Before lighting a cigar, the cap (a small piece of tobacco leaf that closes the head) must be cut in order to create an opening to allow the air to pass through. There are many ways and methods to cut a cigar but they almost always involve the use of a clipper or cutter. Some of the preferred types include:
– Guillotine. Available in single- and double-bladed variants, guillotine cutter is very popular because it is designed to make a fast cut. This reduces the risk of wrapper tearing, especially if you use a double-bladed cutter as the cigar is cut from two sides simultaneously.
– Punch. It isn’t really a cutter but a round blade that is pushed into the head of the cigar to create a circular opening. Its main advantage is that you don’t have to worry about how much to cut but it isn’t the best choice for all types of cigars, especially those with a smaller ring gauge.
– V-cut clipper. The goal of V-cut clipper is very similar to that of punch cutter but instead of creating a round opening, it is used to make a V-shaped cut in the middle of the head. Just like punch cutter, V-cut clipper eliminates the cap length issue. However, the cut shouldn’t be too deep because it may cause the cigar to burn too fast and produce a hot smoke.
– Scissors. Even though they are designed especially for cutting cigars, they aren’t as popular as clippers/cutters mentioned above for two reasons. Firstly, they require some skill to make a good cut and secondly, they aren’t the most convenient to carry around.
– Other. For some cigar lovers, tools such as pocket knives, razor blades and even teeth work just fine.
How Much to Cut?
How much to cut a cigar above all depends on the cap size which tends to vary from one brand to another. Therefore, you are recommended to carefully inspect the cigar’s head to determine where the cap ends. Cut slightly beneath because if you cut too far, you are risking ruining your cigar.
Lighting a Cigar
Just like every cigar lover has their own preferred cutting tool and method, lighting a cigar is a matter of personal preferences as well. Some prefer matches and others prefer lighters. But not just any kind of matches or lighters.
Many aficionados who prefer matches over lighters don’t use ordinary matches but the so-called cedar spills – long matches that are made of Spanish cedar. But regardless of the type of matches that are used, it is important to wait for a second or two before lighting the cigar in order for the sulfur to burn and prevent it from affecting the taste.
As much as lighters are concerned, butane versions are preferred over gasoline based lighters as they affect the flavor. According to manufacturers of gasoline based lighters, however, this can be avoided by letting the flame burn for a few seconds before lighting the cigar.