56 - January
time last year I
what to do
to avoid a visitation.
how do you know if he has paid you a call - and what damage does
(Lacioderma or Lasioderma serricorne) starts out
as a harmless egg, laid deep in the tobacco leaf. Under suitable
conditions (excess warmth and humidity) the egg hatches and the
resultant worm eats its way out of the cigar, leaving a small
round hole and a trail of fine tobacco dust. It usually seems
to stick to one cigar, but occasionally it travels along other
cigars, eating as it goes, and creating a trough on the surface.
At some stage the worms metamorphose into tiny brown beetles which
are often found in the bottom of the boxes and may even fly to
other boxes continuing the damage.
in the 60's, before the days of air conditioning, this was a real
threat in shop humidors.
My Dad used to import "Burma Cheroots", but as he said
"The shipping out of Rangoon was so slow, the weevils (beetles)
got more than we did". We visited a top cigar importer in
the UK about 20 years ago. One of his agency lines was the same
range of Burma Cheroots. When they arrived they were sorted in
a safe place into "beetled" or "clean". The
latter were stored in what had been the butter room - the coldest
room in the basement of the old school building which was the
An Air Force Group Captain told us how, when there were too many
holes in the cigar to block with the fingers like a flute payer,
they used to stick matches into the holes to seal them.
The beetle problem is common to all cigars. Many manufacturers
now freeze the cigars, especially before shipping to, or through,
But the beetle
is determined, so look out for him. If you find any signs of his
presence, even in just one cigar, Rick Hacker (in The
Ultimate Cigar Book, 2nd Edition) suggests you remove all
the cigars from your humidor or the box and search for his body.
What you do if you find it is up to you, but get rid of it.
He continues "Next put all the apparently healthy cigars
in a plastic zip-lock bag, gently force the air out of it, seal
it, and place it in the freezer. Leave it there for at least 2
days. 3 is even better. Then, take the bag from the freezer to
the refrigerator so that the cigars will thaw out slowly and will
not go into shock and split. This is the only time I can recommend
putting cigars in the refrigerator. Once the cigars have thawed,
remove them from the refrigerator, take them out of the bag and
slowly let them return to room temperature. Do not put them in
the sunlight to speed up the process or they will split their
wrappers. Once again I tell you this from personal experience.
In the mean time, completely clean and aerate your humidor. Now
you can put your cigars back. The bug is dead. The cigars can
be smoked. You have made the world safe. For now."
is quite a bit to keeping your
cigars in good condition,
but I can't repeat too often - the primary rule is "keep
your cigars cool!"
for this time of the year is the question of what cigars to smoke
after the excesses of the holiday season and in the busyness of
the return to work. A big cigar would fail to satisfy on both
counts - it would very likely be too rich, and may well be too
large for the time available to smoke it. You would smoke it too
fast which would cause it to burn hot, and possibly make you feel
dizzy. What a waste!
The answer is a slightly smaller cigar - in both ringsize
and length. So next week we are offering a three pack of panatella
26 x 115mm
Lopez Panetela Superba
34 x 125mm
34 x 125mm
for the 3-pack only R145.00
offer a delicate flavour and need to be smoked slowly. Draw gently
to achieve a cool, mellow smoke, or draw in a little air each
time. (Don't smoke too fast - make sure they each last 25 to 30
minutes! Otherwise you may be disappointed.)
January 23 to February 5, 2003