How to Cut a Cigar
While most of the enjoyment of the cigar-smoking experience comes from the quality of the cigar itself, cutting it poorly can result in a less-than-stellar smoke.
On a new cigar, one end — the “foot” — is already open. The other end — the “cap” — is enclosed by a small piece of tobacco leaf that’s separate from the main wrapper. As the cap end of the cigar will go in your mouth, it must be cut open before you can smoke it.
The goal in making this cut is to create a smooth opening without compromising the integrity of the cigar. You want to cut enough off for a smooth draw, but not so much that you cut into the main wrapper and risk it unraveling. You need to also cut quickly so that the break is clean and not frayed; you’ll always get some little flecks of wrapper in your mouth, but much fewer with a clean cut.
For tips on how to execute this kind of cut and get the most out of your cigar, read this.
Types of Cigar Cutters
Guillotine or Straight Cutters
The most basic type of cutter used to make straight cuts is the single blade guillotine. The double blade guillotine is preferred by many aficionados because it usually makes a cleaner cut.
Cigar scissors are also used to make straight cuts and may be the best choice for cutting the cigar at the exact spot you intend. However, the guillotines are usually the most practical, the least expensive, and can be easily and safely carried in the pocket of your shirt or trousers.
The hole punch is used to put a hole in the cap of the cigar, instead of cutting it off. If the hole is not large enough for the cigar, the draw of smoke through the cigar can be impeded. Also, as the cigar is smoked, tar can accumulate near the hole, also affect the taste as well as the draw.
V cutter or Wedge Cutter
The wedge or "V" cutter resembles the guillotine cutter, but the shape of the blade slices a wedge into the cap of the cigar instead of cutting it completely off. The cutter is designed to slice from one side, and at the same depth, so there is no danger of cutting too deep.
How to Make a Perfect Cut
- Locate the cap.
The cap is just a small piece of tobacco that covers the end and keeps the whole thing together. It’s very easy to locate. This is all you want to cut — no more.
- Position the blades right on the cigar, just inside the end of the cap.
You want to position the blades a couple millimeters in from the end of the cap.
- Make a quick cut — no lollygagging.
The first few cigars I cut, I was too tentative, and ended up with flayed cuts. For a clean, smooth smoking experience, cut the cigar firmly and quickly. It may not be perfectly straight — that’s just how it goes — but it’ll most likely at least be clean and leave fewer little tobacco flecks to end up in your mouth.
- Using a punch. Using a punch is terribly easy. You insert the punch, pull out the punch, and voila! You have a smokable cigar.
- Smoke and enjoy!