Cigar 101: Cutting & Lighting


The smoking of cigars has long since been a sort of ritual, a repeated and rehearsed practice done in the name of briefly escaping from the troubles of everyday life. This ritual always starts with the knowledge of how to cut a cigar and light it correctly. 


There are many ways to cut a cigar that largely rely on your individual preference. 

Straight Cut/Single Blade: When you are using a single-bladed cutter, you should rest your cigar away from the blade, and bring the blade down to touch the cigar right where the rounded part of the cigar starts to straighten out. This keeps the cigar properly positioned, and helps prevent any mistakes that might damage the cigar. Once properly positioned cut applying even and swift pressure.

Guillotine: The advantage of double-bladed or "Guillotine" cutters is that the cutting occurs from both sides simultaneously making a cleaner cut. There is less chance that the wrapper will be damaged or torn. The technique however is still, to rest the cigar against a blade before clicking the cutter shut.

Punch: A cigar punch is very small, typically the size of a bullet and convenient to carry on a key chain or key fob. A punch makes about a 1/4″ circular hole in the end of the cap. 

V Cut: These cutters make a V-shaped wedge in the end of the cigar. This cut exposes a lot of surface area and makes it easy to draw smoke. However, the draw sometimes ends up being too much, which will overheat the center of the cigar and make the smoke a little too hot.

Teeth: Chomping off the cap of your cigar the way Clint Eastwood did in "The Good The Bad And The Ugly" is an enticing idea. Who wouldn't want to be like Clint. However, in reality there are quite a few drawbacks to using your natural given cigar cutter. First, it's hard to do accurately and you could very easily tear the wrapper and damage the cigar. Second, your teeth aren't as sharp as a cutter's razor blade. And last, you end up with a big wad of tobacco in your mouth and that's just not classy.



There are a few ways to light a cigar but simply it comes down to whether you prefer good old fashioned matches, or a cigar lighter/ butane torch.

Lighting a cigar is nothing like lighting a cigarette or a candle.  You should light a cigar by holding it at about a 45-degree angle over the flame or match, about three or so inches from the tip of the cigar. Think about lighting your cigar much like you would toast a marshmallow over a campfire. Rotate the cigar while you light to make sure the cigar burns evenly.

Once lit blow your first puff out through the cigar in order to avoid unwanted flavors like sulfur from matches or butane from lighters. however you should not apply more than one outward puff.

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