Once you purchase your cigar of choice, you must cut it prior to lighting and smoking. Deciding how to cut a cigar is almost as pressing as deciding which cigar to smoke—the options are endless. A few options are the v-cut, punch cut, small razor cut, poking holes in the head of the cigar, or the classic fingernail. How you choose to cut a cigar is completely up to you, dependent upon your personal preference.
I personally prefer a straight cut. This removes the cap of the cigar at the head with a single, clean, direct cut. My second choice is a V-Cut, also known as a wedge cut. It slices a “v” shape at the head of the cigar. The many ways a cigar can be cut can impact how the smoke feels.
Many people wonder why there are so many options to choose from when cutting a cigar. While it boils down to preference, there is intent behind each cut. There are two extreme sides of the spectrum to contemplate.
On one hand, a straight cut opens the most surface area across the back of the cigar. This allows the smoke to be pulled freely from all parts of the cigar without deviation. For visualization, this allows the cigar to act like a straw as it is equally open on both ends, the lit end and draw end. When utilizing a straight cut, it is important to make sure you don’t cut off too much.
On the other hand, one can create small holes in the head of the cigar using a small, sharp, poking tool. Some people use toothpicks, icepicks, and the latest cutters on the market for the same affect. The smaller the hole, the more concentrated the smoke is. This can leave a stronger impact on your palate and sway how the smoke tastes.
Types of Cigar Cuts
To help you decide which cutting style will compliment your cigar smoking experience, we have listed the most common ways to trim a cigar. Decide for yourself which is the best cigar-cutting method.
A straight cut creates the largest opening at the head of your cigar. The first step is looking at the cigar head and deciding where you want to make the cut. The head is the closed side and the end you will smoke from (not light with fire). On most cigars it has a small cap on it to keep it sealed.
Where to cut a cigar is very important. The goal of this cut is to just clip the cap off. If you take off too much, the cigar can unravel. It’s also crucial to know what side of the cigar to cut. One way to execute the straight cut is to:
- Stand the cigar on its foot.
- Notice that the cigar goes from the straight side to the rounded cap.
- Visualize two lines, the straight side as one, and the end of the cigar as the other.
- Make a cut in the middle of those two lines with a straight cutter.
This will keep the cigar intact and create the widest opening, offering you the most smoke output from your cigar. When choosing a cigar cutter, make sure that the blades are sharp. I prefer a double-bladed straight cutter, which has two blades that meet in the middle. This works well because if the blades start to dull, they still perform well and usually won’t pinch the cigar’s head. You can also execute this cut with cigar scissors.
This type of specialty cutter creates a deep groove or V-shaped cut in the back of your cigar. This cut is preferred because it’s easy and it offers an expansive opening with a strong smoke output. The V-Cut essentially creates a fold in the opening at the head of the cigar. We recommend you try to find a V-cutter with an inverted blade (a blade that shows the “v” backwards) so that the cut is clean and precise.
Inverted cutters are on the rise at many big-name accessory companies. You may need to apply a slight amount of pressure to keep the V-cutter in place to ensure your cut is quick and sharp.
A punch cut makes a circle at the end of the cigar. A cigar punch is the best tool for executing this method. Also known as a punch cutter, this tool is desired because it creates a small opening that concentrates the smoke. Many people feel a stronger smoke when they use this method.
The trick to using a cigar punch cutter is choosing one with a sharp unblemished blade and using it slowly and gently. You must first align the punch in the center of the head. Next, you slowly turn it back and forth with gentle pressure to cut the tobacco leaf. If you continually add pressure, you will eventually cut a hole in the end of the cigar and the punch cutter will not be able to travel any deeper.
Lastly, you pull the punch straight out of the end and check to see if the cap came along for the ride. If not, you can use your fingernail to peel the cap off. This is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about.
Creation of Holes
There are some devices that create a small hole in the back of your cigar. This isn’t the most traditional method, but some people enjoy it. If you make a small hole, or small set of holes, you can create a super concentrated smoke.
This doesn’t always work because you may not be able to get enough smoke output to truly taste the cigar. Also, if you tend to be a wet smoker (you wet the end of the cigar with your mouth), these holes can close easily, and you can accidentally create new ones.
You can use a specific device with multiple tiny razor blades to create the same holes. You push the cigar into the device, and it can create several (up to 6) slices in the head. This is a novel device and not common amongst traditional cigar smokers.
How to Cut A Cigar Without a Cutter
If you don’t want to purchase a cigar cutter, you still have options. Many master cigar makers don’t use a cigar cutter, so there is no shame in choosing either method.
This option is one for the experts. With enough time and experience under your belt, you can use your thumb nail to open the head of the cigar. This is how many master cigar makers do the job.
You can also cut a cigar with scissors in a pinch. Cutting the cigar as cleanly and smoothly as possible is the aim. We recommend you open the jaw of the scissors as wide as they will go before making the snip. They also make scissors specifically designed for cutting cigars—this is the best choice if going down this route.
Choose the Best Cigar
Now that we have walked through the different cigar clippers and cuts, you can put your knowledge to use. You now know how to properly cut a cigar. E.P. Carrillo has an ideal cigar for every smoker. Keep an eye on our swag shop for the perfect cigar cutter.