Cigar 101: Cutting Your Cigar Optimally
Although seasoned cigar smokers make it look easy, the reality is that many new smokers have some difficulty cutting their cigar(s). This fact became clear to me, most notably at a wedding of a relative, when a family-friend asked me if his cigar (one of those being handed out at the wedding) was properly cut, while holding what likely used to be a cigar, now missing about the last inch or so. Having borrowed a cutter from my aficionado uncle—who probably thought it would be disrespectful to intervene with another man’s cut—the misguided and well-meaning friend had not only butchered a cigar, but was none the wiser to it. As he walked over to my position, “cigar” in his mouth, with a proud and wide grin on this face, every single person he walked by didn’t see anything wrong with the scene. They would probably be destroying their own cigars later!
However, there’s a large difference between these “smokers” (who admittedly have never purchased a cigar), and new smokers that spend hard earned cash on their cigars. What was a minor disappointment for the wedding goer could be a devastating development to new smokers, as their cigar, and the hard-earned cash, are made uncomfortable and/or unusable. Incorrect cuts can create issues with the draw, cause unpleasant pieces of tobacco and/or wrapper to fall off in one’s mouth, and even lead to the unraveling of the wrapper altogether, rendering the cigar unsmokeable.
To avoid these potential problems, and maximize your cigar enjoyment, an easy-to-follow cutting guide is below, with a few helpful hints thrown in as well.
Assuming that you’ve purchased your cutter (let’s hope you’re not that far behind!), which can admittedly be purchased most affordably on Ebay, or received for free in an online cigar retailer promotion, the rest isn’t really that difficult. As you probably know, however, mistakes are costly, similarly to the magnitude of those found in online shopping; the action itself is easy, but accuracy and carefulness are integral components of a successful experience.
On the back of the cigar (I truly have seen someone try to smoke and cut a cigar from the wrong end), judge what is about 1/8th of an inch—certainly not above the pre-defined, circular mark on most cigars—and raise the spread cutter to this point.
Next, slowly close the cutter around the point that you’d like to cut, and when necessary, give it the final push required to execute the cut. Be sure, however, that the cutter is flat and even, so that the mouthpiece of the cigar isn’t angled, which probably won’t inhibit the smoke, but is a sizeable annoyance.
If the cut is obscured or covered by the wrapper, preventing a good draw, a lighter, easier cut can be executed on the mouthpiece, removing this thin layer, and freeing up the smoke.
And there you have it! A successful cut isn’t very hard to do, so long as you know where to do it, and what to look out for!
There are a few other, brief yet helpful hints regarding cuts that I’ve found over the years that will help you achieve the maximum enjoyment from your cigars.
- If you really hate cutting cigars normally, purchasing a smaller, circle-shaped, cutter from your local cigar store is a good option. Even if a cut is done correctly, tobacco occasionally comes loose, which is a minor annoyance. The circular, hole-creating cutter will eliminate the loose wrapper and tobacco that regular cutters (even when properly used) sometimes leave behind. This cutter is also very useful for cutting on the go, as an accurate cut is much simpler to accomplish. Simply turning the cutter, slowly, into the cigar will create a small hole that allows the cigar to draw well, and also offers a convenient change of pace from the cut of regular cutters.
- If the circle cutter doesn’t interest you, for whatever reason, cigar cutters with a pre-determined length barrier may be useful. These cutters with a backboard assure that one won’t cut the cigar too high, or unevenly. They are ideal for new cigar smokers.
- Please, please, make sure that the cutter is clean. Alright, I’ll keep this one brief, because it’s self-explanatory, but a small story must be thrown in. A friend that owns a landscaping company, and enjoys a smoke on certain days, met me straight after work, as he was in the area. As he offered me a cigar, and a cutter, I saw that it evidently hadn’t been cleaned since he had used it at work (and that he didn’t make much of an effort to care for it)—the metallic silver cutter was, quite literally, black with dirt and grime. Now, I’m by no means a germaphobe, but after I had cut the cigar (I wasn’t sure how to say no), the mouthpiece end was now covered with the same black substance(s). I won’t say exactly what happened that day (it still pains me), but I will say that I’ve only turned one cigar away in my life, and that this friend hasn’t offered me a smoke since.
Hopefully the above guide was helpful, interesting, or some combination of the two, to you. Additionally, if you don’t feel like explaining the process to an inept friend, there you have it: it’s all there, no effort required. Now go enjoy a well-cut cigar. You’ve earned it!
Tags: Cigar 101, how to cut a cigar
Categorised in: Cigar 101