Most cigar fanatics never dare asking how to properly cut a cigar and what types of cigar cutters are best to use. The important thing to remember is that every cigar has a finite cap and you don’t want to cut into that cap or past it because it what holds the wrapper and binder together and you end you end up with an unraveled stick. Put in mind that the wider the cut, the better air flow and he better your draw is. Three of the best cutters are the guillotine cutter, v cutter and the punch cutter.
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I’m Lane at Cigars & More with Harris. We’re with the Cigar Cafe. We wanted to put together a couple of instructional videos. I know Harris gets some how to questions here and there when he is here in the shop. We wanted to answer some of those questions. Harris, you want to talk a little bit about one of those questions?
Probably the most often asked question is how do I cut a cigar? What’s the proper way or people don’t ask and chop off half an inch of their cigar.
The important part is that every cigar, whether you’re talking about a cigar with a rounded cap or a torpedo-shaped cigar, is going to have a finite cap on it. You want to cut into the cap, but you don’t want to cut past the cap, because the cap is what holds the wrapper onto the binder. If you cut past the cap, your cigar’s going to come unraveled on you. It’s still smoke-able but it’s going to be a less enjoyable experience.
That’s the most important thing to keep in mind is not to cut past the cap. Most cigars when you look closely at them have a line right around the top area. You don’t need to cut very much off.
Torpedo-shaped vitolas introduced some complexity to it. I’ve got an Oliva Serie V Melanio. It’s a torpedo shape, but rather than a cap that comes to here, your cap is all the way down here. You still don’t want to cut past it but you do want to make sure that you’re getting it cut because ultimately the wider your cut is, the more air flow you’re going to get through your cigar, the better your draw is going to be.
We’ve got a couple of different cutters. Harris, I know that you’ve got XIKAR V. What’s the other one? Is that a punch?
Yes. I have a punch from XIKAR. This is the bigger engage punch. It takes a little bit larger punch out of the cigar, which is nice on bigger ring gauge cigars.
I have a double guillotine and this is a little different. A lot of times you’ll see double guillotines where we’re both wings move and then this one you’ve got a fixed wing on this side and then the other wing moves to match. This is probably going to be a little easier to cut with than some of the double guillotines where both wings move. What you’re looking to do is to line up the blades with the portion of the cigar where you want to make your cut, and you want to make sure that you get a good, straight, even cut.
That’s key to get that even cut. The XIKAR V cutter, also what we have here is the metal V Cut that has incredibly sharp blades and works well. It’s a nice metal body cutter and then we also have a nice cigar torch. It’s a triple flame.
We plan to follow up this video with a separate video of once your cigar’s properly cut, how to go ahead and light it. Just like with cutters, there are a couple of different schools of thought on how you do that. You’re looking to make sure that you get an even burn across the entire end of the cigar. Most of the cigars that we have today, they’re all basically a flat end. Sometimes when you start talking about perfecto cigars and some of those vitolas, you end up with a tapered end that’s open where you’re supposed to light it so there’s a little less guesswork involved in lighting those. Harris, what are you about to cut?
I’m about to cut the Romeo y Julieta Nicaragua. It’s the first Nicaraguan release from the Romeo y Julieta line, so I think I will V cut this one. The nice thing about this V cutter is you put it right in there on the back. You can’t cut too far with it and then it takes a nice little V cut out there.
I’ve got a XIKAR V cutter. I think I have the same color and everything that you’re holding there. The nice part about V cuts is it produces a narrow cut down the middle of the cigar and you’re not going to get anything in your teeth and if you need to cut it two or three times to get a wide enough cut to get proper airflow through the cigar, you can come back and recut it. It’s very easy to line up.
I did cut this one a second time. Sometimes the first V cut might not go deep enough for you so you’ll cut it a couple more times if needed.
I’ve had cheap V cutters that were $5. I’ve had the Wolf V Cutter which is $15 or $20.The XIKAR V Cutter is head and shoulders above all the V cutters I’ve used before. There are more expensive V cutters out there. You can get some of the shop V cutters that are going to be in excess of $100, but for $40, $50 the XIKAR is a good value to performance point and it is a quality cutter that’s easy to get the same kind every time.
It’s hard to beat the lifetime warranty also. If you ever have a problem with it, they will take care of it for you, no questions asked.
As far as this Melanio goes, something with a torpedo shape is going to be hard to V cut. Not saying you can’t do it. The end’s going to end up spongy. You may have to do it several times.
I’ve tried it before but it’s not ideal.
It’s not worth the trouble that you end up with. For this one, we’re going to straight cut this. This is also a XIKAR cutter and everybody knows who XIKAR is so we’re not going to burn a lot of time talking about it, but it’s a good cutter. It’s heavy. It has a fixed wing, double guillotine configuration. It operates very much like my Palió Cutter, which is probably my favorite cutter at home, where you’ve got the two pieces that slide against each other but one of them sits still while you cut it. What I’m going to do with this one is I’m going to turn it and you can barely make it out where the ring or the edge of the cap is, and I’m going to cut back from it. I’ve got a good straight cut right here and then just squeeze and I end up with a very even, very level cut.
I hear a lot of people describe how far to cut the torpedo cigars and a lot of people ask about how far to cut the torpedo. A good way to think about it is it’s about a third of the curve, if you think of it in those terms, and you can always cut it a second time if it’s not enough for you. You just don’t want to go past that cap.
This straight cut, the gauge of the cut is a little bit wider than what you’d get out of a typical punch but there’s still plenty of torpedo left on it beyond the cut.
I have another cigar that I’m going to punch with the XIKAR 11mm Punch Cutter, which is going to be a little bit bigger than your average punch cutter, which I like. I like the bigger punch but you want to set it on there on the cigar lightly and cut back and forth, back and forth, ease it on there. If you push too hard, a lot of people will crack the head of the cigar.
It comes unwound if you cut past the cap.
You want to ease it on there. It takes a nice clean round section out of there and the cutter holds it right in there, and then we’ll push that right out.
I’m glad you brought a punch in here because I don’t use a punch often. I feel like I get ugly punches on the rare occasion where I decide to punch a cigar.
That is a big problem with, especially if your cigar’s a tad on the dry side. The punch can mangle that. It’ll crack a good bit but well-humidified cigars, it normally does pretty well.
Thanks for your time with us. Hopefully, you picked up a trick or two. We appreciate you listening and watching the Cigar Cafe; whether it’s the podcast or the YouTube channel, follow us. Hopefully, you’ll learn a little bit about cigars. Hopefully, you’ll get a good laugh here and there. Thanks, Harris.