A very commonly asked question when it comes to smoking cigars is: should I remove the band when I go to smoke it?
Ultimately, this decision is up to you. Some choose to smoke keeping it on, whereas others remove it. We look at the arguments behind all of the options!
Taking It Off Before Smoking
Some prefer to take the band off the cigar before it smoked, as they believe it improves the feel of the cigar.
Smoking a stogie is a fairly tactile experience, and sometimes removing the paper band can make the cigar feel better in hand.
Where the band is placed on the cigar also makes a difference; for example, if the band is positioned at the foot of the cigar then obviously it must be removed before you start smoking.
Removes Risk of Burning Paper
If you burn over the band, then your cigar is just going to taste like burnt paper! For this reason, some cigar smokers choose to remove the band before smoking as a preventative measure.
Another argument in favour of removing the band before smoking comes from an etiquette standpoint. Some smokers consider those who keep the band on to be ‘showing-off’, especially if it is a quality or particularly expensive cigar.
They consider removing the band to be good smoking practice.
Keeping It On During Smoking
To keep the band in place on the cigar, a gum adhesive, known as gomma, is used. If too much of this adhesive is used, it can seep into the cigar’s wrapper leaf, fusing it together.
Removing the band when this has happened can cause some of the wrapper to come off attached to the band. This can compromise the structure of the cigar and cause it to unravel.
Wait for the Glue to Heat
Instead, you can smoke the cigar for a few minutes, and the heat will soften the glue attaching the band to the cigar, allowing it to be slipped off the cigar without it taking some of the leaf with it.
When doing this, be sure to undo the band at its seam if this is possible, as this will prevent any wrapper that is still stuck being taken with it.
Why Do Cigars Have Bands?
Most cigars that are sold nowadays will feature a band or two somewhere along the stick. The bands help to establish cigar brands as a status symbol, with each brand featuring a unique design that sets them apart from their competition.
By 1855, the majority of Cuban cigar brands had taken to adding a band to their smokes, but the actual origins of the cigar band are highly contested.
Catherine the Great
During the 18th Century, Catherine the Great was reported to have requested a wrapping for her cigar, so that her fingers did not stain when she smoked them.
It is said her ‘cigar band’ was made from silk, which is a long way from the paper bands we know now!
19th Century English Aristocrats
Another case of cigar staining, English Aristocrats reportedly requested a way to smoke a cigar without their white gloves getting stained by the tobacco.
German vs Cuban Cigars
Probably the most likely reason for cigars featuring bands is the German cigar market that emerged during the 19th Century.
Germany was the world’s biggest cigar supplier, but their cigars were of lower quality, and most people preferred Cuban smokes, which were more expensive.
As such, German cigar manufacturers began to sell their inferior smokes under Cuban names. To prevent the sale of these fraudulent smokes, Cuban cigar makers are said to have added a paper ring with their signature to cigars to mark their Cuban authenticity.
What is your preference when it comes to removing the band? Let us know on social media! If you’re looking for some quality cigars to try, be sure to check out the range available at Havana House!