How Do You Know When a Cigar Is Ready to Smoke?

smoking a cigar by jay | Posted on January 26th, 2023

Are you a cigar aficionado looking to take your smoking experience to the next level? Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced smoker, this blog post is for you!

We’ll discuss how to tell if a cigar is ready to smoke and give tips for getting the most out of your smoking experience.


Visual Cues to Tell the Freshness of Your Cigar

Visual cues can be a great way to tell the freshness of your cigar.

Look for Signs of Mold or Fungus

It’s important to look for signs of mold or fungus when checking the freshness of your cigar. Mold is bad; it’s blue-green in color and has a sticky or pasty texture. Plume is harmless and is typically brushed gently from the cigar when you are ready to smoke it.

Avoid placing your cigars in direct sunlight, as high temperatures can cause mold or fungus to develop. If you see any sign of mold, unfortunately, the cigar is done for and should be discarded.

Check the Cigar’s Color

Having already tested the freshness of your cigar with a pinch test and a hearing test, it’s also important to inspect the color of the cigar. A cigar’s color can tell you a lot about its freshness, as a properly stored cigar should have an even and consistent color.

If you notice any patches or discoloration, this could be an indication of potential dryness or fungus growth. It’s also a good idea to look for any signs of mold or fungus on the wrapper. If you spot any, it’s best to avoid smoking that particular cigar, as it could impact the taste and quality of the smoke.

Inspect the Wrapper for Dryness or Cracks

In addition to inspecting the cigar’s color and looking for signs of mold or fungus, it is also important to inspect the wrapper for dryness or cracks.

The pinch test is one of the most straightforward methods of determining freshness. Gently squeeze the cigar and look for cracks or ripples in the wrapper leaf. If you don’t see any, this is a good sign that the cigar has not been exposed to drastic fluctuations in temperature or humidity.

Check the Feel, the Texture, and Elasticity of Your Cigar

Once you’ve inspected the color, wrapper, and signs of mold or fungus, it’s time to move on to the texture and elasticity of your cigar.

First, the cigar should feel firm but should provide some bounce. Anything overly dry, crackly, or brittle is a sign that the cigar has been kept in an overly dry environment and should be avoided.

You can do this by pressing your thumb gently against the cigar and feeling for any soft spots. If you find any, the cigar has probably been over-humidified and should be avoided. Additionally, when you press your thumb against the cigar, it should bounce back quickly to its original shape. If it remains compressed, it’s probably under-humidified and should be avoided as well.

Check the Aroma of the Cigar

Once you’ve gone through the steps of finding a calm place to smoke, cutting your cigar, and lighting it up, you can check the aroma of the cigar to determine if it’s ready to smoke. Every cigar out there has a scent of its own, and most cigar aficionados can recognize their favorite cigars in a blind smell test.

Similarly, experiment with the aroma of the cigar in your hand to detect any signs of staleness or mold and ensure that it’s ready to smoke.

Check the Draw of the Cigar

Once you have checked the cigar wrapper, feel, and aroma, it is time to check the draw. Hold your cigar up to your mouth and gently puff on it to draw air through. If the draw is too tight, the cigar may not be ready to smoke. If it is too loose, you may want to try cutting a bit more off the cap.

The ideal draw should provide a steady and enjoyable flow of smoke that does not require much effort. If you find that your cigar has an ideal draw, you can feel confident that it is ready to be smoked.

Additionally, you can roll the cigar between your fingers and check for an even draw to ensure the leaves are of equal quality.

Lastly, look out for ash that falls off in a cone shape, indicating high-quality center leaves rolled slowly and evenly.

Always Ensure That Your Hygrometers Are Calibrated

It is important to ensure that your hygrometers are calibrated regularly to ensure that you are getting accurate readings. A properly calibrated hygrometer will read 100% relative humidity when exposed to a damp towel for 30-45 minutes.

If you have an analog hygrometer, turn the calibration screw to adjust the reading accordingly. This will help you maintain the proper range of relative humidity needed to keep your cigars fresh and tasty.


In conclusion, it is important to look for visual cues to check the freshness of your cigar. Pay attention to the cigar’s color, look for signs of mold or fungus, and inspect the wrapper for dryness or cracks. Additionally, feel the texture and elasticity of your cigar before smoking it. Doing all of these things can help ensure that you are always smoking a fresh and flavorful cigar.

smoking a cigar


Self proclaimed cigar expert. I've been smoking since 2010. I've practically lived at a cigar lounge from 10am to 10pm and trying every new cigar that came out for years.

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