There's more than one way to skin a cat and a lot more than one way to open up a cigar for smoking. Sure you can bite the cap off of a cigar in a pinch, but you run a good chance of tearing the wrapper and having your precious puro unravel before your very eyes. Below we look at the most popular cutters and cuts to get your sticks ready to light.
Dual blade cutters are often referred to as guillotine cutters and are probably the most popular tool for opening the cap end of the cigar. These cutters come in many shapes and sizes and are a simple way to get a nice clean cut on your cigar.
Now someone who is new to cigars may be hesitant about cutting too far down the cigar when free handing the cutter. If you are just starting out, an easy way to insure a clean cut is to lay the cutter on a hard surface, insert the cigar into the cutter and cut it, as shown below.
Once you get the flat cut down, you may want to experiment with some other style cuts. The Dickman cut is a cigar cut on a 45 degree angle which allows the smoke to hit your palate at different angles creating a unique smoking experience.
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Punch cutters are used to take a small round "punch" out of the cap and are a great cut to use on cigars that have very loose draws, as the smaller opening can help control/slow the burn. It's best to use punches on cigars that are larger than 50 ring gage as it can be difficult to cut the thinner cigars. Like guillotines, there are many shapes and sizes of punches; but we prefer units that are spring loaded and have a way to remove the cut cap from the cutter. With some of the cheap units you have to get a pencil or screwdriver to work the tobacco out of the cap and that's just a PITA.
If you enjoy larger ring gages like 60, 70 or God forbid 80+, a single punch may not create a large enough opening to keep the cigar lit. In this case, you can use multiple punches to create a larger opening. The clover punch is a really cool way to open up a large cigar, just be careful so as not to totally destroy the cap.
Another unique way to use the punch cutter is to take a punch out of a chisel shaped cigar. Like the Dickman cut, this allows the smoke to hit your palate at a different angle again allowing for an interesting sensation. Try rotating the cigar while you smoke it by allowing the smoke to hit the roof of your mouth and then turn it 180 degrees so it hits your tongue.
The V Cutter is really a form of punch that takes a V shaped cut out of the cap. It works equally well on traditional capped cigars as well as torpedo shapes.
Cigar scissors have been around for a hundred years and are a very classical way of cutting the cap off a cigar. The challenge is that unless they are razor sharp you can end up squishing the cigar and damaging the cap. However, with a sharp pair and steady pressure scissors can work well, but we would suggest only buying a high end pair as the cheap ones tend to be, well, cheap.
While any of the options shown will work great, the one cutter we absolutely do not recommend is the single blade cutter. These cutters are usually available for a few bucks and made of plastic. The challenge with these cutters is that they squish the cigar in order to cut it and that can lead to wrapper damage.
In summary, there are many ways to cut your cigar and at the end of the day its a personal choice as to which style you choose. Try a couple different cutters and cuts and see which one you like best. But get out there and enjoy your smokes!