Unlike with cigarettes, you cannot simply light the tip of a cigar and start puffing. Almost all premium cigars have a closed head that must be cut before you can smoke them.
For a beginner, cutting a cigar can seem like such a complicated process. The truth, however, is that once you’ve selected the right cutter and learned the right way to cut a cigar, it’ll no longer be that same overwhelming procedure you once thought it was.
Just like cigar shapes and sizes, there exists a large variety of cigar cutting devices. This article will go over all the best cigar cutting techniques for the cleanest and perfect draw when you light it.
First Things First, Choose The Right Cutter.
Just as there are several ways to cut your cigar, there are also several tools you can use to do this cutting, and it is a must that you choose the right one. Each cutting tool has features that are peculiar to it, and these features make them better suited to different types of cigars, as well as possess their snags.
In general, a blunt or dull blade can ruin your cigar cut and, in the end, also ruin your overall experience by crushing or tearing the tobacco. So whatever cutting tool you choose, the blade needs to be sharp to cleanly and precisely cut through the cigar.
The most popular cigar cutting tools among smokers today include:
1. Single‐Blade Guillotine
2. Double‐Blade Guillotine
3. Cigar Scissors
4. Cigar Punch, or Bullet Cutter.
6. Cigar Piercer
7. The “Emergency” list includes the use of items such as a pocket knife, razor blade, matchstick, fingernails, or teeth.
Before The Cut.
There are 3 types of cigar cuts: the Straight cut, the Punch cut, and the V‐Cut.
Every cigar has one or several small seams along the circumference of its body, not too far below its head when you take a close look at it. These seams demarcate the cap of the cigar and this is the most crucial part of the cigar involved in the cutting process. The main goal of cutting a cigar is to neatly remove the cap of your cigar while leaving a strip of the flag leaf. This strip is left behind so the entire cigar doesn’t become unraveled.
The wrapper leaf of a cigar is exceptionally delicate and can easily get torn when cutting. For that reason, slightly moistening the head before you cut is an important safeguard. To do this, simply place the cigar’s head slightly between your lips.
You don’t have to lick at it with your tongue as the humidity in your mouth is just fine for this purpose. In addition, you’ll get the chance at an initial taste of the cigar’s wrapper before you light it, which is often a very pleasant preamble to the smoke.
Cutting a moistened cap is much easier than attempting to hack at a dry one. Even if your cigar is fresh from a good humidor, dampening the end makes your task of cutting a lot neater and reduces the risks of ruining the cut.
Now that you’ve gotten to know all the useful things before cutting your cigar, here’s how to go about the best cigar-cutting techniques in existence!
1. A Straight Cut.
Straight cuts are one of the most used cigar cutting techniques owing to their extreme versatility because they can be pulled off using a variety of implements: guillotines, scissors, or even just sharp blades. Also, straight cuts can be used for preparing both a rounded parejo cigar and a pointed figurado cigar
A few valuable guidelines you should remember:
- With either of these tools and either of these types of cigars, you need to be quick and conclusive as you cut. Prolonged pressure due to a slow, indecisive cut can make you end up crushing the contents of your cigar or tearing the wrapper.
- You have to keep a steady hold on your cigar and move the cutter towards it rather than feeding the cigar into the guillotine’s hole. Doing this will give you greater control over the entire process.
- Hold your cigar closer to its head for a firmer grip. The further your hold is from the cutting area, the more unsteady the cutting action can be and this will put you at risk of a rougher cut.
- Using a single‐blade guillotine? Place the cigar against the side of the hole opposite the blade. This will brace it in position to prevent slipping or crushing.
- As to how far down you should cut along the flag leaf, that’s totally up to you. But keep in mind that the closer you cut to the seam that separates the flag tip from the rest of the wrapper, the larger your draw will be as you smoke. However, be careful not to mistakenly overcut so your cigar doesn’t fall apart.
How to Straight Cut a Parejo.
- Hold the rounded cigar close to the head.
- Slide the guillotine or cigar scissors over the spot you want to cut. Generally, you should cut about 2mm down the head, but remember that this is totally up to you.
- Slowly advance the blade towards the cigar.
- In a quick and conclusive motion, snap the blade shut completely—this is the actual cutting action.
- Lightly brush or blow on the cut area to remove any dust.
How to Straight Cut a Figurado.
- Hold the pointed cigar near the head.
- Place the guillotine or cigar scissors over the spot you want to cut.
- Slowly edge the blade towards the cigar.
- In a quick and conclusive motion, shut the blade.
- Lightly brush or blow on the cut area to remove any dust.
- Test the draw by bringing it to your lips.
- If the draw is too tight, you can cut slightly higher.
Notice how you can cut more than once until you find the perfect draw. You can also cut a figurado at an angle or with a deeper cut to give you a larger draw if that’s your preference. But if you choose to cut diagonally, it may be difficult to cut a second time.
Benefits of a Straight Cut.
a. A straight cut is the easiest cutting technique.
b. It is very flexible. It can be achieved even in the absence of any conventional cigar‐cutting tools.
c. Unlike punch and v‐cuts, this cut can be used to prepare both rounded and pointed cigars and isn’t typically limited to size or shape.
d. Straight cuts give you the option of choosing between a vertical cut or a diagonal cut.
e. These cuts make for the coolest, loosest, and easiest of draws.
2. A Punch Cut.
As cutting in the right spot can be quite challenging for some, it’s no surprise that punch cuts have become very popular in recent times. Cigar punches are simple and convenient tools that you can easily keep on you at all times. They are much easier to use than v‐cuts, but their only limitation is that you can’t use them to cut a cigar with a pointed head.
How to Use a Cigar Punch.
- Keep a firm hold on the cigar that’s close enough to the head.
- Place the punch cutter over the center of the cap.
- Gently twist out the cutter while applying light pressure.
- Once you’ve broken through the cap, keep twisting until you get a few millimeters deep.
- Gently pull the punch out.
- Blow on the hole to take off any dust.
Benefits of a Punch Cut.
a. A punch cut creates an added concentration of flavor and intensity from your cigar.
b. It also results in a tighter draw, for those who don’t like their draws too large.
c. It keeps the cigar’s cap intact by leaving a tidy opening at the center.e. A cigar punch is still very effective with cigar caps that are fragile or too dry.
d. You will have very little to no tobacco pieces getting into your mouth with a punch cut.
e. A cigar punch is still very effective with cigar caps that are either fragile or too dry.
f. A cigar punch is the most portable of all kinds of cutters.
3. A V‐Cut.
A v‐cut serves as the middle ground between the straight and punch cuts. The tool and the cut are homonymous in this particular technique. Also known as the cat’s eye, getting to grips with how to properly use a v‐cut can take slightly longer than any other kind of cutter, but the reward, in the end, will be a highly enjoyable smoking experience.
A v‐cut comes in two different types of cutter styles. A v‐cut with guillotine‐style plates is the much easier of the two to master. Alternately, a v‐cut with long-handled levers is a more sophisticated and elaborate tool.
How to Use a V‐cut.
- Rest the guillotine down on a hard surface.
- If using the handled version, hold it firmly in your hand.
- Fit the cigar into the opening.
- Close the blade just enough to see that you’re going to get your desired cut.
- Firmly close the blade completely to cut into the tobacco.
- Blow on the opening to remove any traces of dust.
Despite how deep a v‐cut can get, take care not to remove too much wrapper to avoid unraveling. The sharpness of your blade is crucial for this cut and the cutting action must be swift. A blade that’s either too slow or too dull can tear out a chunk of tobacco which you surely do not want to happen.
Fun fact: After your initial cut, you can turn the cigar 90° and cut again to make an X ‐cut, which will give you an even larger amount of draw.
Benefits of a V‐Cut.
The advantages of a v‐cut are very similar to those of a punch cut.
a. The V‐cut results in a more concentrated draw.
b. The cutter makes a very neat and ultra‐precise cut.
c. A v‐cut gives the most interesting smoking experience of all because, with a cut, smoke is pulled from the top and the bottom of the cigar equally before it converges on your palate with more intensity and heat.
d. You will have very little to no tobacco pieces getting into your mouth with a vcut.
The Emergency list:
If you ever find yourself in a DIY situation where neither you nor anyone else around you has a proper cutter on them and you don’t want to smoke your cigar later, you may be forced to improvise with a razor blade, pocket knife, or maybe even your teeth.
Admittedly, none of these alternatives are genuinely advisable, but if at all you must resort to any of them, it is best that you make use of a blade than anything else. A thin and sharp blade will serve you better and will be less likely to ruin your cigar cut than using your teeth or your fingernails.
Every smoker makes mistakes when cutting their cigars for the first time. Even the experts went through this once upon a time. It can be very exasperating when you’re cutting a cigar and it just ends up unraveling right in your grip because, unfortunately, you cut it too high. Or when your cut opens the head of your cigar too wide and it ends up burning too hot and too fast.
We’ve all been there, but fortunately, this little manual we’ve compiled will help you master the art of cutting your cigar to perfection. Try out as many techniques as possible until you find the one that suits you and your cigar needs, then keep working on this technique until you become a master cutter– which you can achieve faster using this guide!