We’ve all been there; minding your own business, searching for a great cigar at your local shop when you see someone pick up a cigar, take a big ‘ole sniff of it pressed up against their nostril, then place it back on the shelf. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common practice amongst self-appointed aficionados but is there any weight to their whiff?

Find out from the experts on Behind the Band:

Smelling Cigars

First of all, you can’t tell if you’re going to like a cigar or not by just the sniff-test, especially if it’s still in the cellophane. Some of the industry’s top experts cry foul: 

“You cannot smell a cigar and say ‘oh I’m going to LOVE this'...bro, you’re not that good, nobody is that good.” - Rick Rodriguez | CAO 

So should you ever sniff a cigar, and if so, how should you do it? Do you start at the bottom or the top? Does it even matter?

“When you do smell a cigar, you always smell the foot. If you smell the middle or the cap, you aren’t going to get much out of that.” - Laurel Tilley | Macanudo

Why smell a cigar?

So what’s the purpose of sniffing the cigar? How can you tell a good cigar from a bad one? And does the sniff test even help? 

“All you’re trying to do when you smell a cigar is to find a lack of something. Lack of what? Ammonia. So if you smell ammonia, the cigar is not ready to smoke. Bury it in your humidor for a week or two and eventually it will be ready.” - Rick Rodriguez |  CAO

So there you have it. Sniff the foot. If you smell ammonia, that doesn’t mean it’s bad; it just needs a little aging. Also, do us all a favor, and don’t let the cigar touch your nose when sniffing. That’s just bad hygiene. 

Behind the Band

If you found this helpful, be sure to catch Behind The Band every Tuesday at 7 pm EST for tons of expert insights and more useful tips like these.

View Now

Join Cigar World Testing Lab


No one has commented on this page yet.