Whether you’re new to cigars or a well-seasoned expert, preparing a cigar is all part of the ritual. Most cigars come with a closed or capped end that needs to be removed before smoking, this ensures there is enough airflow for the smoke to travel through the cigar.
To guarantee a great smoke you should choose your cutter carefully, as certain cigar shapes are suited to certain cutters, whilst different cutters allow for different draws. Each cutter has its own technique that when done properly assures the cleanest cut. Every cigar smoker has his or her preference, it’s, therefore, important to read up so that you can make the most of your cigars!
Guillotine cutters are the most common in the cigar world because of their practical size. Most guillotine cutters can fit into a trouser or shirt pocket and they’re generally not that expensive to get hold of. The guillotine comes in two varieties, both of which produce a straight cut. The first and cheapest option is the single blade cutter, however, most aficionados prefer the dual blade as it produces a cleaner cut.
Using the guillotine cutter is extremely easy. Around the end of your cigar, there should be a faint line where the cap ends and the cigar begins. Open the guillotine and place your cigar into the cutter as far up to, but not beyond, the faint line. Cutting further than this line may cause your cigar to unravel. Once you’ve decided on the depth of cut, apply strong, swift pressure to the guillotine to ensure a clean, exact finish. Tap the newly cut end to remove any loose tobacco.
Cigar scissors are the more adaptable option for those who prefer wider cigars, or cigars of irregular shapes (such as the torpedo or pyramid). Whereas the guillotine cutters have a limited ring gauge and accommodate only one shape, cigar scissors are much more adjustable and so allow for more deft cutting. It’s worth mentioning that cigar scissors work best when cleaned and sharpened regularly, the sharper the scissors the cleaner the cut.
To use cigar scissors, wet the cap of the cigar a little with your mouth, again find the faint line that broaches the cap and do not go beyond that. Score a line around the cigar using the scissors at your desired depth. Once the position is set, press the scissors against the cigar and apply pressure quickly and directly. Stray pieces can then be trimmed.
V-cutters, otherwise known as notch cutters or wedge cutters, look similar to the guillotines, however, the difference lies in the type of cut. The guillotine cuts straight across the cigar whilst the V-cutters take a narrow wedge out of the cap of the cigar. A well-made V-cutter pierces relatively far into the cigar filler, which encourages greater circulation. But beware, poorer quality V-cutters often cut cigars inadequately, causing an uneven burn that ruins even the highest quality cigar.
Mastering the V-cutter is a little more difficult that other cutters, so if time is of the essence it is perhaps safer to go with the guillotine. For those with time and patience to spare, the rewards of a V-cut cigar are greatly satisfying as many claim the method reduces bitterness. To cut with a V-cutter, take your cigar in one hand and the cutter in your other, pulling the ends of the cutter open. Place the cigar inside and line the blades up with your preferred depth, squeeze the cutter closed in one swift motion. This should create a notch in the cap of your cigar.
The Punch Cutter
For cigar lovers who prefer a narrower draw, the Punch Cutter is a good option. There are a variety of different sized punch cutters that are used to cut small circular holes into the cap. This method of opening your cigar is not as invasive as others and so means there is less chance of compromising the structure of the cigar. Moreover, the smaller hole ensures that fewer tobacco flakes make their way into your mouth. There are some limitations to punch cutters. The smaller opening restricts air circulation so that the cigar may frequently go out. As well as this, punch cutters can only be used on cigars with a rounded cap over the ring gauge size 40.
Most Punch Cutters come with a lid, to use the device remove the lid and press the tube-shaped cutter to the cap of the cigar, twisting as you go. The result should be a small, cylindrical hole in the cap that can be widened by repeating the twisting action in other areas. To remove the cap from the cutter simply press the back.