What’s the best way to cut a cigar?

Another one of those questions like “what culture has the best tasting food?” or “where’s the best place to invest my money?” No one (although some will try) can really give you a definite answer. What you get are different suggestions and theories as to why one way or one direction is better than the other.

Let’s look at the most common ways to cut a cigar and talk about the positives and negatives shall we?

  • The Straight Cutter – Also referred to by some as the guillotine cutter because well, that’s what it looks like. This is pretty basic and offers one blade which is usually angled to minimize the amount of surface area being touched at one allowing a smooth cut. This cut is pretty standard and allows a straight, flat surface on the smoking side of the cigar. This cut, although being one of the most popular is often the most criticized. This is because more often than not a cutter with just one blade tends to be a cheap “$2 special”. A cheap cutter will often dull much faster. Take into consideration now that there is only one (now dull) blade and try to imagine what would happen if you tried to cut a piece of bread on a cutting board with a butter knife, it’ll eventually work, but won’t be pretty.
  • The Double Blade- An improvement upon the Straight Cutter. Someone at some point (much like the person who saw “8 minute abs” and created “6 minute abs”) said “Hey, why don’t we add another blade!” Hat’s off to you sir. The double blade is exactly what the name suggests, the same body and casing of the straight cutter but with a blade on both sides. Instead of having angled blades however, these blades are concave much like a half moon. Companies manufacture this style of cutter in all ends of the price spectrum and some companies have begun to get a little creative with the body shape. For example the standard “Xikar” cutter is a spinoff of the Double bladed cutter. This is the cut that I use, I find it gives you the same cut at the Guillotine but with a lot less of the crushed/broken cigar headache.
  • The V-Cutter- A different take on the Straight Cutter. This cigar cutter offers just one blade but instead of being almost two dimensional, the blade is bent to form the shape of (you guessed it!) a V. This leaves a very recognizable wedge in the smoking end of the cigar as opposed to the flat smoking surface. People will argue that this cut is far superior than a straight cut because it causes most surface area in which to draw from.
  • The Punch Cutter- This cigar cutter is typically the size of a pen cap and has a metal ring which has been sharpened. The objective is to “punch” a hole in the smoking end of a cigar. These are made in all different sizes so that one can choose which size hole they would like (some higher end punch cutters have more than one sized blade option) These I have found are popular because the size of them makes them easy to attach to a key chain (many are sold already on a key ring) however I personally do not prefer them as I find the surface of the cut area to be too small, affecting the draw and also that if you are not gentle enough it is easy to crack the smoking end of the cigar. Also good luck cutting a torpedo.
  • The Shuriken Cutter- A new cutter which arrived on the scenes a couple of years ago, this capsule shaped cutter has many blades on the inside. One unscrews the capsule and pushes the head of the cigar inside. The interesting thing here is that the blades do not cut the top of the smoking end of the cigar but puncture the sides of it instead. The company which created it makes claims as to how this allows the true taste of the cigar to blossom and prevents any unwanted tar taste which may occur. I have tried this cut several times and did not enjoy it. Reason being I found that I had to put the cigar much further into my mouth than I normally do (I’m stubborn and don’t like change.) Also I found that the small slits on the side were not anywhere large enough to get a good healthy draw, although it does open up more about five minute in. Finally the cutter, because of its odd bulbous shape is not comfortable to keep the my jeans pocket.

Pretty much what it all breaks down to is what feels most comfortable to you. I find that the sharpness of the blade is also key. For example when I started working at Tobacco Haven we had cigar cutters in a plastic casing made from a city in Germany. These looked just like the $4 double bladed cutters we had but retailed for $20. Come to find out that city in Germany is world famous for making extra sharp blades and the cutter still cuts like the day I bought it. Try them all, see what you like, go with that and never let anyone “poo-poo” you and tell you you’re doing it wrong.