New to the cigar-smoking game? It is probably no surprise that before you can light your cigar, you have to cut it. Cutting a cigar for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience.
A poor cut can lead to a diminished smoking experience or a wrapper that unravels entirely. Of course, you don’t want to ruin the cigar before you’ve even gotten a chance to smoke it.
Fear not! Mastery of cigar cutting just takes a little know how and a bit of practice. Below you’ll find a handy list on how to cut a cigar like a pro.
Choose the Right Cutter
The first step is perhaps the most crucial: picking the right cigar-cutting tool. This can be a bit hard for the novice since there are a lot of options, so let’s break a few down.
These bad boys are probably the most popular cutters on the market. Also known as a guillotine cutter, these basic cutters work by slotting your cigar through a hole and squeeze-cutting the cap cleanly. Straight cutters also come in a dual or double-blade variety, which ensures a cleaner, more precise cut.
A punch cutter adds a hole in the end of the cigar—called, no surprise, a punch. This kind of cut helps reduce loose tobacco and filler that can otherwise fall into your mouth while smoking. Punches are not deep or full cuts, which give cigar wrappers a stay power, making it harder for them to unravel. There is a drawback, however: some cigars are simply too thin for a punch cutter to work effectively.
Like a punch cutter, a V-cutter doesn’t remove the entire end of a cigar. It instead creates a small “V”-shaped slice in the tip that is even smaller, more focused than a typical punch.
The V-cutter provides many of the same benefits as a punch, but it limits a smoker’s ability to draw on the cigar. It’s quite a technical cut and can be difficult to get just right.
There are a few other options like cigar scissors, or even something more DIY like your thumbnail or even your teeth. But you don’t live in a Clint Eastwood Western, so why bite off your cigar like you do?
If you’re just starting out, we recommend a double-bladed straight cutter; they’re the simplest to operate, are designed to make a cut across both sides of the cigar simultaneously, and can be used on just about any cigar under the sun. Some of the other cutters out there can be a bit tricky to operate, so start simple, elegant, and easy.
Locate the Cap
The cap is the end piece of the cigar, and it’s typically lightly glued on to
hold the wrapper together while the cigar is in storage. Often visible as a slightly rounded section of leaf, the cap is the ONLY part of the cigar that you want to cut off; cutting too far past the cap will cut into the wrapper, potentially leading to the cigar tearing or unraveling.
It’s always best to be a bit cautious with your cuts, so aim a bit shallow. After all, you can always cut down more of the cigar, but you can never add more back on. And leaving a bit of the cap on can help avoid that much-annoying unraveling.
Moisten the Cigar Head
Here’s a bit of cigar-aficionado knowledge: gently moisten the cap in your mouth
before cutting. While it’s not the most crucial step in your cigar-smoking journey, it can help ensure that your cut goes smoothly. If the leaf is too dry, it can sometimes crack during the cutting process––moistening the cap up a bit can help prevent that. And it’s especially helpful for cheaper cigars that may not have a well-placed cap.
Cut the Cigar
Here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for: making the cut. For an end result that seems pretty straightforward, there’s actually quite a bit of skill involved in cutting a cigar just right. Obviously your finesse develops with practice, but those first few cuts can be a bit anxiety-inducing. That’s where a straight cutter comes in—it leaves the least room for error.
Place the head of the cigar inside the opening of the cutter, and then slightly close the blades so that they’re just touching the cigar. This will keep the cigar properly positioned prior to the cut. Once the cigar is in position, cut confidently, applying swift and even pressure. And voila! Your cigar is ready to smoke!
A Final Suggestion
Whatever cigar cutter you choose, make sure you’ve got all the necessary accoutrement to make your experience that much more pleasurable. One of the most necessary tools is a cigar holder, and you can’t do better than a Stage V Cigar holder.
It’s a simple, versatile solution for cigar lovers looking to keep better track of a cigar or avoid dirtying it up on an unhygienic surface. Crafted with industrial-strength neodymium magnets, Stage V Cigar holders easily attach to golf carts, boats, or cars.
You’ll never again mark up a wood surface or glass table. Put simply, Stage V Cigar is a well designed holder that keeps your cigar, and smoking surroundings of choice, protected and safe.
As true cigar aficionados tend to use different cutters for different cigars, you may not find a one-size-fits-all solution to your cigar cutting needs. Remember: cigar smoking is a journey, and there are bound to be hiccups along the way. Practice makes perfect. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a tasty cigar with the best of ‘em.