cigar cut

Even the best cigar in the world can instantly be ruined if you don’t know how to cut a cigar. With the wrong type of cut you can end up with a cigar that’s hard to draw on, or the cigar may begin to unravel leaving bits of tobacco in your mouth. Additionally, the draw can be too bold or too mild which means the perfect balance of flavor is completely ruined. With just a single misstep you can end up having to throw away a premium cigar.

If you’re a beginner, then learning how to cut your cigar correctly may seem intimidating at first, especially if you’ve gone all out and purchased some premium cigars. However, with a little practice and the right type of cutter, it’s pretty easy to achieve the perfect cut and one that will further enhance your smoking experience.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to cut a cigar but which method should you choose? Straight cut, cigar punch, or V cut? This can often depend on cigar sizes. Let’s learn more.

Cut Options

Of course, there are a couple of few main types of cigar cutters that you can use to get the job done. I’ll briefly go over the different types as well as the pros and cons of using each method.

Straight

The straight cut is by far the most common and the type of cut that most cigar enthusiasts are familiar with, it’s also fairly simple to do, which is why most beginners will start off with this basic cutting method. Using this type of cut leaves a clean cut line which is also what makes it hard to execute. If your attempts at trying to cut your cigar cleanly have failed, you may be using a poor-quality cutter. I recommend you use a good cigar cutter, such as the Alaska Bear stainless steel cigar cutter.

However, before you attempt to cut the cigar always ensure that the blade is sharp. Some smokers believe that it’s easier to use scissors or a sharp knife to get the job done. And while using either alternative can provide a faster way to cut your cigar, it’s not exactly the safest option. Cutting a cigar straight is often the cut of choice by many cigar aficionados because it provides more surface volume. This results in more smoke.

To achieve this type of cut most people will turn to the traditional guillotine cigar cutter. This type of cutter provides an even straight cut. Like a real guillotine, the tip of the cigar will be sliced off using a single stroke. You don’t have to use a precise cutting method here. If you accidentally slice off too little of the cigar you can always quickly trim it. The bigger problem is if you accidentally cut off too much of the cigar. Should you cut off too much then the draw tends to feel very airy and the cigar will become too hot. Obviously, this will interrupt the taste as well, causing the wrapper to flake off and unwind. Fortunately, the biggest advantage of this type of cutter is the fact that it’s so easy to use which makes it very beginner-friendly. Even the newbie will end up with a clean-cut cigar that smokes the way it should. However, the biggest downside to this type of cut is the fact that if the blade isn’t kept sharp it can pull and drag instead of slicing. This will tear the wrapper instead of cleanly cutting it.

Pros

Closeup of cutting

This type of cut can work for most types of cigars and isn’t typically limited to size or shape. In most cases, a straight cut makes it much easier to draw on a cigar. Thanks to the larger opening there will also be more smoke.

Cons

Considering the size of the opening on the cap you are more likely to get pieces of tobacco in your mouth.

Use

Making a straight cut is considered the most versatile and common technique that you can use with scissors, guillotines, or even a sharp blade. Unlike V-cuts, a straight cut can be used to prepare pointed figurado or a rounded parejo cigars. The action itself is very decisive and quick while still being very precise. However, keep in mind a slow cut often does more harm than good as can a prolonged amount of pressure which could end up tearing the wrapper or crushing the tobacco. You’ll find it much easier to keep the cigar stationary, for a cleaner cut.

Next, you’ll move the cutter upwards for improved control. It should be held closer to the head using a firm grip just like when you’re sawing a piece of wood. The further away the cigar’s braced from the cutting area, the more it will move, which can result in a rough cut.  The cigar should be rested against the flat side of the hole,  which will work to brace it and keep it securely in place preventing the cigar from slipping or you from crushing the tobacco. Remember, it’s in your control to determine how far down you will make a cut between the flag leaf and the lip. The closer the cut is near the widest point the bigger the draw will be.

Punch

Punch cuts are essentially what they sound like. This type of cut creates a very small circle located on the cigar’s head. These cutters are pretty recognizable and they’re typically more affordable compared to other types of cutters. However, one of the biggest drawbacks to using this type of cut is the fact that doing so can easily clog the cigar with saliva or tobacco. First-time smokers prefer this method because of the reduced chances of getting tobacco in the mouth. Since most of these punch cutters are attached to keychains you can also take one with you pretty much everywhere you go and have one handy when you need it the most.

Most punch-style cutters are very similar to V-cutters since they reduce flaking and create a tight draw. However, this type of cutter tends to only work well on cigars with a round cap. This means that it will be ineffective on torpedoes. Usually, it performs the best on cigars that have a higher ring gauge. Just like the V-cut option, the small diameter of the hole in the cap tends to leave a lot of room for a bigger draw, so some smokers my find this option very restricting.

Pros

Gold cigar punch

This type of cut will give the cigar a much smaller opening. Because of this, any type of cigar that is cut in this manner will smoke like a torpedo, causing the smoke to mesh together through the very small opening. Some cigar aficionados believe this because it causes a more complex taste. Since the cut retains most of the cigar’s cap there’s also a reduced risk of getting pieces of tobacco in your mouth or the tobacco wrapper from unraveling. Additionally, some people simply like the way it feels.

Cons

This type of Cutters is unable to cut really thin cut cigars including torpedoes. Another issue is the fact that at times the opening can be too small which can cause the cigar to quickly become too hot.

Use

Using this type of cutter is very convenient and simple. Some smokers believe it’s also much easier to use compared to a V-cutter or a guillotine. However, you will not be able to use this type for cutting off the tips of figarados. Begin by holding a cigar firmly and placing the cutter over this paradoxical twist. Move the cutter back and forth gently and apply a light pressure. Once the cap has been broken and you can press an additional time until the punch is a few millimeters deep. Next, remove the cap and blow in the hole in order to remove any tobacco dust. If you’re dealing with a cigar that has a particularly wide gauge, then you may need to make more than one hole until you’re able to achieve the perfect draw.

V-Cut

This style of cut is often used for cigar gauges over 60. However, it can also be used for torpedo cigars since this type of cigar size can handle a lot of punches and is not able to fit in a traditional straight cutter. This cut is usually one that you must get right the first time around. Because of this, they’re not exactly beginner-friendly. The style of the v-cut is similar to that of the punch cut. Because of this, some smokers have found that using this type of cut can also easily clog the cigar with saliva or tobacco. If you decide to give this type of cut a try the next time you smoke, keep in mind that when you buy a cigar cutter you should ensure that its high quality. Otherwise, if you end up with a cutter that comes equipped with a poor quality blade or the blade is often dull they’ll end up destroying your cigar.

Using a V-cut style cigar cutter can provide a wedge-shaped cut in the cap of a cigar. The V-cutter is considered a very precise cutting tool and in order to achieve the right cut, you will need to pay close attention, definitely more so than when you’re using a standard guillotine cutter. To do, you’ll have to insert the cap of the cigar into the V-cutter opening. Next, use your thumb and middle finger pressing down using firm pressure. This will result in a wedge cut. Once you’ve got this technique down, this type of cut can give you more control in terms of drawing and a generally cleaner cut. With this type of cut, the cigar’s cap is mainly left intact, which will reduce the risk of the wrapper unraveling. However, it leaves a much smaller opening compared to a cigar that’s cut straight. This means that when you draw on a wedge cut you will not get as much smoke. Some cigar aficionado’s prefer this while others are disappointed. Basically, this is a matter of personal preference

Pros

This cut is a cross between a straight and punch cut. Much like the punch cut the V-cut is able to retain most of those cigar cap shape, while making it easier to draw on.

Cons

Unfortunately, there will be some instances in which the cut will close down when you’re smoking. This means that some of a cigar can become compressed so drawing on the cigar can be almost impossible.

Use

When using this type of cutter, you’ll be required to go in deeper than you normally would with a guillotine cutter. Because of this, you should anticipate cutting off around 1/8 of an inch. Make sure that you don’t remove too much of the wrapper in order to prevent it from unraveling. Like any other type of cutter it’s very important that you keep the blade sharp in order to promote proper cutting action. A cigar cutter that’s too dull can easily tear out a chunk of tobacco or crush the cigar.

If you want to find out which are the best humidors to store your cigars in, head over to my full buyer’s guide on the topic!

Final Thoughts

The type of cigar cut that you decide to use whether it’s a V-cut, punch cut, or straight cut, should be based on the type of cigar you’re cutting in addition to your personal preference. Whether you prefer a large draw, or keeping pieces of tobacco out of your mouth is the bigger priority, you can do a little experimenting in order to find a cut that works the best for you and the types of cigars you enjoy smoking. With a little practice and the right tools you’ll find that cutting your cigar expertly feels like second nature.