There are a dizzying array of cigar accessories that the aficionado can collect and display.
Some are more flash than function, but even the cigar minimalist will have a few key tools in their arsenal.
Here are 12 that we recommend even beginners acquire. Organized into four categories of cigar accessories these items fall into the following categories: The humidor and care of family, the cutters, the lighters, and the smoke tools.
This list is organized not by importance but by order of use within the cigar ritual. As always cigar smoking is a personally crafted ritual full of choices at every turn. Tailoring your tools helps to tailor your experience.
Covered more thoroughly in Types of Cigar Humidors and How They Work the humidor is a masters tool for cigar storage. A bit of a commitment for the beginning smoker, humidors are a step up tool for some. Even novice smokers soon realize that storage is key to maintaining good cigar shelf life. Cigars are a tropical product, maintaining around a 70% humidity prevents the tobacco leaf from drying out thus preserving its flavor.
While most humidors come with a hydrometer, a way to measure humidity, most aficionados agree that calibration or modern digital hydrometers are needed to ensure accuracy of the ones built into boxes. A relatively cheap addition to your humidor a nice little digital hydrometer helps ensure your attention to your cigar microclimate is on point.
The Humidification Pack
There is much contention over the best way to keep your humidor in peak condition. The basics of distilled water to the complexity of glycol and gell beads. One of the best rated, easy use options is the humidification pack. The best of these not only add humidity but also absorb it if the environment is too moist. Material vary wildly as do price points and efficacy. As a simple start point though a acrylic jar humidor with a humidification pack is a great friend to the novice smoker. Learning the nuances of humidity, wood flavoring, and cigar aging can come with time. It is always a topic of popular discussion in smoking rooms.
While you only technically need one cutter, most cigar smokers own at least one of each of these styles. They serve different purposes which can help you maximise your experience of different cigar shapes and sizes.
The Guillotine/The Straight Cutter
This is the classic cutter and for most people all they ever need. A sharp double blade has the highest reviews and overall longest life. Some cigar cutters can be sharpened, others cannot. Overall the goal is never to crush the wrapper, this risks cracking or splitting. So a sharp blade is key here. And remember to cut just the tip. The goal is merely to open the cigar, if you cut too deeply into the cap or shoulder of the cigar you risk cutting too deep and the wrapper will unravel ruining the experience. There are guides for cutting, angle cutting and reviews for best cutters available. We might dive into this subject in the future, but for now look for in a cutter what you would look for in a good knife, sharp quality steel that can be sharpened and last.
The Punch Cutter
As the name alludes to a punch cutter acts much like a hole punch cutting a small circle into the cigar. The precise nature means you can achieve the same hole size with each use. It cuts gently into the cap and pulls out ‘the plug’ opening the cigar delicately. This leave a good amount of the cap intact for a smooth edge smoke with almost no mess. Smokers who don’t wish to dust themselves with tobacco while cutting or risk too many loose leafs in the mouth. Clean and simple the punch is well favored as a cigar accessory and should be a tool in any smokers tool kit.
The V Cutter
A contentious option for some smokers, the V cutter cuts a V into the cigar opening it with a large surface area cutting deeply into the cigar without risking unraveling. Many of the more unique cigar shapes function best when V cut. Having this tool in your arsenal will ensure your ability to experience different cigar variations or even slightly different smoking experience with your favored brand.
Butane or jet fuel lighters are popular. The key here is a clean burning lighter that does not grow hot too quickly. The lighting of a cigar is a process, the toasting and preparation of the cigar require a larger flame and longer burn time than a typical cigarette lighter. Some smokers like a sizable desk lighter to prevent the need to refill the lighter often. Others like the portability of a pocket torch.
Cigar matches are similar but distinct from a typical match. The longer stick allows for more time to burn and properly toast and light your cigar. As an accessory the classic match also adds a touch of old world class to your ritual. Importantly there are very few auxiliary chemicals in the head of the match, even so be sure to allow the ignition chemical to burn off before lighting your cigar. Susceptible to the classic dilemma of being easily extinguished by the wind, most outdoor smokers chose to have a torch at least as a backup. Having both on hand at home would allow you and your guests to choose their preferred method and lighting ritual.
True aficionados often collect and use cedar spills for lighting their cigars. The spill is simply a thin length of wood that has no ignition source of its own. Lit from a match, torch, or other fire source, a spill is a long burning thin strip of wood. The real charm in this method is the scent of freshly burned cedar which can wet the appetite and prepare your senses to fully embrace the flavors of the coming cigar. It is a nice compliment to the process. Easily obtained at cigar stores from the thin bottom sections of cigar boxes, cedar spills are a great way to extend a match ensuring you have ample time to toast without striking a second match. A truly classic experience, try lighting up with cedar spills next-time you indulge in a high end stick.
The Smoke Tools
The Draw Tool
There are simple and subsequently brutal draw pokers, essentially just a metal skewer. But there are now more nuanced options to better fix the common issues of overpacked or knotted cigars. As a natural handcrafted product there are occasionally errors in the rolling process creating a difficult draw for the smoker. The two errors are overpacking and twisting or knotting of tobacco within the wrapper. Some smokers simply reject such cigars others attempt to resolve the issue by using a draw tool to create an air channel. Certain cigar shapes the torpedo and the bellicoso are particularly prone to overpacking at the tips, leading some smokers to simply cut deeper into the cigar, but this negates the purpose of the unique shape to begin with. More sophisticated draws that allow you to cut and pull out some of the tobacco better target these two problems. Having a good draw tool in your arsenal can save an otherwise lost cigar.
A cigar ashtray is distinct from those for cigarettes. It is not a simple dish for stubbing cigars. A cigar should always be allowed to burn out by itself. THe ash tray is both for resting the cigar and for rolling the ash off the cherry. Unlike a cigarette which is tapped the ash of a cigar serves a key purpose to the experience, ideally one inch of ash should be kept on the cigar to insulate the cherry and soften the heat of the cigar. The less ash the faster the burn, so again, it is a matter of preference. The Ash should be gently rolled from the cigar ensuring no damage to the wrapper. So when shopping for and ashtray keep that in mind. The classic of a wide shallow square dish is a classic for a reason offering a resting and rolling surface. Whenever you may be in motion or even just broad in your gestures you should consider a cigar holder instead.
While there are many cigar holders out there a nice secure holder with some type of attaching mechanism can help ensure a secure hold. You don't want to put your cigar in a holder only to have the whole holder fall. Our holders are perfect from golfing to boating for providing a safe clean hold for your cigar, that otherwise might have to be set in the glass or on a dirty surface. Simple and effective with both magnets and velcro to ensure a secure hold even on a round surface such as the pole of a golf cart frame.
While included overall in the humidor category, the travel humidor is worth an honorable mention of its own. The travel humidor protects your cigar and thus preserves the ritual and experience. Classy and practical whether you are traveling to your local links or off to a wedding.
While one cigar and a little fire is all you truly need to enjoy a good smoke, these tools will elevate your experience. Enjoy yourself and enjoy your cigar don’t drop your cigar, remember to invest in a good cigar holder, like a Stage V Clinger.