You wouldn’t think that’s a provocative title, but people have some very strong and widely varying opinions about this topic. If you have a method you like, don’t read any further- this post is not for you. If you are interested in learning more about cigar cutters and how to cut a cigar, read on.
There are a lot of different sizes and shapes of cigars out there but they fall into two main categories- parejo and figurado. Most cigars you will find will be parejo– that’s the typical shape that is straight on the sides and rounded at the top. Figurados are everything else, from torpedoes to braids to eggs. But since you are most likely going to be smoking a parejo, there’s one easy trick to cutting them that is darn near foolproof- lay your cutter on the table, insert the cigar’s head into the cutter so it is touching the table top, and cut. This ensures you will get the right depth of cut and that the cut is even- cutting improperly can lead to your cigar unraveling.
Pig tails fall under the parejo category, and it’s worth mentioning here they don’t typically need to be cut. You simply pull the pig tail off and smoke the cigar.
Kinds of Cutters
Guillotine And Other Double Blades
The most common cigar cutter out there is a double guillotine. Two blades come together from opposite sides to make a precision cut. Single guillotine cutters tend to smash one side of the cigar, so avoid those unless you’re stranded on a desert island with a box of cigars and that’s all you have.
As far as I’m concerned the Xikar Xi series is the gold standard of cigar cutters. They are well made, come in a variety of styles, and always operate just like you need them to. But the biggest selling point to me has always been the lifetime warranty. If your house burns down and you find your cutter in the rubble, they will replace it. I have an old Xi trimmed in rosewood I’ve had for years and it still works just like the first cut. I’m interested to see how the XO compares.
I’m also becoming a big fan of Prometheus cutters. I was hesitant to buy the Prometheus Y cutter at first because there was not a lifetime warranty (their warranty is two years), but I haven’t had any problems out of it in the five or so years I’ve owned it. It’s also quite the showstopper- this is the one I carry with me all the time because no one has anything like it. I’ve used this one so much I recently had to drop it off at Heimerdinger for a few days to get it sharpened. I’ve tried their H series cutter and I really like it as well.
But even if you’re not going to invest in a high-grade cutter, make sure you spend the extra two bucks to get a well-made double guillotine cutter or double blade cigar scissors. No one likes a half smashed and ripped cigar, which is what you will get with a single blade. Double bladed cutters are going to give you the best versatility for cutting the widest range of cigars.
A lot of people like V cutters, but they aren’t high up on my list. I’m of the opinion that cigar manufacturers intend their products to be smoked one way, and I’m not sure a v cut is it. But if it works for you, go for it. It’s just like it sounds- it cuts a “V” shape in the head of your cigar. This cut has grown in popularity over the last decade or so.
These were wildly popular back in the last cigar boom. They can go right on your keychain and they punch a nice little hole right in the head of your cigar. The plus side is that your cigar will unravel less , but the downside is that you may not get as good of a draw. I don’t see these very often anymore, though they are making a comeback thanks to the recent popularity of larger ring gauges- a double guillotine will generally only cut up to a 60 ring guage. Some people prefer this cutter for cigars with two or more caps.
I only used this Shuriken once a few years ago and it was interesting. Terrifying but interesting. You insert the head of your cigar into this razor-blade filled device and it makes several razor-thin slits in the wrapper. I remember the draw being drastically different with this cutter, and the bonus is that you don’t end up with an unraveled cigar.
Tabletop and Others
Tabletop cutters are probably my favorite because you need zero hand strength and very little coordination to operate them. There are also a multitude of other cigar cutters out there, many of which I have yet to try. If you find something you like, go with it. Otherwise double blade is where it’s at.