The simple act of cutting a cigar cannot be summed up quickly nor effortlessly. Fact is, cutting a cigar is a matter of utility, not preference. There are different cuts for different shapes and sizes of cigars which means there is no true one-size-fits-all method. It can be said that a straight cut could be used on most cigars but there are other cuts that would be of greater benefit to the smoker in terms of pulling smoke, flavor and the art of smoking in general.
Below we will attempt to bestow that knowledge upon you. You’ll thank us later.
To cut a cigar (almost every premium cigar has a closed head) you need not be a modern day Dr. Moreau, but the materials or tools that you use play an important role in giving the right cigar the right cut. The idea is to get a clean cut so that the cigar wrapping does not unravel or become bothersome while you smoke. Like Dr. Moreau’s experiments, you should note that a bad cut can ruin a cigar; the better cigars you smoke, the more you should pay attention to the cut.
Guillotine Cutter: A fairly common design, the guillotine is a single blade cutter designed to cut off the cap in one fell swoop. Most guillotine cutters will cut up to 54 ring cigars (a cigar with a ring size of 64 would be one inch in diameter).
Pros: Guillotines are some of the cheapest, most effective cutters you can find.
Cons: While simple to use, the cutting motion needs to be done in one quick, strong movement to get acceptable results. In other words, you are going to need to bust out your best Bruce Lee cigar-cutting moves.
Double Blade Cutter: The double blade cutter gives the benefit of cutting from both sides simultaneously. These cutters give less chance that the cigar wrapper will be torn as it’s pushed against a dull surface.
Pros: Double blade cutters cut most any cigar.
Cons: If you cut below the cap the cigar wrapper will unravel faster than Lindsay Lohan.
Bullet Punch Cutter: These bullet punches cut a small, clean hole into the head (or cap) of the cigar. If you need to punch a bigger hole, reinsert the punch several times at different places of the cap until the desired width is obtained. No need to go all Tony Soprano on the cigar, bullet punching is for utility.
Pros: No cutting skills are required as in the guillotine cutters. It is also a portable cigar cutter that many users carry on their key chains.
Cons: This type of cutter cannot be used on all types of cigars, in particular the Figurado shapes.
Cigar Scissors: These work similar to a double blade cutter in that the scissors cut off the cap of the cigar. Cigar scissors are your go-to if you want to bring that James Bond class to cigar smoking.
Pros: Cigar scissors make extremely clean cuts and are an elegant accessory.
Cons: Finding cigar scissors that match the fit and balance of the user is difficult.
V-Shape Cutter: Creates a wedge-shaped cut in the cigar with a simple squeezing motion. Wedge-shaped, not “wedgie,” don’t get too excited.
Pros: V-cutters allow proper air circulation to occur for a more pleasant smoking experience.
Cons: The unique shape of the v-cutter makes keeping the blades sharp difficult. If you are going to invest in a v-cutter don’t waste your time with a cheap one.
Leave the Poncho at Home
You’ll notice that we didn’t mention biting off the tip as you may have seen in your Clint Eastwood westerns. Some people may still use this method but the utility of the cut can mean the difference between a good and bad cigar. 9 Cigars prefers to think of cutting cigars as a bit more elegant in nature, just don’t tell the ol’ gunslinger we said that.
What Cigars Demand What Cuts?
Above we described the type of cigar cutters that are most popular. Learn about which of the above cuts work with which cigars.
- V-Cut: Use the v-cut with small, thin and long cigars such as thin ring gauge sticks.
- Straight Cut: The straight cut is suggested for most cigars and always with Torpedoes. Straight cuts include scissors or desk cuts.
- Punch: A punch can be used on most cigars with the exception of Box Press, Chisel, or Torpedoes. It is not recommended for the advanced smoker due to inconsistent draw patterns in the filler. Update: As Isaac noted in the comments below, a punch actually can be a great tool on Chisel cigars. See this beautiful example of an LFD chisel with a punch cut.
- X-Cut: The x-cut is two v-cuts made into an “X.” This type of cut is good for a large ring gauge cigar with a thin wrapper or a small cap where you don’t want to risk a bad cut. They can also be used on thin ring gauge cigars for higher air flow.
What’s your cigar cutting preference?