Cutting Your Cigar

The better the cigars you smoke, the more attention you'll want to pay to the cut. A bad cut will ruin a cigar.

The object of the cut is to create an ample, smooth opening for smoking without damaging the cigar's structure. With most cigars, this means cutting away part of the cap or flag leaf that closes the cigar, while leaving some of it glued around the end to keep the filler leaves together. If you are making a wedge cut or a bull's-eye cut, it means not penetrating too deeply into the cigar. You want to create a large, exposed surface of cleanly cut filler leaves that will allow equal draw from the core and the rim of the cigar.

On most cigars, you'll want to make the cut about one-sixteenth of an inch (about two millimeters) from the end. When you aren't carrying a precision measuring device, you can simply look for the shoulder--the place where the curved end of the cigar starts to straighten out--and make your cut there.

Another alternative is to make a V-shaped wedge cut in the end of the cigar. This style of cut exposes a lot of surface area and makes it easy to draw smoke through the cigar. Unfortunately, the draw is sometimes too good, and the cigar will smoke too hot. Wedge cuts are a particularly bad idea for people who tend to chew their cigars. If they chomp down hard enough while the wedge is horizontal, the opening may collapse and tear the structure of the cigar, closing off the draw.

Cutting Tools

There are a number of devices that will help you cut your cigar in a single, swift motion that minimizes the chances of tearing the wrapper. Many aficionados have several cutters, from compact wafer-thin cutters that nestle in a pocket to more massive cutters that are less likely to be misplaced, punch cutter or a v-cutter.

Suggested strategy: buy yourself your first cutter and drop gift hints for the rest.

Straight cut

Double- and single-bladed cutters, scissors and desk-top devices are designed to make a cut across the end of the cigar. These are generally the best options.

When you are using a single-bladed cutter, the cigar should be placed against the far side of the opening--away from the blade--and the blade brought down to touch the cigar before you make the cutting stroke. This keeps the cigar properly positioned, and prevents motion that might lead to tearing or to the cut happening in the wrong place. Once the cigar is in position, cut boldly, using swift, even pressure. A true aficionado cuts like a surgeon: quickly and confidently.

With single-bladed cutters it's important to make sure the compartment that sheaths the blade doesn't fill up with bits of tobacco. This will gum up the works and impede quick, clean cuts. All cutters should be kept as sharp as possible. Note that it is more difficult to sharpen some of the smaller, more intricate cutters.

The advantage of double-bladed cutters is that the cutting proceeds from both sides simultaneously. There is less chance that the cigar wrapper will be torn as it's pushed against a dull surface. Again, the technique is to rest the cigar against a blade before clicking the cutter shut.

Special cigar-cutting scissors can make extremely clean cuts and are an elegant accessory, but they must be wielded with some care. The fit and balance of cigar scissors is important and as unique to an individual as those of golf clubs. Try a pair out before investing in them. They should balance easily in one hand so that you'll be able to hold them steady through the cutting motion while you hold a cigar in the other hand. If the handles and blades don't balance with each other when you hold them, the scissors aren't for you. Also, if the hinge is placed so that you cannot move your fingers without stretching past your hand's normal span, then try another pair.

Punch cut

A cigar punch just punches a hole through the head of the cigar. There are, however, three different kinds of cigar punches available:
Bullet punch: Fits on a keychain, it twists to expose a circular blade that cuts into the head of the cigar.
Havana punch: Safer than a bullet punch, it has a recessed tip that can be fitted into the cigar head, and which draws out the tobacco plug after a cut is made.
Multi-punch: Offers more sizes for punching different sizes of cigars.

Punch cutter also known as bullet cutter usually mounted on a keychain and also only comes in one size. One type has no cap but the cutting edge is reassessed in the device. The back also has a spring-loaded plunger it is depressed and locks into place exposing the cutting surface. After the cigar is punched, there is a button on the side that when depressed automatically ejects the tobacco plug and secures the cutting blade safely back inside the device. Another type the top unscrews to reveal the punch blade and there is a spring-loaded plunger on the bottom to push out the tobacco after use. Easily sharped with a sharpening stone, the only drawback top of the bullet that you unscrew to use the punch is easily lost.

V-Cut

V-Cut Cutter produces a unique wedge shaped notch on the cigar cap, sometimes referred to as “cats-eye”.

Use a v-cutter for more draw on a cigar. A v-cutter will give the cigar smoker a bigger draw by cutting deeper into the head of the cigar. One drawback of the v-cutter is that it sometimes produces too big of a draw, making the cigar smoke too hot.[1]

A very good v-cutter will sit on a table, but is too big to carry with you.

A v-cutter will not remove too much from the head of the cigar, which can result in the unwrapping of the cigar.

TIP: Lay a straight cutter on the table and place your cigar inside the cutter so that the cap rests on the table and cut. This will insure not to over cut the cigar and prevent unraveling, if it did not open the desired draw you can repeat the procedure.

It's worth investing in a good cutter. Remember that a bad cut will ruin a good cigar, and it doesn't take a lot of ruined cigars to add up to the cost of even a very elegant cutter.