Since I came up short smoking new and interesting cigars to talk about this week, I thought I’d do a little tour of my various cigar cutters. I’ll come right out and say it: I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $2.65 for a cigar cutter! As much as I’d like to have a Xikar or Palio or Zino (the Zino Davidoff double guillotine cutter used to be the cutter to have, have these fallen out of favor?) Xikar and Palio in particular are to be commended for their commitment to costumer service and the way they both stand behind their products with lifetime guarantees. Anyway, I’ve always chosen to use my cigar budget for cigars as opposed to accouterments, something that will be quite obvious someday when I’m bored and do a piece on my lighters!
First off, my go-to cutter is one that is, sadly, discontinued. I’ve purchased many of these over the years at my local tobacconist who had them with his store logo printed on them. The logo has since worn off but they still cut like no other cutter. The staff at the store called them the “hot knife through butter cutter”. I bet it’s been about 5 years since these disappeared from the shop and the 3 I have are still going strong. The best way I’ve found to use these (as well as most cutters of this type) is to lay the cutter on a flat surface and stand the cigar up in the cutter. This provides a depth stop and a perfect cut every time. It also is sort of spring loaded so you have a little button to push to open it up, preventing possible pocket mishaps! It’s very sad that these aren’t around anymore as they are excellent cutters. As a matter of fact, I was once talking to a manufacturer of a very popular cutter about why I didn’t have one of his and when I showed him this one he just nodded and said he really couldn’t argue with me. I will cry if my last three ever break or get dull.
My second favorite cutter is this stainless steel cutter with a Drew Estate logo. These recently went on sale on Drew Estate’s website, bu I got mine last November at an event I attended. I like the closed back which provides the depth stop without having to find a flat surface on which to set your cutter. The downside is that it can take a half hour or so the cut a torpedo…..I know, I’ve been told a million times not to exaggerate, but these aren’t much good for pointy headed cigars. It can be done through multiple snips, but it’s not ideal. The other downside for me is that it’s a hefty bit of steel and isn’t so comfy in the pants pocket. Other than that it does an excellent job and is the cutter I grab more often than not. I’ve given a few of these away here and will have some more coming up in the future.
Up until last month, I had never used a bullet or punch style cutter before. I recently added a few on to a JR Cigar order to try out. I figured at $1.25 each I could afford to experiment, and it made me feel a little better about the new flat rate shipping charge. I’ve punched a few cigars and I like the neatness and uniformity of the hole, but in most cases I’ve ended up re-cutting the cigar after a while as the hole was maybe a little too small to give me the air flow I’m used to. I’ll continue to use this on smaller ring cigars and see how I like it. I’m quite certain that these will lose their edge fairly quickly considering the price.
Another Item I keep on my key rings just in case is the Cigar Spike. I purchased 3 of these last year for $3 delivered. This is basically a piece of plastic with a pointy end that you use to pierce the head of your cigars. I’ve found that this is useful on cigars that have a very loose draw. The irony here is that you really don’t know how the draw is going to be until you cut it, right? I had a box of Camacho Candela Monarcas that were very loose, knowing this I use the Spike on them with good results. Most times though, the hole that the spike leaves is woefully inadequate. I like having it on my key chain though, and there’s a lot of things I’ve wasted more money on. Like the $1.25 punch, I consider these money well squandered.
Here are a couple of cutters that just don’t work, at least for me. They look nice, but they just seem to horrifically mangle a cigar. The one on top in the photo to the right is a stainless steel single blade cutter with a nice leather case. The blade doesn’t slide very well making it awkward to use, and it just doesn’t work. This was a prize at an event many years ago, quite the waste of materiel I’m afraid, I probably wouldn’t even give this away. The cutter on the bottom was a gift to my wife some years ago, which I make no claims to, but wanted to include it because it looks nifty. This is a triple bladed cutter that really should do a nice job. Fact is, it does a good job of tearing the hell out of the head of the cigar and not much else. Like I said, it does look neat, but that’s about where it ends (unless I’m just not using it right, which I doubt). This comes from Cuban Crafters, who does sell a cutter not unlike the Drew Estate cutter above, except with a hole in the middle of the backing plate to allow for a pointed or pigtailed cap.
This leaves the odds and ends. Anyone who’s smoked cigars for any length of time, or been to a cigar event, has accumulated a collection of cheapie cutters. Most have screen printed logos on them, most will do a passable job of cutting a cigar once or twice. They certainly come in handy to give to someone in need in a pinch, or if you are traveling and don’t want to worry about having a good cutter confiscated or otherwise lost. We all have them, they sit in a drawer or box someplace. In the picture on the right, the double bladed cutter on the bottom is actually a pretty nice cutter. I generally grab this one if I’m traveling. It’s nice and light in the pocket and makes a clean cut. I also wouldn’t be heartbroken if it was lost. The one on the left is some sort of combination tool that has a spring loaded jaw to perhaps hold your cigar on the golf course somehow, maybe by pushing the prongs on the end into the ground? It’s gimmicky and largely ineffective as a cutter.
Thus ends this little romp through my budget cutter collection. Of course there are styles of cutters I don’t have. I’ve not yet managed to get a scissor type cutter or a “V” cutter (I used to have a cheap plastic one, but has long since vanished) Somehow, I always manage to get through the caps of my cigars one way or the other so I can enjoy the goodness within. One of these days I’ll get the lighters out and takes some photos.
Until the next time,