Should you remove a cigar’s band before lighting, or leave it on?

Many people wonder what is proper etiquette when it comes to the band on a cigar. To leave it on or take it off? Think of it like this, would you peel the label off of your best bottle of scotch before you drink it? Not a chance! Perhaps you’d put it in a decanter but that’s a discussion for another day. The “classy” thing to do is to leave it on and smoke your cigar until just before the band. Pinky in the air, of course.

While we are actively increasing our status while smoking, the major concern in taking the band off before smoking the cigar is that removing it could also compromise its integrity. If the glue from the band has adhered to the cigar with full force, while taking it off you may just create a hole in the wrapper rendering your cigar unsmokeable. Nobody wants to have to throw it away and start over. The good news it while your cigar slowly burns it gets warmer towards the band and thus heats the glue and loosens the band for you, leaving you with the smoke you wanted and a nicely unwrapped band that is nice enough to keep. No manual labor needed.

A newer trend in cigar bands is to keep each band after you’ve finished your cigar and write a date or an event on the back. Much like the concept of saving corks from wine bottles, the sentiment is the same. You can create a little black book of cigar bands and each time you add a new one, reminisce about good times with the old ones. Your wedding, your anniversary, the birth of your first child and so on.

So remember, smoke first, unwrap second and finally, save and date it!

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