How to Cut a Cigar

Welcome New Cigar Smoker!
So you are new to smoking cigars and would like to know how to properly cut your fine smoke.   Before you cut the cigar you need to know a few basics.   First, selecting the correct end of the cigar to cut.   While to many this would seem very basic, but surprisingly there are some really new smokers that don’t the head from the foot of the cigar.    The end of the cigar that goes in your mouth is called  the head of a cigar.  The opposite end of the cigar that you ignite is known as the foot.  The head is distinguishable by the fact that it has a cap on it, a round piece of tobacco that is stuck onto the head in order to keep the wrapper of the cigar together.  For those still confused, its the sealed end of the cigar.   If the cigar does not have a cap, then it may be tapered a little thinner at the head, or have a twisted “pigtail” on the sealed end.

The shoulder of the cigar is the mid-way point between the cigar cap and the head of the cigar.   If you cut too deep into the head / body of the cigar it will tend to unroll and also flake off in your mouth while smoking.   Depending on the method you select for cutting your fine cigar you will have to adjust where you cut.

diagram to cut a cigar

Straight Cut with Double-Guillotine Cutter

Double-Guillotine CutterDouble (or single) Guillotine cutters are used on the mid-point between the cap and the head of the cigar.   Remember, the end of the cigar that goes in your mouth and is called the head of a cigar.  The head is distinguishable by the fact that it has a cap on it, a round piece of tobacco that is stuck onto the head in order to keep the wrapper of the cigar together.

Identify where the “shoulder” of the cigar ends. The shoulder is where the curved end of the cigar starts to straighten out.  Right above the shoulder, where the curve is still intact, is where you’ll you want to cut.

Pick up your cigar cutter between your thumb and forefinger using your dominant hand.

Place the cigar into the cutter and close one eye in order to line up the cigar correctly. Line it up so that you’re cutting right above the shoulder of the cigar.  (Remember that it’s better to cut too little than too much. You can always go back and cut more cigar off, but it’s impossible to go back and put already-cut cigar back on. Better to be safe than sorry.)

Cut the cigar quickly in one fluid motion, with as much force as you can. Keep a tight grip on the cigar with your other hand and try not to let it move until it is cut all the way through.

•Quickness is key here. You want the guillotine to slice through the cigar quickly, not tear through it slowly.

•Make sure to use a sharp cutter.  Just like a sharp kitchen knife works best for food, the sharper your guillotine the better. Unless disaster strikes (it won’t), you’ll never regret having a sharper implement.  You can buy an inexpensive single-guillotine cutter, but you risk damaging your fine cigar with a dull blade.

Punch Cut with Punches
punch cutterA cigar punch just punches a hole through the head of the cigar.  There are, however, three different kinds of cigar punches available:

•Bullet punch: Fits on a keychain, it twists to expose a circular blade that cuts into the head of the cigar.

•Havana punch: Safer than a bullet punch, it has a recessed tip that can be fitted into the cigar head, and which draws out the tobacco plug after a cut is made.

•Multi-punch: Offers more sizes for punching different sizes of cigars.

Pick an appropriate punch size, if possible, and push the blade into the cap.

After the blade is inserted into the cap, rotate it to fully cut a hole into the cap, then remove the blade. the cut portion will come out as well.


Wedge Cut with V-Cutters
cigar v-cutUse a v-cutter for more draw on a cigar.  Using a v-cutter will give the cigar smoker a bigger draw by cutting deeper into the head of the cigar. One drawback of the v-cutter is that it sometimes produces too big of a draw, making the cigar smoke too hot.   The v-cut is normally best used with thick cigars over 55rg.

•A very good v-cutter will sit on a table, but is too big to carry with you. A small one is the same size as any other small cutter and can cost as little as $4.00.

•A v-cutter will not remove too much from the head of the cigar, which can result in the unwrapping of the cigar.

Hold the cigar in one hand, and the v-cutter in your other (dominant) hand, with the ends pulled open.

Put the cigar into the cutter’s indentation. Take care not to wedge the head of the cigar too deep into the v-cutter, or the cut may be too big.

Pushing the cigar toward the cutter, squeeze the two ends of the cutter together. Remove any loose tobacco by tapping the cigar on an ashtray or by blowing lightly into the wedge.