The Correct Way of Cutting a Cigar

In category: Cigar Basics

A cigar has to be lit first before its flavorful smoke can be enjoyed. Before lighting it, however, a cigar usually has to be cut first. Cutting a cigar has evolved into a process that requires a special skill. Given the proper information needed, anybody can learn this special skill.

There are several types of cutters available in the market today. There are guillotine cutters, wedge cutters, and hole or torpedo cutters. Aside from the three, there is always that old-fashioned method of simply biting off the head that is not generally recommended except if there is an emergency. If there are no cutters around, a person can always find a sharp knife to cut off the portion of the cigar. Biting off the end causes the head part to deteriorate as it is smoke.

A good guillotine cutter, when properly used, can slice off a small section of the head that is called the cap or the flag lead. This leaves a clean, circular hole that gives an ample of drawing power. It also avoids the accumulation of tars near the head that results to a smoother, better tasting smoke.

Guillotine cutters come in two basic types: the single blade and the double blade. A single blade will do a good job but it is usually harder to use properly. A double-blade guillotine has a blade in each direction and it clamps before slicing. This causes an easy and accurate method of slicing.

Wedge cutters, as the name implies, produce a wedge-shaped notch at the cigar’s head. Some critics claim that the wedge-shaped notch is prone to collecting tars. It is said to be prone to collapse from the chewing end that causes a less satisfying smoke. Experiences among cigar smokers may differ because some say that using wedge cutters doesn’t necessarily lead to a less satisfying smoke. Wedge cutters offer a solid end that is less prone to unraveling as compared to a circular hole. When done correctly, the tar build-up will be negligible and so the taste effects will not be outweighed by the other considerations.

In the past decades, a pocket knife is a useful tool to make the wedge. Today, there are a lot of available wedge cutters that are both good and affordable. The main objective here is to create a hole that is large enough for an ample draw that allows pulling from the core and the rim. Penetrating too deeply has to be avoided in using wedge cutters because it will produce a hot smoke.

The same principle has to be considered when using guillotine cutters. Look for the part of the cigar wherein the curve of the head starts to flatten out. A slice of about 1/10th of an inch is good. Guillotine cutters always allow a second cut.

Another cutting tool is the lancer. Also called piercer and hole cutter, the lancer is used to poke a hole of about a millimeter in diameter into the end of the cigar. This tend to concentrate the tars near the end but if the hole is large enough, a thin slice is fine.

An instrument has to be sharp enough before it is used to cut a cigar in order to achieve that swift and sure motion because otherwise, it may lead to tearing up the end rather than cutting it.

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