Cigar Education: Cutting and Lighting

Cigar Education: Cutting and Lighting

Part three in a series of blogs designed to educate you in the world of cigars, this time around we focus on the proper cutting and lighting of a premium cigar. We would like to thank the Perdomo Cigar Company for allowing us to borrow this information off their website.


Once you are ready to smoke the cigar you will need to cut it properly. A cigar should not be cut until you are ready to smoke it.

There are several options but the straight cut made with a guillotine cutter is the most common. Hold the cigar with one hand and the guillotine with the other, then insert the head of the cigar into the guillotine and cut into the cap, usually about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch down. Make sure not to cut into the body of the cigar and not past the cap area.

If the head of the cigar is shaped like a cone, then cut into the cone, but not quite at the widest part. In any case, you do not want to cut into the body of the cigar and cause the wrapper to unravel.


Start off by holding the cigar horizontally. You’ll want to “warm” the cigar by holding the flame directly underneath the end of the cigar. Slowly rotate the cigar until the end is evenly charred over the entire surface. Next, put the cigar in your mouth and hold the flame just close enough to the end without letting the flame touch it (about an 1/2″). Slowly draw on the cigar while rotating it – the main goal is to get it evenly lit. Gently blow on the glowing end – if it is burning evenly then you are ready to sit back and enjoy.

Relighting a cigar can be tricky but there are a few techniques that can help.

One technique is to clear all the ash by gently rubbing and/or tapping it on the ashtray. You then re-toast the cigar to get the wrapper going. Relight the cigar by puffing, then blowing out – not in – through the cigar. This is supposed to clear the tar and resins left from the previous light. Be careful though as sometimes blowing out causes you to blow out sparks.

Another technique is to cut the foot of the cigar about 1/4 to 1/2-inch back. This should leave you with mostly “fresh” tobacco. Depending on how deep you cut it back, you may find the tobacco in the center is a little scorched or blackened but cutting it back it will help keep the cigar from tasting bitter.

An important detail to note is that to avoid an acrid taste to the flavor, a cigar must be relit within 1 hour of it going out.