Cigar Accessories for Beginners

We’re cigar nuts. That’s a given. And part of being a cigar nut is playing with all the awesome toys specifically engineered to enhance our fun little hobby. Some are simple enough for a monkey to use, while others require a little bit of explanation. Here, we discuss the cigar accessory basics plain and simple to get you nice and acquainted.

Cigar Cutters
The most common type of cigar accessory is a cigar cutter. Cutters are used to create openings in the ‘head’ of the cigar to allow air and smoke to pass through. Some enthusiasts insist on a certain method, whilst others simply use whatever is most convenient. Below you’ll find today’s most popular and well-known methods.
  • Guillotine – Guillotines, including both double and single-bladed versions, as well as scissors are designed to make a cut across the end of the cigar. These are generally the best options. Of the guillotines, the double-blade is the better choice if you want a cleaner cut. The advantage of double-bladed cutters is that the cutting proceeds from both sides simultaneously. There is less chance that the cigar wrapper will be torn as it’s pushed against the dull inside of the blade chamber. The best technique is to rest the cigar against a blade before clicking the cutter shut.
  • V-Cut – A V-cut makes a notched hole in the end of the cigar. The advantage is that it can offer you more surface area without exposing your tongue to loose tobacco, and it allows you to draw more air through the cigar. This is a good choice for small ring gauge cigars. However, do not penetrate the V-cutter too deeply into the cigar, as often the draw can be too good, and the cigar will smoke too hot.
  • Punch – A punch cutter is simply a circular, razor sharp blade that you push gently into the head of a cigar, which cores out an opening. This is an excellent choice if you smoke mixed filler cigars, as it minimizes the chance of bits of tobacco ending up in your mouth. However, punch cutters are usually not a good choice for torpedos, or small ring gauge cigars.
  • Scissors - Cigar scissors are different, of course, from regular household scissors. Cigars scissors are specifically manufactured for the purpose of snipping cigars. Usually made from surgical quality stainless steel, some models, such as the Xikar MTX Cutter, is the optimum choice. A high-quality cigar scissor will guarantee you swift, precision cuts. However, be careful, because dull, lower-quality scissors will cause more harm than good, potentially smushing the ends and damaging the cigar’s construction.
  • Bite Method – When all else fails it seems the ol’ caveman route of chomping off the end of your cigar is still the most popular choice. However this can lead to bits of tobacco in your mouth, and can make for a sloppy smoke. If you’re really in a bind, carefully look for the seam where the cap is located and use your finger nail to gently pry away the cap. Not the most suave method, but it’s fairly effective in a pinch.
Cigar Lighters
Some will argue that fire is fire, whether it comes from a high-end lighter or a book of matches. But there’s no arguing butane fueled lighters burn at higher temperatures, resulting in a clean and efficient flame. Popular models range from single-flame to quad-flame, and sometimes even more. Any butane lighter will provide more than an adequate flame to light your cigar, it really comes down to how much sizzle you’re on the market for. Outside of fuel storage capability, a smaller pocket sized lighter can get the job done just as well as a larger table-top model. When filling any cigar lighter be sure to use at least triple-refined butane or better, as lower quality butane can clog valves and cause a myriad of problems for your unit. And at the end of the day, you can always resort to old faithful: wood matches.

When buying a case the term ‘finger’ is used to note the amount of cigars a case can hold. For instance, a 3-finger cigar case generally holds 3 cigars. Be sure to check product descriptions for ring-gauge accommodations, as a case will hold less the thicker the cigar, and vice versa. Besides quantity, weigh how much durability you need. Do you need a crush-proof, go to hell and back case, or are you looking for something to simply carry your cigars around in? Select the case that best suits your needs.