To thoroughly enjoy cigars one must Master a few simple but invaluable techniques for cutting and lighting Cigars.
Preparing to smoke a cigar can be an experience in itself for some. For this kind of smoker it’s the beginning of cigar enjoyment. First, is the cutting of the cigar.
The closed head must be cut before you smoke. The aim is to create an opening for smoking without affecting the integrity of the cigar’s structure. This is achieved best by snipping away part of the cap that covers the head of the cigar, and carefully leaving some of it in place around the end to keep the filler leaves together. A rule of thumb, make the cut about one-sixteenth of an inch from the end. Another trick is to simply look for the shoulder – the place where the curved end of the cigar starts to straighten out – and make your cut there.
The better the cigars you smoke, the more attention you’ll want to pay to the cut. A bad cut will ruin a cigar, which brings to cutting implements.
Types of Cigar Cutters (View our line of Cigar Cutters)
In a pinch the time-tested method is to use your teeth to bite off the end! However, today’s smokers prefer one of four popular methods. They choose from Guillotines, Scissors, Punch and V-cutters.
Guillotines, produced in both double and single-bladed versions, are designed to “chop off” a thin slice across the head of the cigar. This generally produces the best results and is also the most popular way to cut a cigar.
Of the guillotines, the double-blade is the better choice for a cleanest cut. The advantage of double-bladed cutters is that the cutting proceeds from both sides simultaneously. A dull single blade can trap the cigar against the inside of the blade chamber and end up tearing the cigar instead of crisply snipping away the end. For the surest cut use a double blade.
Cigars scissors are specifically manufactured for the purpose of snipping cigars. Use a quality cigar scissor to guarantee swift, precision cuts. Dull or lower-quality scissors will cause more harm than good, potentially mashing the ends and damaging the cigars all together.
A punch cutter is basically a circular razor sharp blade that you push gently into the head of a cigar, which cores out an opening. This is an excellent choice of cutter. However, punch cutters are usually not a viable choice for figurados, or small ring gauge cigars.
Piercers are small sword-like tools that are used to jab holes into the head of the cigar. After several holes are made the cigar is ready for smoking. This is not as popular a cigar cutting method as the others mentioned here.
Finally, consider the V-cutter. It makes a notched hole in the end of the cigar. This creates more surface area without exposing your tongue to loose tobacco, and it allows you to draw more air through the cigar. This is a good choice for small ring gauge cigars.
Cigar Lighting (View our line of Cigar Lighters)
There are several ways to cut a cigar, the best being what suits the individual. However, there is only one way to effectively light a cigar.
First, don’t let flame touch foot of cigar. Lighting a cigar is not like lighting the wick of a candle on a birthday cake. Instead keep the cigar above and near the flame, but don’t let them touch. Burning a cigar directly in a flame makes it too hot. Even the burn by rotating the cigar so all parts of its tip is equally heated. As the cigar’s foot heats up gently draw in, when the cigar is hot enough the flame will jump to the cigar. Be patient, and keep at it until there’s a glowing ring all the way around the cigar’s tip. The nice even burn will be worth the wait.
Choosing Your Flame
A word of advice – Never light a cigar with a flame from a source that will alter the essence, or taste, of your cigar. We always recommend Butane cigar lighters, as they have the cleanest burning fuel.
Cigar lighters are the easiest way to get an even light. Be sure your lighter is indeed a cigar lighter. It should use odorless butane gas, and offer a “fat” flame, and possibly have two or three jet-flames, and an feature to allow you to adjust the flame.
When looking to purchase a lighter your first requirement should be performance. You will find lighters in a wide variety of shapes and materials with many different features. A good lighter, should fit well in your hand. The cap should open and swing back exposing whole flame in one easy motion. Choose a style that suits you.
If you prefer matches, try to get extra-long, wooden sulfur-less matches. Carried by quality cigar shops, they are a suitable option. If you find you are using regular, short matches, try lighting 2 or 3 at a time to create a larger flame to get complete ignition. Pause after lighting the matches to allow the sulfur to burn off thus avoiding adding any sulfur odor to your cigar.