Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cutters and Lighting Tools

Ok, Erik is back for the second time today. I'm still new at the whole blog thing, so bare with me. I'm trying to come with things to write about. While I wait for the snow to come into Massachusetts and hopefully shut down all of my activities for tomorrow (*crosses fingers*), I have thought of a topic that I am sure has come up on a number of cigar sites, forums, and blogs: cigar cutters and the methods of lighting a cigar. I will talk about each of the various methods used to cut a cigar and light a cigar and will tell you what I use and why I use my said method. Let's begin.

Cutting a cigar is the first step one needs to take in order to smoke a cigar. Otherwise, how do you expect to draw the smoke into your mouth? It is critical that before I even mention the different types of cutters out there that I explain to you how to cut a cigar.
Cigar Cap
As you can see in the image, every cigar has a cap. A cigar's cap is what keeps the wrapper from unraveling itself. You can tell where the cap is by identifying the lines on the head of a cigar. Once you find the line that defines where the cap is, all you have to do is cut just above that as to not cut more than needed. No one wants to have a cigar fall apart on them due to poor cutting!

The guillotine cutter is used to take an entire section off of the head of the cigar, just right above the cap. What's left on the head of the cigar is the tobacco of the cap of the cigar. That would be where the cigar will be smoked from.

Guillotine Cutter

The V-Cut does not remove an entire section off of the head of the cigar. As its name says, the cutter will cut a v shape into the cigar's head, giving the smoker adequate draw and also be good for people that either don't wish to take that much off of the cigar or want less smoke volume.


This style of cutter is much more creative, in a sense, than any of the other cutter styles. With cigar scissors, you are able to open up the head of the cigar as much or as little as desired. This method can help with tight draw issues and can produce an overall more favorable draw out the cigar than other cutter types.

A punch literally punches a hole into the head of the cigar. This helps when you want to smoke a fuller bodied smoke but do not want to have so much of the flavor coming out at you. I find that the punch is extremely good when you don't have scissors available and have a cigar that is too fat for other cutter styles.

Lighting Tools:
First and foremost about lighting tools is the idea that the cleanest burning flame is desired for lighting a cigar. Disposable lighters, Zippos, and paper matches are big no-nos because the oils from these flames will tamper with the flavors of the cigar.

When lighting a cigar, it is a good idea to toast the foot, or the bottom of the cigar first. This simply insures that your cigar will burn even and will not have patches where the there is unlit tobacco. When toasting the foot, remember that the idea is that you want light in a circular motion around the foot to get create a brick red char. Once that is achieved you can either put the cigar in your mouth and draw while lighting in a circular motion, or blow on the foot to get the cigar to burn evenly. Once the foot is a gray color all the way around, the cigar is lit. Now onto the tools that are used to light cigars.

Matches are the classic way to light a cigar. Some even say that matches are the only, proper way to light a cigar. Wooden matches are the only kind of matches that should be used to light a cigar, because the wood will help to preserve the flavors of the cigar. When lighting a match, you want the cellophane to burn off before rolling the foot of the cigar with a match. If you do not have wooden matches around, here's a good tip: you can light a piece of Spanish ceder that comes in some cigar tubes and light the cigar that way.

Butane Torch Lighter:
The flame that is produced from a butane torch is very clean burning, so none of the cigar's flavor will be tampered with. I am a firm believer that it is easier to use a butane torch to toast and light a cigar. Butane torches come in single, double, and triple flames. Butane lighters require to only be filled with a butane fuel, and not the liquid fuel Zippos use. The cheapest option in butane lighters is to go to Wal Mart and pick up a Ronson butane lighter for $3.

Personal Preferences:
When I am preparing myself for a nice smoke, I usually pull out a guillotine cutter and a butane torch. I like the guillotine cut because it allows the cigar to give off the most amount of flavorable smoke possible. When lighting the cigar, the butane torch just makes sense because I am able to get a much more even burn with less time worrying about a match going out or the match dying out too fast. Plus, butane torches are windproof!

That's it for this post, so I hope you will read this post and make the correct decision on how to perpare you cigar for smoking in your style!
Until Next Time,
Keep Lighting Up

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