It shouldn’t happen, and it especially shouldn’t happen if you’re a savvy smoker who pays attention to and keeps tracks of the attributes of the cigars you like, but every so often you’ll hit a stick that’s a clinker. For whatever reason, it doesn’t resonate and what should be a pleasant smoke simply isn’t. The experience is similar to picking up a book that you really wanted to read, that got great reviews, but you’ve read into a bit and you don’t get what the hype is all about because you’re not hooked.

So, the question becomes, should you go farther? And if you do go on and things still aren’t going well, at what point do you throw in the towel and chuck everything?

Part of the answer depends on what the problem is. If it’s simply a matter of taste and you’re not too far along in the smoke, try giving it a little more time. Cigars need to heat up to a certain extent before they begin to reveal what they’re all about. There’s also a certain point in a cigar—called the sweet spot—where everything comes together as the maker intended them to. This is typically about half-way through the smoke, and it should extend through much, if not all, of the second half of the smoke. If you’re not there yet, you might want to keep going. If you are there and it still isn’t a satisfying smoke, it might simply not be a cigar for you. Or it might be a green cigar—in other words, one that needs more aging. If it’s the latter, put any others of its kind that you might have away for at least a month. If it’s a onesie, why torture yourself further? Put it down and chalk it up to experience.

If the problem is structural, in other words, the cigar isn’t burning right, you might be able to correct the problem and salvage the smoke. For example, maybe you’re getting lots of air and no smoke when you pull on the cigar. This is often caused by uneven rolling, which created a void or pocket in the bunch. If the void is small you might be able to smoke past it. If not, you might be hit. That said, you can try rolling the cigar a little bit in your fingers, gently so you don’t damage the wrapper. Things might even out a little.

If it feels like you’re not getting much of anything when you’re puffing, you’ve got a plugged cigar. It could have been rolled too tightly or it might be over humidified. If it’s the latter, there’s not much you can do. If it’s the former, you can try to open it up some by running a skewer lengthwise through it.