You may look at your cigar before you even cut or light it and inspect it’s band and then think, “when should I take this off?” or “How do I take this thing off?”. Improperly trying to remove your cigar’s band may be one of the first things you are doing when you smoke a cigar.
What is a cigar band?
The piece or pieces of paper wrapped around cigars (usually toward the head end of the cigar) is called the band. The cigar band usually identifies the maker and the type of the cigar and usually will also note if the cigar was hand or machine made. Some have very ornate artwork while others are just a solid color with text on them.
One of the first questions you will find yourself asking is when do I remove the cigar band? While there are many differing opinion on this topic, this in my opinion, is the best way to handle the situation.
When you are cutting the head of your cigar if the band moves freely, you can go ahead and remove at this time if you want. If the cigar you are smoking is older, the glue holding the band to cigar may have dried up and broken free causing the band to move freely.
If the band does not move freely, do not try to remove it. The glue used on the bands, adheres the band to the wrapper of the cigar. Trying to remove the bad at this point can rip and damage the wrapper if you try and remove it now.
The right way
What you should do, is just go ahead and start smoking the cigar with the band still in place. Once you get about half-way through your cigar or within a couple of inches of the band (depending on the size of your cigar) the heat from smoking your cigar will have softened the glue. This will make it possible to safely remove the band at this time.
What to do with cigar bands
Another benefit of removing the band this way is that the band will come off cleanly. This will allow you to save the band and keep it for any number of reasons. Some people keep a cigar journal of cigars they smoke, some may keep it just to remember which cigars they like and some will keep the bands to make cool stuff like like table tops or other art work (like these).
You will also come across cigars that may have their band or an additional band at the foot of the cigar. These bands will need to be removed before you smoke the cigar. These bands typically have less glue on them and are not attached to the cigar’s wrapper.
Other items you may find on your cigar are ribbon or a cedar sleeve. You will able to safely and carefully slide these off the foot end of the cigar. These are usually wrapped around the cigar and then held together with tape on the outside.
Have you ever damaged a cigar by trying to take the band off too soon? Or do you have any cool cigar band projects made or in the works?