There are a lot of torch lighters on the market. I probably have a different model torch in every drawer in my house, but yet, it seems like every day there’s a new design hitting the market. I can probably name a few dozen different models of lighters off the top of my head, but they all do exactly the same thing - light a cigar. Now I’m a guy who likes the next new thing, but I also try to stay practical and objective. When new lighters come out, it’s very rare that I’ll jump at the chance to buy it and use it because what I have works just as well. Some have slightly larger or clearer fuel tanks or tinted viewing windows, some have fold-out punches and even guillotines, and some just have flashy colors and eye-catching designs. Yawn. But there was one style that caught my eye when it hit the market, and that’s the flat flame.
A few brands put out flat-flame designs before Xikar, but I decided to wait until my go-to brand for accessories tried their hand at it. I have always had great experiences with Xikar, and their warranty is the best in the industry by far. I bought myself the Verano model as soon as I had the opportunity, and I’ve been using it for about a month. The finish is still beautiful, a glossy black body and silver pull-down ignitor that haven’t lost a touch of their sheen, but it admittedly did pick up some scratches from other items in my pockets. Note: It does show fingerprints. So if you plan on showing it off make sure to give it a quick wipedown when you take it out of your pocket. As for the function, it’s been lighting my cigars consistently and reliably, albeit with a few drawbacks.
First, the pros - The flame is a very low temperature for a torch flame. Unlike traditional torch lighters, the Verano features a slit in the top with a concealed burner underneath, that puts out a very attractive and unique w-shaped flame, which comes to more of a point as the pressure is raised by the oversized adjustment wheel. Being a single flame with much more width than usual and not coming to a point, the heat is more evenly distributed across a wider area. While this may make the lighter seem less accurate, I have never had a single problem when using the Verano for anything from lighting to spot touch-up. It’s much faster to toast and light the foot by using a brushing motion, and very difficult to char the sides of the cigar unless your aim needs a lot of work. As for maintaining an even burn, you can think of a regular torch flame like a spear, and the Verano like a razorblade. It’s much easier to “cut” across an uneven burn line with the Verano. The fuel tank is also nice and big, and I only need to fill it about once a week. And I go through a ton of cigars in a week.
Now, the drawbacks. That same open slit on the top that contributes to the lighter’s unique aesthetics is somewhat prone to little bits of tobacco falling inside. Most of my favorite lighters come equipped with a lid that opens when the ignition is activated, but there is no such protection on the Verano. I’m careful with lighting and clean my lighters regularly, but if you have a habit of getting too close to the foot when you light or relighting without ashing, it’s possible to clog up the inner mechanisms (although this would absolutely be covered by Xikar’s lifetime warranty). I do like that the ventilation hole is covered by the ignition switch when not being used, but a mesh over it would have been nice as I have seen a piece of ash go inside the lighter while lighting. The only other drawback I’ve noticed is inconsistent pressure. This a problem with every torch lighter to a certain extent, but is noticeable in a much higher degree on the Verano. You’ll find yourself regularly turning up the flame adjustment as you go through the fuel, but this only takes a second and the adjustment when is big enough to make it a breeze, no screwdriver required. One other potential drawback is that there’s no built-in cutter, but I was never crazy about punch cuts anyway, and I love my XI1 Calacas Cutter.
All-in-all, this is an excellent lighter that’s very well-designed minus a few pit-picks here and there. I really would like to see a model with some type of lid, as I can see how not having one could dramatically shorten the lifespan of this lighter. Lighters can be cleaned, though I’m not sure it would be so easy on the Verano because of how far down the burner seems to be. There are flat flame lighters on the market that do feature lids, but you’d be trading away Xikar’s warranty if you went with any others, and I just don’t trust the other components in the designs enough to move away from the Xikar warranty safety net. This is still hands down my favorite lighter, and really the only one I use for cigars anymore. It still feels sturdy after a month of use, and if it does end up clogging, Xikar’s got a shiny new one ready for me.