3 Types of Cigar Cutters – Pros and Cons of each
There are a few fiercely debated topics in the cigar community; cellophane on or off, what humidity to keep the humidor, is this Cuban real, and finally what type of cigar cutters work best.
I will start this off by saying, other than the question of Cuban cigars, all of these things are a matter of personal preference. With this entry in to the blog I want to educate the readers on the different types of cuts, and what you can expect, good and bad from each.
I am only going to cover the three big types of cuts; the punch, the deep V, and the straight cut (guillotine cutters), everything else out there is really just a variation of these three. Without further ado, lets look at the best types of cigar cutters to get the job done.
First Type: The Cigar Punch
The first type of cut we are going to look examine is the punch. This cut comes in many forms, from jamming a golf tee into the cigar cap, to an actual punch cutter. The idea is to open the head of the cigar with a singular hole in the cap of the cigar.
The great thing about this style of cut is, a larger portion of lighters on the market have a punch on them, that means you only really need one tool in your pocket to enjoy your cigar.
If you decide to purchase an actual cigar punch, you’ll find this to be a cheap cutter. Cigar lovers appreciate the ease of use, and conveniently, these cutters can go right on your car key ring.
Now we get into the bad. The first con of this cut is, if it is not done correctly, you can push the filler tobacco in, this means you run the risk of closing up the cigars air paths, in result the cigar can develop a tight draw sometimes rendering it un-smokeable.
The next issue that can happen with this cut is tobacco by nature when it burns it develops a tar like substance from the sap in the leaves. With such a small opening in the cigar’s cap, this tar can clog the cigar, making it hard if not impossible to smoke.
The last and to me the most important con is, with such a relatively small opening in the cap you may be missing out on some of the flavor nuances from the tobacco. Cigar punches are low cost, convenient, but shunned by most cigar aficionados.
2nd type of cutter: The V-Cut
The next types of cigar cutters we are going to examine are the deep V cutters (sometimes called a wedge cutter) These cutters, which can range in price anywhere from a couple bucks to almost $100, make a very accurate cut.
To most seasoned cigar smokers the cost is really a non-issue due to the amount of money spent on cigars.
The deep V-cut cigar cutters creates a channel through the cigar’s head, while preserving a majority of the cap to avoid the cigar from unrolling. This type of cut gets into funny topic we use called “mouth feel”, it is a weird concept to some new smokers.
However it is a big reason we smoke the types of cigars we prefer, the ring gauge, or the cut we prefer.
This cut can open the cigar up nicely while not running the risk of damaging the air paths through the tobacco, and causing obstructions. Some people who choose this method get fancy with their use of the V cutter and make a cross or a crown in the cap. To me this is a lot of work to enjoy a good cigar.
This type of cut also works great for a distinguishing feature: if you are smoking the same cigar as friends while using the same ashtray you can easily tell your cigar from your friends.
The major con is the cap of the cigar isn’t completely open, you still might not be getting all of the background flavors if using this cut, but it is miles better than the punch. This type of cigar cutter can offer a perfect cut, but here, ‘quality is rarely cheap, and cheap is rarely quality’.
The most common type of cigar cutters: The straight guillotine
The final cutter we are going to be discussing is the straight cutter, often called the double guillotine, or simply a guillotine cigar cutter. This is the cut that cigar blenders use to check to ensure the flavor profile is where it is desired to be.
This causes the end of the cap to be completely opened, and the air to be pulled across the entire surface area of the tobaccos used. When you draw across the entire surface area of the cigar you will be getting the complete, unobstructed flavor profile the blender intended the consumer to experience.
Make sure you get one with a stainless steel blade.
These types of cutters, like the v-cut cutters, can be purchased for a couple bucks all the way up to around $100. While you can get a single blade cutter, a double blade cutter will offer a nice clean cut. This makes it a popular choice of cigar lovers everywhere.
I should add that cigar scissors are a type of guillotine cut, with dual stainless steel blades.
This cut runs an inherent risk of cutting too deep, removing the whole cap and the cigar wrapper unraveling, making at best a really annoying situation. There are straight cutters out there known as a “perfect or easy cutter”.
These cutters have a cover on the back, making it nearly impossible to cut off too much. These do run the risk of becoming jammed over time.
All cuts are not created equal, and they all produce a different smoking experience. The intended purpose of this article is not to tell you which type of cut you should or should not use, rather to bring to light some of the pros and cons associated with the three major types of cigar cuts.
I will tell you I have utilized all three different types of cigar cutters and I have favorite, which is the straight cut. This is a decision I have come to after many, many cigars have been smoked.
As stated in the beginning of this article this is one of the big debates you hear come up a lot in cigar circles, and has no real definitive right or wrong answer associated with it.
Since there is no right or wrong answer to which cutter to use, I treat this topic a lot like politics, and do not get myself involved in debates on this subject. A majority of things surrounding cigars are intensely based on personal preference and tendencies.
I believe it is time for me to choose one of my lovely cigars from the humidor, and watch the dogs run in the back yard. Until next time, stay smokey my friends.
Thank you Brandon for this great article. As you said, the debate around this topic is always a lively one. I recently posted this question in a facebook group, and the overwhelming response in THAT group was a preference for the v-cutter.
Other responses pointed out that the answer depends on the difference in ring gauge size, with larger cigars meriting one type of cut, and smaller sticks demanding another.
I am a firm believer in using the right tool for the job. You ‘can’t paint a Mona Lisa with a pig’s tail’, and to get the most enjoyment out of your premium cigar, a quality cigar cutter goes a long way. When we add up the cost of all the cigars we smoke, spending a little extra on a good cigar cutter is a worthwhile investment.
I hope you enjoyed this rundown of the different types of cigar cutters available.
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