The right way to use a cigar cutter is to execute one swift but strong cut using your preferred type of cigar cutter, being sure to take the end off cleanly.
For a start, there are several different types of cigar cutters. Why is this? Put simply, it’s because there are several different ways to cut a cigar.
Below, we will look at the different types of cigar cutter and how to use them, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each type. We’ll start with the cheapest and simplest – the single blade guillotine cutter.
Single Blade Guillotine
Here’s an often-asked question: why do we have to cut a cigar? It’s down to how the cigar is made, with a closed end that needs to be trimmed so the air can travel through when you take a draw. Now, the single blade cutter is a simple device. It will be compact and not exactly robust, and here’s how it works!
Take your cutter and you will see it has a hole in the middle. There will usually be a sliding switch on the side, or some models you simply move the ends of the casing outwards to reveal the blade. Move the switch, and you’ll see the blade come across the hole. Simple isn’t it? Now, take your cigar and have a close look at the tip. You’ll probably see some form of line close to the cap. This is where you want to cut the cigar. Don’t go any further down or you’ll find your cigar – which is made up of many tightly rolled layers – begins to unravel.
Place the cigar in the hole – you can either to this while holding both cigar and cutter, or you can place the cutter on the table – and hold it still. Now move the switch downwards – do it swiftly and firmly, without a pause – and it will cut a tapered route through the cigar, dropping the cap. That’s it – you’ve cut your cigar perfectly!
Or you may not have done! The truth is it probably takes a few goes to get it right, but once you have the knack you’ll soon settle into the routine. So, is the single blade cutter for you? The type of cigar cutter a smoker uses is personal choice, and most will start out with the single blade type as these are far from expensive. However, we believe that once you try a double-blade example you’ll want to move up a grade!
Double Blade Cigar Cutter
So, the double – or dual – blade cigar cutter, what’s it all about? In truth this is the way to get the very best cut from your cigar, and the cleaner the cut the more enjoyable the smoke. These cutters work in the same way as the single blade device, the difference being that they feature twin blades that cut from both sides.
The action is the same – one piece of advice with both this and the single blade device is, once you place the cigar in, slowly move the blades until they rest on the sides of the cigar. Then, while keeping a firm hold, execute a smooth and hard cut with the switch – and that’s job done!
The dual blade cutter is an easy to use device. If you are new to smoking cigars it may be sensible to try one before you settle for a single blade example, as we believe you will find it much more to your liking. Moving on, let’s talk about the v-cutter, another type that serves to complicate matters.
V-Cut Cigar Cutter
You may well ask why there is a need for so many different types of cigar cutter (the list doesn’t end here) but that’s just the way it is. The V-cutter is one of the lesser-used designs, but it’s also one that is preferred by some smokers thanks to the way it works.
Rather than cutting the cap off, the V-cutter incises a v-shaped cut in the cigar through which it can be smoked. Usually, the v-cutter works with a single blade and via the moveable casing design. You simply hold the cigar in the cutter and move the casing slowly yet firmly towards the cigar. The result is a neatly delivered V-shape.
What is the benefit of the v-cut design? Ask those who use this type of cutter and they will tell you it enhances the flavour. There is plenty of debate about this, but we can’t doubt the claims of smokers who prefer this type of cut. We recommend you try it, as you never know until you do!
So, moving on, we come to a traditional yet rather quaint way of cutting a cigar – cigar scissors!
Once upon a time a pair of cigar scissors would have been the preferred method of cutting the cap off a cigar. Nowadays they are not as popular as they once were, but this is still a neat and useful item to have in your possession. What are cigar scissors?
Take a look at a pair of cigar scissors and you’ll see that while they resemble ordinary scissors in some ways, there are differences. Most notably, there is one blade and curved section on the other side. They are not the easiest things to use, especially when compared to the single or double-bladed cutters described above!
The trick is in holding the cigar firmly while cutting, and another tip is to wet the end of the cigar with your mouth before you place it in the scissors. As above, carefully press the blade against the side of the cigar until you’re ready to cut, the press hard and firm on the scissors and you’ll slice through nice and cleanly.
The question remains – why would you use a pair of cigar scissors when a cutter is easier to use? Quite simply, because you can! The traditions that come with cigar smoking are timeless, and cigar scissors are a part of that.
Now we come to the controversial part – the cigar punch: is it the way to go or is it sacrilege? The jury is out, so let’s see why!
Why would you punch a hole in the end of a cigar – as the cigar punch does – rather than cut the cap off completely? Like the v-cutter above, some smokers claim this smaller aperture gives them better flavour, perhaps as the air is drawn through in lesser quantities and allows them to savour the taste more readily.
There are others who use a cigar punch because it is a simple implement to use, and a very small one that can fit in a pocket with ease. The punch itself is a cylindrical device that will have a cap, which you remove to insert the cigar. Once the cigar is in place you simply press the button on the end of the punch, which sends a sharp point into the cigar – that’s your hole. You then take the cigar out and push again to remove the debris from the punch.
Simple and clean, the cigar punch may not be the desired method for everyone, but it is a very neat way of preparing a cigar to smoke. However, be aware that it may not be suitable for some cigars, so you need to check the ring gauge of the punch if you are buying one. This also applies to most types of cutter, which may not handle a ring gauge of greater than 60.
That’s your main types of cutter, so which one is for you?
Before we finish off, here’s a great video from Drew Estate Cigars showing you exactly how to make the different kind of cuts.
If you’re new to the world of cigars, you’ll be reading this to find out not only how to use a cigar cutter, but which one is the best for you. We could answer that with a definitive suggestion, but the simple fact remains that different people prefer a different type of cut.
Many will tell you to begin with a single blade cutter: these are simple, easy to use, and cheap to buy. They do a decent job once you have the knack sorted. However, we believe that once you try a double blade cutter, you’ll find it gives you better results, so you’ll soon buy one to replace your single blade model. We say go straight to the double blade; it won’t cost you much more, and it will do a better job.
What about the V-cutter? Try it, it’s for the specialists and you might find you like what you smoke. Scissors are something of a novelty these days but still do the job, and as for the punch, it is worth buying one – again, they are cheap – to keep on your person in case you forget your preferred cutter. You may even find you like smoking a punched cigar.
That’s it then, and we hope we’ve given you the information you need to choose and use a cigar cutter. Remember – one swift and firm cut is all it takes, and once you get that right you’re ready to enjoy your cigars to the full.