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One flame, two flame, yellow flame, blue flame. To say there are a lot of different lighters on the market is a drastic understatement, but at the end of the day, they all perform the same basic task: lighting your cigar. So why so many options? This comes down mostly to personal preference, with some consideration added for the type of cigars being lit. Let’s take a look:
Pretty much as basic as you can get, these feature a single blue jet flame with pinpoint accuracy that works best for cigars under 50 ring gauge, or for performing touchups on problem spots in the burn line. While they can be used for larger cigars, this generally requires more skill and patience.
Double-flame torches feature, you guessed it, two torch flames, which can be either parallel or angled into a pyramid shape. The parallel flames spread the heat over a wider area and work great for cigars with a diameter of 50-60 ring gauge. Pyramid flames provide accuracy similar to a single flame, with double the heat for quicker lighting. The drawback is increased chance of charring the wrapper if you’re not careful, as well as higher gas consumption.
The most powerful lighters available, these lighters feature three or more powerful jet flames. The burners on a triple flame can be arranged in a triangle pattern or in a row, with the triangle being more versatile and accurate, and the in-line better for cigars 60-ring or higher. Lighters with three or more flames use a good amount of fuel and put out some serious heat, and should generally not be used for thin ring-gauge cigars, lest you barbecue the wrapper while trying to get the foot lit.
Many in the cigar community vilify soft-flame lighters, as some claim they produce a nasty flavor that will ruin the tasting notes of your cigar. While this is true for specific types of lighters using wicks and spirit fuel, butane soft-flame lighters use the same fuel as torch lighters and impart no unpleasant taste when used. In fact, some find them preferable to torch flames because of the reduced risk of charring the sides of the stick from the cooler yellow flame. Care must still be taken, however, because it can be tough to toast the foot with a soft flame, and nearly impossible to use in the wind.
Unlike soft-flame lighters, matches are one thing almost every cigar enthusiast can agree on. A high-quality wooden match, usually provided by a brick-and-mortar cigar shop, is a tried-and-true cigar lighting method with a cool & controllable flame. Matches tend to impart a pleasant, toasty flavor to compliment the first few puffs of your stick.
These are just general guidelines, but with a bit of practice and patience, you can learn to light any cigar with any type of lighter. Just remember, never touch the flame itself to the cigar, and be careful not to go up the sides and char the wrapper. So, grab your sticks, a sharp cutter, and your lighter of choice, toast up the foot, and let the herfin’ begin!