I spend a lot of time reviewing cigars and providing you with detailed information about their origins, strength, flavor profile and value. What I haven’t done is rate some of the accessories that we sell at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. Today I am not going to focus on just one particular lighter or cutter but rather take some time to highlife one manufacturer, Xikar.
When it comes to cigar accessories there are many companies that make some great products but there is one name that has branded itself with the term quality. Xikar has done this by offering an unconditional lifetime guarantee on its products and there is no fine print in their promise. When I think of lifetime guarantees I can’t help but think back to the movie Tommy Boy. In a scene where the late, great Chris Farley was trying to sell his auto parts, the guest replied that he chose not to purchase his because it didn’t have a guarantee on the box. Farley’s response, “Hey if you want I can take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed but in the end all you are going to have is a guaranteed piece of shit. Wouldn’t you rather by a quality part from me?” Farley’s statement, though very funny, did have truth in it. In business a guarantee is only as good as the company that backs it. Xikar has proven this and I think they actually enjoy receiving a cutter in 14 pieces only to gladly send back a shiny new one in its place.
Here at ABC we currently offer several different versions of their lighters, cutters, humidity control products and butane, and we will be expanding very soon. We will be adding several new lighters in a variety of colors, ash cans and even travel humidors. Of course all of these products will be guaranteed for life.
Another thing that Xikar does well is educate the public on how to use their products as well as listen to criticism about its new items. Just this year they changed the design on their Stratosphere lighter because some folks complained the catch that held down the waterproof lid was sometimes difficult to open and close and that it could snag on clothing or in a pocket. What did Xikar do about this? Well, they redesigned the lighter and removed this problem. Not a lot of companies would stop production or retool a successful product if it didn’t pose a safety problem but Xikar puts a bigger value on its reputation than it does the cost of conducting a redesign.
I own several Xikar products but I must say that two of my favorite products are a pair of their least expensive. For a lighter I absolutely love the Tech Single Flame. I love the large, visible fuel cell almost as much as the great price. As far as cutters go it is hard not to have an Xi2 in my pocket at all times. This 54 ring gauge (it will cut cigars much bigger) guillotine provides a perfect cut every time. I also own one of their VX v-cut cutters and I wouldn’t trade it for any other v-cut on the market. If you are going to use this type of cutter it must be not only sharp but engineered perfectly to avoid tearing a cigar. The VX is a winner on both accounts.
So whether you are buying for yourself or looking to get that cigar lover on your list a cool gift, look no further than ABC Fine Wine & Spirits for your next cigar accessory purchase. How could we offer the best wines, spirits, craft beers and cigars but not have Xikar? Well fortunately that isn’t a question that we have to answer.
Chris Gwaltney, category manager: craft beer & cigars
Follow me on Twitter @abccigarchris