I would guess some would be aghast at the thought of ruining a perfectly good smoke but I just completed a dissection of a couple of un-smoked cigars. I actually found the process to be very informative and oddly relaxing. One of the subject cigars was from a recent batch that has produced a notable musty taste upon smoking. Another was from a box that I have found to be very enjoyable.
Carefully, I removed the cap and unrolled the wrapper and binding leaves. I took my time and, through all senses taste, smell, visual examination, feel, and even sound, I noted construction, leaf quality, veinage, blemishes, aroma, sheen, and on and on.
I really enjoyed the time spent examining the elements of these two cigars. I was amazed to note all the differences between the two cigars in that the one I enjoyed smoking appeared to have been crafted from much better quality tobacco. There were fewer veins, no blemishes, and larger leaf portions. The musty cigar had some pretty major twig in it from the center leaf vein and also had a number of surface splotches and discoloration in the tobacco. Im guessing some of this is very normal but I found it all fascinating to observe.
Additionally, I observed some strange looking material almost looked like white paste blotches in the cigar I thought tasted musty. I am not certain if this was pectin used to help this cigar hold its form or what it was. This cigar is a box pressed configuration and there were several spots in the filler where this material was present. This substance looked like it may have been a clear liquid that had dried. In its dried state it had turned almond in color and had become a bit crusty. I also noted little white spots in the filler and am wondering if they are mold spots. The spots seemed dusty and would wipe off the leaf surface.
One of the other points I found interesting were the various aromas, colors and textures of individual leaves that had been assembled into the filler. I noticed I didnt particularly care for some of the individual elements of certain leaves. One of the leaves I didnt care for smelled a bit like grass clippings that had just started to become warm. I am guessing these elements will blend and soften with some time and may even further improve the cigar (or not) with a little aging.
Next I am going to toast some of the individual wrapper, binder and filler leaves and note the smoke aroma. I will also combine all the leaves from the original cigar and note the waft of the blended smoke.
Again, some might think this to be a silly thing to do to a fine cigar but I believe I learned a great deal, I found it to be very relaxing, and I added to my appreciation for the art of crafting cigars. I expect I will perform dissections going forward as part of my review of future smokes both good and bad as I believe the qualities of good cigars, unlike beauty, are more than skin deep.