and one with varying answers.

If you turn to “cigar etiquette” sources, you might have heard you should never smoke more than half a cigar (downright ridiculous, if you ask me). Another common “rule” is that you should set your cigar down and let it burn itself out (not snuff it out) when three finger-widths are left, measured from the end.

Of course, that really only matters if you are smoking in the company of people who care more about arbitrary and rather questionable rules on etiquette than they do about reaping all the enjoyment they can out of a good stogie. You pay a lot for your cigars, so you should be able to enjoy them to their fullest.

There really are no hard-and-fast rules on how far down you can smoke your cigar. A lot of it depends on the cigar in question, as well as your personal tastes. Some cigars get hot and harsh well before you reach the nub. Some of those cigars you might very well want to abandon before you get even halfway. Others taste great right to the very end, and with those, you may very well decide it’s worth the risk of burning your fingers to take it down to the nub. With time and experience, you’ll know which cigars you’re likely to be able to burn down all the way.

If pain isn’t your thing and you’d rather not burn your fingers, there’s a handy device you can purchase for less than $15 called the Havana Saver Cigar Tool. When you’re getting down toward the nub, you can insert the Havana Saver into your cigar and use it to hold your stogie. It doubles as a cigar holder at the golf course and a draw poke, and it’s highly rated by customers.

Havana Saver

So how far down should you smoke a cigar? As far down as you want!

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23 Comments on “How Far Down Should You Smoke a Cigar?”

  1. Agreed. My personal stance is that if I enjoy it then I will smoke it down until it gets hot, usually down to the very small bit as much as my finger can hold. If the cigar I’m smoking is not that great then typically I will stop at the last third, maybe a little bit after.

    At the end of the day it’s all about what you want to do, it’s your cigar after all.

  2. My standard is, in case of the need for a re-light, will I set my mustache on fire?

  3. you smoke a cigar until is no longer enjoyable to you.

  4. I agree with Jesse. I smoke a cigar until I don’t like smoking it anymore. If I reach that point in the first third, so be it. It’s unfortunate, but life is too short to smoke bad cigars.

  5. I have always felt that the smoker is the only one who has a valid opinion on how good the cigar is, how well it burns, when it’s done, whether to relight, etc.

  6. 2X Jesse.

    Why continue to smoke a stogie you no longer enjoy?

    And we have all experienced an excellent smoke that we shed a tear when it was no longer possible to drew another puff.

  7. When I have a harsh one it’s gone immediately upon when it taste harsh. When I have a good one, I pull out my old roach clip! :o) Oh, BTW, follow Keith’s advice, I have set mine on fire too many times. Not the best way to trim the hair.

  8. Yeah, what they all said. As long as it tastes good!!

  9. Yeah I agree entirely on the smoke it for as long as you’re enjoying view,it really is as simple as that.

    And just on this whole “cigar etiquette” thing – most,if not all of it,is arrant nonsense.One of the worst aspects of it is this supposedly English thing of removing the bands so as not to cause anyone else to feel inferior about whatever they may be smoking.I really can’t bear that one.Only the English could come up with that kind of faux consideration (and I am English)

  10. I use a toothpick and take it to the nub. I’m too cheap to leave anything I paid good money for unsmoked.

  11. Most of the sticks I smoke retain their flavour to the last inch or so. Some go to a half inch and a few even less. I have a nubber, like the tool you mention. I use it a lot. It should be mentioned that preserving flavours down to an inch or less has a lot to do with smoking the whole stick slowly!

  12. As expensive as cigars are – – – – smoke them down to where you damned near need an alligator clip to hang onto them !
    Old Saying is True !!! >>> Waste Not—-Want Not ! ! !

  13. Seedeater56 says:

    Agree all the above. Too many lay too great a store by so called etiquette – they’ll be the same ones who die in a ditch over whether or not to deband the cigar before lighting it. At the price of a good Havana in the UK, I’ll burn my lips if I’m liking the taste!

  14. Yeah bill, I have used a toothpick in the past, but not recently.

    And Michael, I usually remove the band, not due to snobbery, but rather due to avoiding smoking a paper band towards the end of the cigar. Yuk!!

  15. One more thought on this. Given the cigars I typically buy and smoke, if a cigar goes “bad” it’s usually my fault for smoking too fast. Then I have to bear the shame of stubbing out early because of my own offense!

  16. Grenfell Warren says:

    Always a great topic of discussion when cigar friends get together. More often than not, the agreed opinion is “when it burns your lips”. But, as the article points out, sometimes a BAD stogie deserves the ashtray LONG before that ! And, it happens ! I’ve been a Cuban cigar enjoyer for over 25 years, and plenty of times I’ve employed one implement or another to hold my stogie to get that extra goodness form it. It’s all about what YOU as the smoker decides. Whatever that method is….ENJOY ! As Mark Twain is reported to have said “If there are no cigars in Heaven, I shall not go”.

  17. Beneluxor says:

    Agreed it depends on the cigar … tho as a recommendation for beginner cigar smokers, I do like the general advice for them to not smoke the last one-third … where many cigars become a bit harsh, and can give the new stogie smoker a negative experience if they push forward with too much of a sense of obligation.

  18. I’m extremely late on this, but I find that by purging the cigar in the last inch, you can make almost any decent cigar “nub-worthy”

  19. I haven’t thought about purging. I find if I smoke a cigar at a nice slow pace most decent cigars are nub worthy

  20. Depends on how long the martini you’re having with the cigar lasts. Puff, sip, puff, sip, etc.

    Ideally, the drink lasts just longer than the cigar.

  21. My 90 year old dad created my interest in cigars and I treasure my time sharing a good smoke with him. He enjoys a cigar and scotch at the end of his day. If he finds his smoke is exceptional he will place it in his tobacco pipe and finish the goodness.

  22. I agree with most that you should smoke the cigar as short/long as you like! I do however find while smoking last 1-2″ the cigar it becomes very concentrated and I make sure I don’t smoke the very end on an empty stomach.

  23. Mark Owenby says:

    I Usually go to about two fingers to burn. Then again , if it is again , if it is it is a good cigar may e longer .

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