Login Register

The "Mouse-hole" Burn

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014


Once upon a time while smoking a stogie, I came across an unusual type of burn problem that I had not had an opportunity to capture on camera. So, I jumped up, ran into the house and brought my camera to snap a few shots. Although I was a bit late getting back to the scene with my camera, you can still see (at left, top) the hole that burned through the sidewall of my cigar.

This hole started out looking like someone had touched a hot match to the side of the cigar; just a black spot. Then it blossomed into a tiny hole that I usually call a “mouse hole.” The affect it produces when smoking a cigar, I call a “mouse-hole burn.” (I suppose I could call it a beetle hole burn, but then, I’m superstitious…) The resulting burn issue is usually associated with one or more other problems as I continue smoking the cigar.

A mouse-hole burn is typically caused by a pocket or tunnel in the filler tobacco on one side of your cigar, which makes it burn really fast while the other side is hardly burning at all. You can see in the photo above that, as the cigar continued to burn, the mouse hole turned into a “U-shaped” hole. Occasionally, the mouse-hole-burn will continue up the side of a cigar and becomes a “runner.”

In the lower half of the photo above, you can see a long, sharp spike in the ash, which usually accompanies a mouse hole. I rotated the mouse hole a quarter-turn downward so you can see the spike more clearly. The spiked ash is hard and has not completely combusted. The result is a cigar that burns off-kilter and may also turn sour, as the concentrated tars form around the incompletely burned spike and negatively affect the taste of your cigar. This burn problem is most likely caused by poor construction in the bunching phase of cigar assembly and involves the misplacement of the central leaf of ligero. Ligero tobacco, which is a slow burning leaf, is supposed to be placed in the very center of the filler bunch. When it is placed nearer the edge of the bunch, the cigar will burn unevenly.

I have seen mouse-hole burns from time to time and I have noted that there are two common features of a mouse-hole burn. First, is a small blackened circle in the side of the wrapper above the burn line. This spot usually graduates to a hole in the sidewall of the wrapper. The second common feature is a hardened, spiked ash and poor performance of the cigar. Sometimes your cigar may look like it is burning okay, because it has a pretty nicely formed ash (see photo above), but when you drop the ash and see a spiked cone, even without the presence of a mouse hole, this is further evidence of a burn issue caused by poor construction or poorly fermented/aged tobacco.

While there is nothing you can really do about a mouse-hole burn, short of cutting off the foot of your cigar and starting over, you can keep track of the company that made the cigar. If you notice this type of burn problem issuing repeatedly from the same manufacturer and factory, then you may think twice about purchasing their cigars until they have successfully addressed the construction issues in their quality control processes.


Photo credit to Stogie Fresh.

via http://www.stogiefresh.info/edu-cigars/articles/mousehole-burn.html

The following two tabs change content below.

Bodega Life

In this section we explore the things that define Bodega Life. We bring you some of the best and brightest minds, sharing their knowledge and passion for the things they love. Sports, health, cars, finance and fashion are some of the lifestyle areas you’ll discover. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment