If you’re wondering how to cut a cigar, you’ve come to the right place. There are many good ways to cut a cigar, but people will often swear by one method or another. The truth is, however, among the good methods, there is really no right or wrong way to cut a cigar.
Ultimately, the best way to cut a cigar is the way that works for you, without compromising the integrity of your smoke. So, without further preamble, let’s get into the best methods for cutting your cigars so you don’t ruin a great smoke with a bad cut.
How to Cut a Cigar
To know how to cut a cigar, it’s important to understand how a cigar is made. A hand-rolled cigar is held together at the top with a cap, which is held there with a flavourless and odourless vegetable-based glue. Right beneath the cap is the shoulder of your cigar. When you cut your cigar, you want to aim just above the shoulder. If you cut too far down and hit the shoulder, you run the risk of your cigar becoming unwrapped, leaving you with a mouthful of tobacco. If you cut too far up, however, you can just re-slice.
Guillotine vs Punch
But a slice, or a guillotine cut, is not the only way to cut your cigar. Guillotine cutters slice off a bit of the cap, whereas a punch cutter makes a small, circular hole in the cap. This is advantageous because the punch facilitates little flaking and a tight draw, if that’s your preferred draw.
The main drawback of the punch is that the punch will only work on cigars with a round-cap (so not figurados or torpedoes), and usually works best on cigars with above 40 ring gauge sizes. And again, punches give a tight draw, which some smokers may find restricting.
The sharp guillotine, on the other hand, will provide a clean slice so that you can get a full draw. As mentioned, just make sure to cut a little above the shoulder. It’s better to cut off too little than too much. Guillotine cutters are available as hand-hand slicers or tabletop cutters.
Here are some other ways to cut a cigar:
Scissors: You can cut a cigar with standard kitchen scissors (if they are clean and sharp) but it is much better to use cigar scissors, which are designed specially to cut your cigar.
Any kind of cutter with a dull blade will also damage your smoke, since it will drag instead of slicing for a clean cut.
Wedge Cutter. A wedge cutter makes a v-shaped channel in the cap of your cigar, facilitating a more controlled, cleaner draw than the other options, but with less draw due to the narrower channel. A wedge cutter will go deeper than a guillotine, so be prepared to cut off 1/8 of an inch.
A wedge-cutter can cut many different cigars, including figurados and up to 60 ring gauge, and is available as a handheld tool or table top option .
Yourself. Some cigar aficionados use their nails or teeth to pop off the top of the cigar. While this is certainly one way to do it, we don’t generally recommend it for people who are new to smoking, since the method is not precise and you are more likely to tear and unravel your wrapper.
Whatever method you use, be firm and final in your execution to ensure the cleanest cut.
Figurados vs Parejos
To cut a pajero cigar, you want to find the line on the cigar where the cap comes over the shoulder, and cut it there. This will create a wide and open cut across the cigar for a nice, full draw. You can use a wedge or punch as well as a guillotine cutter on this type of cigar.
To cut figurados, on the other hand, you want to use exclusively straight cutters, like a guillotine or scissors, due to the cigar’s more pointed shape. To cut, aim down about a 1/4 inch from the tip of the cigar and make a strong, decisive cut.
Check out this great video from Cigar Aficionado on the cigar cutting process.
The most important takeaways from this is that if you want your cigar cut to be a success, don’t cut corners. Buy a good quality cutter that’s sharp and won’t drag through your cigar and tear your wrapper. Think of your cutter as an investment in your cigar smoking experience.
You can shop all our cigar cutters in our online store here.