There comes a point when you start talking the talk and walking the walk when it comes to appreciating the art of cigars. Once you realize that you are no longer a novice cigar smoker but a full on enthusiast you start accruing the tools you need to become fully immersed in your newest obsession. Humidors and lighters and cutters, oh my! Because there is such a variety of shapes, colors and sizes when it comes to cigars people begin to realize that there is also a large variety of cigar cutters as well. One thing that can ruin a perfect cigar is a poor cut with an improper tool. Finding the perfect match is easy; you just need to know some specifics and terminology.
- The Guillotine – off with the head!
This is the standard and the most common of the cigars cutters. They vary in gauges and price. Typically guillotine cutters have a double blade but some do vary in single blade. These cutters in particular are the most effective in getting a clean cut for a more enjoyable smoking experience. Guillotine cutters are easy to use and keep a neat, clean wrapper. For best practice in cutting with a guillotine, lay the cutter on a flat surface opened, place the head of the cigar in the opening so that way it is touching the surface. Simply squeeze and admire the precision on your cutting skills.
- The Punch – right in the kisser
Small in size, punch cutters are a small circular blade that you gently press into the head of the cigar. It cores out a small hole and allows for a more condensed smoke. Punch cutters can be used to cut most styles but not recommended on torpedo styles because of the pointed tip. If you decide to invest in a proper torch lighter for your cigars most are equipped with a punch on the bottom for a convenient all in one. For a beginner smoker the punch cut might be too much due to the condensing of the smoke. Since they are a smaller cut they are easily transportable and some even come on a key ring for portable option.
- V-cutter – victorious cut
Similar to the guillotine in shape and style, V-cutters usually have a single blade but instead of an open gauge these cutters have a narrow oval shaped gauge. These cutters are ideal for torpedo style cigars and offer the benefit of not exposing as much tobacco. The V-cutter makes a narrow cut and cores out the tip of the head of the cigar. This makes for a wonderful draw and even smoke. Use caution to not cut too much of the head because the cutter cuts and cores it can make the cigar burn too quickly and get hot.
- Scissors – snip, snip, hooray!
Cigar scissors are specifically designed to make a clean cut on the head of the cigar with high quality steel. These bad boys come in many different shapes and styles for any and all occasions. Cigar scissors are ideal for any and all cigars because of their versatility and precision. Used like a pair of household scissors, snipping the head of the cigar at preferred length. Cigars scissors are a bit more expensive than the average run of the mill cutter but they are worth the expense if you are undertaking the hobby as lifestyle. Although they are a great option they do need to be maintained a bit more than the average cutter. Cleaning is easy with isopropyl alcohol wipes and a dry towel.
With all cigar cutters the most important things is keeping them dry and sharp. The last thing you need is a dull and rusted blade ruining the cigar that took so long to make. Now, if you’re in a bind and unable to cut your cigar with the proper tools there a couple of methods I have seen over the years. Using the punch technique I have seen cigars cut with the tip of key. Make sure the key is clean and be careful to not cut too deep as it will cause for a hotter burn. Also, the way cigars are rolled, there is usually a cap on the head of the cigar; you can use your thumb to gently take off the cap. Now this will leave for exposed filler but will feel like a more rugged smoke. The last option is to bite the head of the cigar. You defiantly want to try and avoid this if at all possible; it will make for an uneven cut and wet tip which can really put a damper on your smoking experience. Best techniques come with practice and what works for some won’t work for most. Like all the wonderful cigars out there keep trying and keep learning.
“There are two things worth living for, one is a good cigar, and the other is a better one.” –Unknown
Christian Santistevan, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits