Well, you’ve pretty much decided that it’s a great time to smoke a cigar and I think we can all agree that’s just about any time. Now after you’ve chosen your precious stick that you’ll be spending the next hour or two with, the very first part of this wonderful ritual is cutting the cigar. And cutting it correctly – or incorrectly – is such a huge part of the overall experience.
A good cut of a fine cigar can lead to a great time, just you and your hand rolled gem relaxing the time away. But an incorrect or sloppy cut can literally ruin the entire experience. A bad cut can either cause loads of tobacco crumbs to go into your mouth, or worse yet, unravel the leaf at the head which is a miserable disaster. Face it, premium hand rolled cigars aren’t cheap these days and ruining one can be pretty damned annoying.
Now the first point I want to make is that whatever kind of cutter you choose, make sure it’s not an old one with a dull blade because that’s going to give a lousy cut and shred the cap. Some guys like to moisten the head with their mouth before cutting but if it’s a cutter that someone else is going to use, THAT is just a really bad idea if you catch my drift.
As far as cutting methods go, there is no right or wrong (for the most part) it’s mostly what you enjoy personally. The first method is single guillotine which is mostly done with cheaper cutters and has really lost its popularity to the double guillotine. The double just does a much better job, snipping the head from both sides evenly. And the key is that you snip just a hair above the line of the cap. The lower you snip you not only open up a looser draw, but you risk the cigar unraveling. But, not taking off enough cap can give you a tighter draw. You need to take your time and eyeball it correctly.
As far as the V Cut goes, you either love it or you don’t. I’m not a big fan, but I know so many guys that swear by it. It cuts like a cat’s eye creating a more concentrated area than the double guillotine and it’s cleaner as it doesn’t produce as much loose tobacco. I just like an open end cut as it allows more smoke to come through. Again, it’s just personal preference.
Now the punch cutter is always popular because it’s handy, easy to carry around and works simple and easy. While it makes a narrower opening in the head of your smoke, you can simply make a double hole on a larger ring gauge or even a triple clover shaped hole on a 60 ring or above. I like them, but you’ve always got to check them for sharpness. Also, there’s a number of lighters that have a built-in punch cutter that slides out of the bottom.
The cigar scissors are always a fancy and elegant way to snip your stick and it just looks cool. It’s quite accurate and some models actually fold away nicely. Xikar makes several models that are around $50.
Okay, there are a few more alternative methods, with the first being just biting off the head of your cigar. Some guys would never do this, but I do it all the time. You really just want to grab the top layer of leaf and tear it off gently with your teeth – you don’t want to bite down into the cigar. It’s not the cleanest way, but it works of me. Some use their fingernail the scrape off the head. And some guys use a draw poker, a match, or even a golf tee to make a hole, but that concentrates the smoke though a very small opening which makes your smoke hot and acidic.
As a side note, some of my favorite cutters are the Lotus Jaws and the Deception, Xikar XO and Xi2, Colibri V Cutter and the Quasar Cut, and the Zino Z9 Punch just to name a few.
And just for good measure, there’s a method known as the Dickman Cut, where you use a double guillotine to cut the head on a slanted angle, having the open-end point down on your tongue when in your mouth. Some swear by it, but what happens when the open end is pointing sideways or upwards? Hmmm…
So. there you go, a brief discussion on the first important part in enjoying the cigar you’ve chosen. I’d love to hear your thoughts and favorite ways in the comments section below!
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