Does the wrapper on your cigar crack? This doesn’t mean your cigar is bad because you may be able to fix it if the spot is small enough. But if the wrapper is completely falling apart, chances are the wrapper is beyond the point of fixing.
So, What Causes a Cigar Wrapper to Crack?
1. Not Enough Humidity
A dry cigar is one of the biggest reasons your wrapper is cracking. If your humidor, or your tobacconist’s humidor, is not humidified correctly then your wrapper will crack. The right humidity is between 68 and 72 percent.
Check to see if your hygrometer is calibrated properly. Next, make sure your humidor closes tightly to ensure the internal humidity stays consistent.
2. Using a Dull Cutting Tool
A dull or poorly made cutting tool will destroy your cigar and ruin it very quickly. An inferior cutting tool will render your cigar useless and you will waste a lot of money on broken cigars. A sharp cutting tool is essential for cigar aficionados.
If you have a cutting tool and the cigar wrapper cracks when you use it, then you may need to sharpen your tool. To properly sharpen the blade, you need to remove the casing entirely. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, the manufacturer can do it for you. Keep in mind that this may take eight to 12 weeks.
3. You Are Too Hard on Your Cigars
You may be drawing too hard or too often on your cigars. The most obvious symptom of a poor draw is the wrapper cracking. If you are smoking a pointed or tapered head cigar (a figurado), try shaving a little more off the head.
4. Cutting Too Much of the Cap
If you cut too much of the cap, then your cigar can unravel. The cap is designed to secure the wrapper. Once the maker completes the head of the cigar, they put gomma (or vegetable base adhesive) to keep the wrapper in place.
If you cut too much off, then you end up cutting part of the gomma, which makes the wrapper unwind from your cigar.
5. Cigar Beetles
Nope, I haven’t mistyped – cigar beetles are a thing, although they’re relatively uncommon, they can damage your cigars and cause cracking from the small holes they create.
How to Fix a Cracking Wrapper
If your cigar cracks in the middle, smoke will lead out and hamper your draw and burn. If the crack is small enough, you can repair it. You will need some pectin or acacia powder along with a small piece of donor tobacco that will act as a patch.
Pectin is a citrus fruit extra that is commonly used as a gelling agent in jellies and jams. It is tasteless and odorless so you won’t know it is there once you are done with the repair. Acacia is a gum from the acacia tree and works as a film-forming agent.
Pectin and acacia powder are found in the baking or spice aisle at your grocery store. If you have trouble finding them at the store, check online.
Mix either the pectin or acacia powder to create a gummy consistency. Once the mixture is ready, apply it to the wrapper. Put the mixture over the crack and wait for it to dry.
If the crack happens at the foot of the cigar and is smaller than an inch long, it is best just to cut the cigar above the crack. This is easier than applying the patch. Keep in mind that if you choose this route then your cutter should be sharp to prevent further cracking.
Fixing an Unraveling Wrapper
Don’t try to fix an unraveling wrapper with saliva or beeswax-based lip balm. This does not work well. Instead, use pectin or acacia powder.
Mix the pectin or acacia powder with distilled water until it becomes gummy. Make the mixture inside a bottle cap and stir it with a toothpick. This is also a good indication of the amount you are working with. If the mixture is too thin, add a little more powder. If it is too thick, add a little more water.
Once the mixture is gummy, apply it to the wrapper and roll the leaf back into place. Let the area dry and your wrapper repair is complete.
Prevent Wrappers from Cracking
Now that you know what causes wrappers to crack and how to fix them, we will go over how to prevent wrappers from cracking.
The first is to maintain the humidity in your humidor. If you don’t have a hygrometer then it is time to get one. Remember to keep the humidity between 68 and 72 percent.
When you are transporting your cigar, place it in a ziplock bag. Even if your cigar is wrapped in cellophane, you need to protect it further in the ziplock bag. The best option for traveling is a cigar-carrying case or a travel humidor. However, in a pinch, a ziplock bag will work.
Keep your cutter blades sharp. Don’t apply too much pressure during the cut because it will stress the wrapper and make it split. Check to see if your cutter has a lifetime warranty as the manufacturer may sharpen or replace the blades for free.
Wait until you smoked from half to two-thirds of your cigar before taking the band off. If you take the band off too early, or when your cigar is cold, it can cause the wrapper to tear. Make sure you have been smoking your cigar for a bit as this will cause the gum on the band to loosen so you can easily pull it away.
Don’t leave your cigars in direct sunlight or sitting out overnight in the cold. Temperature swings are bad for cigars because they change with the humidity and temperature. Make sure to keep them in a humidor with a consistent temperature.
Properly Maintain Your Cigar
Whether you are just getting into cigars or are an aficionado, it is important to take care of your cigars and have the proper tools to do so. Check out our wide selection of products today.