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V-Cutter, Cigar Guillotine Or What? A Cigar Smoker's Weapon Of Choice

Sep 8, 2008
The Boy Scout motto says it best: "Be prepared." Many first-time smokers don't even realize that good cigars (and even bad ones) have to be cut open before they're smoked. Nor do they realize that, for this task, it's not a good idea to go grabbing that pair of blunted old rusty scissors you keep in the "handies" drawer, or that steak knife in your kitchen, or any other device that wasn't intended for this use.

After all, the cigar cap (as the blunt end of the cigar which must be removed is called) is there for a reason: it helps keep the cigar fresh in storage. Thanks to the cap's presence, the ends of the tobacco leaves that you're about to burn haven't touched air since the cigar was rolled, and they're ready to undergo a nice, clean, controlled burn, yielding you a great taste. If the cap is cut in a jagged or careless way, though, you won't get as even a burn on the end of your cigar, and you'll lose perfectly smokeable tobacco. Let any veteran cigar smoker tell you about the frustration of having a cigar that isn't lit evenly - the flame travels up one part of the cigar while leaving others dry, and you get a nasty, burned taste in your mouth, rather than the rich cigar taste you expected, and often the cigar has to be thrown away when it's only half smoked.

A few cigar smokers, recognizing the importance of properly removing the cigar cap, even bite it off. This method may work best if you're trying to smoke in the jungle, far from civilization and from cap-removal devices, or in a Mad Max-like future where marauding tribes wander the desert looking to steal each others' stogies (law of the jungle, baby). In any other situation, it's not recommended - for sanitary reasons, and because it just looks gross.

So ... get a device. Two of the most common (though not by any means the only possible options) are the cigar guillotine and the V-cutter. Smokers disagree among themselves about which of these is best; it's a matter of personal taste - like the cigars themselves, in fact.

There is one fairly hard-and-fast rule here: if you're smoking a cigar with a small ring gauge (a thin cigar), you probably want a straight cut rather than a V-cut. The most popular straight-cutter is the single-blade guillotine; other possibilities include the double-blade guillotine (more expensive, but a cleaner cut) or cigar scissors (yes, such things do exist). Either of the last two options gives you a cleaner or more exact cut. But the single-blade guillotine is cheap, useful, and can be carried safely in your pocket.

V-cutters, also known as wedge cutters, look like guillotine cutters, but they cut a wedge into the cigar cap rather than completely removing it. Good V-cutters can go deeper into the filler than a straight cutter can, and some smokers prefer them for your thicker stogies. Good ones are available for fewer than ten dollars. One word of warning: Be careful of buying a V-cutter as part of a "multi-cutter" device. These little gizmos, the cigar-cutter's equivalent of a camping knife (they offer a include a V-cutter along with other kinds of cutters built-in), tend to suffer from shoddy workmanship, and their V-cutters can be especially sloppy, leaving deep gouges in your fine stogies. You definitely don't want that.

Finally, you may also want to consider cigar scissors (not as portable, but more accurate, and perfect if you usually keep all your smoking supplies in the same place) or a cigar punch. Bullet-shaped (hence the name) "bullet punches" fit right on the top of your keychain; unscrew the top and you find a punch blade. One problem associated with these otherwise handy, durable and inexpensive devices is that the unscrewable top is easy to lose, and you don't want a live blade attached to your keychain and following you around in your pocket. So-called "Havana punches" offer some of the same convenience but with more safety - rather than an easy-to-lose top, the blade is recessed and springs out at the push of a button. Multi-punches are also preferred by some smokers, as they offer different-sized punch holes for different sizes of cigars.
About the Author
CigarFox provides you the opportunity to build your own sampler of the finest cigars that include cigar brands like Montecristo, Romeo & Julieta, H Upmann, Macanudo, Cohiba, Partagas, Gurkha and many more. Choose from more than 1200 different cigars! Other cigar products include cigar humidors, cigar boxes, and cigar accessories like Zippo Lighters.
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