The cut of the stogie and the tools you use have an impact on your ability to enjoy its aroma and flavor.
A Slice of Heaven
We cut a cigar to create a good sized opening without hurting its structure. The aim is to create a huge exposed surface of cleanly cut filler leaves. This permits the same draw from both the cigar’s core and its rim. There are a numerous ways to accomplish this goal, but stogie experts have their opinions and methods for which work better than others.
Back in the day, many cigar smokers simply bit off the end of their cigars. Cost is the main advantage of this strategy. However, it does have some serious drawbacks. First, it is not extremely accurate. It is difficult to see what you are doing, and if you are biting down on the right spot. Second, you the odds of a clean cut are very low since your teeth aren’t as sharp as a knife, or a cigar cutter for that matter. Finally, it’s almost impossible not to wind up with some tobacco in your mouth.
The Piercing Question
The 1870’s saw the introduction of the piercer, or cigar perforator. Also known as a Punch or lance, this tool creates a bullet cut, which leaves you with a tiny entrance in the end of your stogie. This makes the draw harder, but the little hole can bring to you a large, intense flavor blast. However, the narrow opening also permits tar and nicotine to build up. That eventually results in harsh smoke. Precision’s also tough with a punch. Go too deep and the inside will burn too hot. That ruins its aroma, and makes the cigar’s smoke bitter.
V for Victory?
A V-Cut creates a bigger opening, and thus, an easier draw than piercing. It produces a funneling effect that increases the concentration of smoke and results in richer, fuller flavors. However, this technique isn’t’ without its faults as it can burn too hot, and release acrid smoke. Also, not a good move for smokers who tend to chew their stogies, because the narrow opening can easily collapse under the pressure of your bite.
A Cigar Knife is may be the easiest of the smoking tools out there to keep sharp. Many models include a variety of blades to accommodate different ring gauges. Some might feature tools like a pocket knife. Knives do take some skill and a steady hand for a clean cut. Still, they are convenient, and some cigar makers have elevated them to a status symbol.
Cigar-specific scissors are also an option, but they can be tricky to use. Unless the blades are sharp, you risk tearing the wrapper, and undermining the stogie’s structure. Balance is also an important consideration.
Off with Its Head!
Guillotine Cutters are the easiest to use. This type of cutter produces a wide surface area for a smooth, open draw. They come in single and double blade options. This protects a cigar’s structural integrity best by limiting the risk of tearing. NOTE: watch out for buildup if you select a single blade cutter.
Cutting to the Chase
The bottom line: a bad cut can ruin a nice stogie. That makes your selection of tools very crucial.