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A cigar cutter is perhaps the most important accessory that any cigar aficionado could buy. Even if you smoke cigars infrequently, or only on special occasions, a cigar cutter is integral to the enjoyment of a good cigar. A bad cutter can destroy a good cigar.
Cigars mainly consist of a wrapper, commonly made of dried leaves, and tobacco. However, much contributes to a good cigar. The size and method used to wrap the tobacco significantly affects the smoking experience as well.
In order to understand the need for a cigar cutter, it must be pointed out that a cigar is almost always sold with one flat end of exposed tobacco, which is the end that you light; and a rounded end totally enclosed by the wrapper, the end that you draw on. A cutter is necessary in order to cut a small hole in the rounded end, to create a smooth draw.
If the wrapper of the cigar is damaged in the cutting process, the cigar will not smoke properly and the experience will be unsatisfactory. To the novice smoker, a bad cut may not even be noticeable. However, once you become more experienced with cigar smoking, a bad cut can ruin your cigar.
There are mainly four styles of cigar cutters prevalent today: the guillotine cigar cutter, the scissor cigar cutter, the cigar punch and the "V" cigar cutter.
The guillotine cutter uses either one or two blades to cut a cigar. However, the two-bladed version is much cleaner and provides a better cut.
A scissor cutter puts more even pressure on the cigar and gives a more centered and uniform cut.
The cigar punch is actually not a cutter at all. It punches a small hole in the end of a cigar instead. This method is practical for cigars with a very large diameter but will not work well with unusually styled cigars, such as torpedoes.
Perhaps the least harmful way of cutting a cigar, however, would be by using the "V" cutter. A "V" cigar cutter actually cuts a small "V" shape in the end of a cigar instead of snipping or punching a hole.
Regardless or which type of cigar cutter you choose, be sure to cut your cigar with care and patience. Although you can spend a small chunk of money on a cigar cutter, it is not necessary. Many good cigar cutters can be found for less than $5 (US dollars).
I like to use a punch just because it is clean and tidy. I also like the quality it gives to the smoke as I inhale. I can really feel it coming out of the tiny hole and I think it helps to concentrate the flavor.
I have a really nice punch that my grandfather gave me when I graduated college. He was a big cigar lover and he had had this particular punch since the second world war. He swore it was the best ever made and I am inclined to believe him. I have punched thousands of cigars with it at this point and it has never let me down.
There are lots of different kinds of cigar cutters, but my dad used to always use his teeth. To make me and my sister laugh he would put the cigar in his mouth and waggle it around like a dog whipping a bone back and forth.
He actually kept a special trash can in the living room just for the buts of his cigars and he could spit the bit off tip in every time. I don't ever remember him missing.
The whole thing used to disgust my mother but she got over it. My dad was a cigar lover in the most fanatical sense of the term and if she had told him to stop or to smoke outside that might have been the end of the marriage.