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The Cutting Edge: How To Cut a Cigar

The right cut can be a critical component of an enjoyable cigar. A clean cut lessens the risk of the cigar unraveling, thus avoiding a sloppy mess and wasted smoke.

Cutting the cigar correctly will also result in a better overall taste by helping manage the so-called “draw,” or the ease by which the cigar can be smoked.

Keeping Measure
The first key to a good cut is to ensure that the filler is exposed. To ensure a clean cut and avoid tearing the wrapper, the best cut is just above the cap.

The cap is a round piece of tobacco that typically is glued to the head (the mouth end) to keep the wrapper together. This cap is placed on the head of the cigar during the hand-rolling process to keep it from unraveling and drying out. There is a distinct line where the cap ends.

Types of Cutters

Single Blade Guillotine
Pro: Very affordable and will cut cigars up to 54 ring gauges.
Con: Requires cutting the cigar in one, quick motion.

Double Blade Guillotine
Pro: Cuts just about any cigar.
Con: More expensive than a single blade, but not necessarily any more effective.

V Cutter
Pro: Creates sufficient surface area without exposing the tongue to loose tobacco.
Con: Will not work will with the larger gauges. In addition, the draw can be too good, making the cigar smoke too hot.

Scissors
Pro: Will ensure a swift, clean cut.
Con: Can be very expensive and will potentially crush the ends, destroying the cigar’s integrity, if not made of good quality stainless steel.

Punch
Pro: Convenient and easy to use.
Con: Will not work on Figurados and larger ring cigars.

A good measure is about 3 to 4 mm beyond the cap for the majority of cigar sizes, although smaller cigars will require a smaller margin. A cut anywhere nearer to the cap or lower will risk tearing the wrapper.

Be Quick and Nimble
A quick, strong movement is another essential element. Cutting quickly will reduce the chances of unraveling the outer layer. Obviously, a sharp blade is also important to a clean cut.

Therefore, setting a mark and using a quality cutter are distinct advantages for a clean and even cut.

No Magic Bullet
Bullet punch cutters rapidly are becoming the most popular option due to the fact that they can be placed on a key ring. But they unfortunately will not work on irregularly shaped cigars (Figurados), and they are also not designed to work on the larger gages.

Other cigar cutters include guillotines, scissors, twist punch cutters and V cutters. The most effective of those is the guillotine, which cuts a straight slice across the cigar to provide an even draw.

Don’t let the name fool you. While some guillotines are fashioned to look like their more grizzly namesakes, the majority are flat, handheld assemblies like the one pictured at the top of this article.

Guillotines come in two forms: the single blade and double blade. Both are effective, but the single blade requires a slightly more confident hand.

Overall, cutting a cigar is a simple proposition if using the right tools. The important thing to remember is that a clean cut will reduce the chances of an unraveled, unnerving lost smoke; leaving you to enjoy your cigar to its fullest.


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1789 Lawrenceville Highway, Decatur, GA 30033 | Phone: 404-633-8242 | www.decaturspirits.com
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