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Cigar Accessories and Etiquette
arrow Main arrow History arrow Ingredients arrow Accessories & Etiquette
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Cutter -
Cigar cutters are used to remove or penetrate the cap of a cigar before smoking it. There are several types of cuts, which are based on personal preference and the shape or size of the cigar. Different types of cutters are used to create specific cuts.
  Types of Cutters:
V-Cutter -
Used to create a wedge through the head of the cigar by cutting a slice top-to-bottom. This type of cutter requires extremely sharp blades, which are difficult to replace. The cut goes deep into the body of the cigar, but leaves the two sides fully rounded. This allows the cap of the cigar to remain intact and opens more surface area of the filler allowing an easier and larger draw.
Straight Cutter -
This type of cutter is by far the most common opening almost the entire end of the cigar to draw. The straight cutter can be used for any cigar except for the very thickest and is almost always the preferred type of cutter for cigars with a small ring gauge. Straight cutters come with either a single or double blade. The single blade guillotine contains hole with a single blade that slides up and down in a track. The head of the cigar is placed in the hole and blade is pressed down to cut the cigar. The double blade guillotine is similar in that the cigar is inserted into a hole; however, in this type of cutter, pressure is applied by the thumb and index finger to two separate blades. Generally, the double blade will produce a cleaner cut.
Scissors Cutter -
The scissors cutter appears as a pair of scissors with two curves blades at the end. It has the flexibility of opening wide enough to accommodate any size cigar. However, it can be difficult to steady the cutter to control precisely how much of the head is snipped. The better cutters have very sharp blades for an easier cut.
Pinhole Cutter -
Also known as a cigar drill, this type of cutter looks like a cone with a small screw protruding from one end. The cone is placed over the head of the cigar while you turn the screw, which causes the sharp point of the screw to enter the cigar head and drill about a 1/2 inch hole into the body. Using this type of cutter sometimes makes it difficult to drill a big enough hole to provide an adequate draw and can be difficult to use, but will leave the cigar head intact minimizing the chance of it unraveling.
Puncture Cutter -
The puncture cutter contains a very sharp blade rolled into a circle with the thickness about the size of a pencil. The cutter is pressed into the middle of the cigar head and twisted lightly. Gentle pressure is applied until the blade is inserted up to its stop point, which is approximately 1/4 inch. The cutter is then twisted back out so that a small amount of tobacco is removed allowing for a sufficient draw while preserving the rounded edge of the cigar head.
Humidor -
A container designed for storing cigars or other tobacco products at a constant level of humidity. The perfect temperature and humidity level for a cigar is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% relative humidity. Maintaining this environment will allow cigars to age better and improve their taste. Spanish cedar is an ideal wood to retain humidity. It also can repel small tobacco beetles that can ruin an entire stock of cigars. In higher altitudes and drier climates, harder woods are preferable to cedar that seal better preventing humidity from escaping.
Holder –
One version of a cigar holder is a short mouthpiece that attaches to the head of the cigar. It keeps one’s lips from touching the cigar. Once considered fashionable, these types of cigar holders do not retain the same popularity today. A more common use for a cigar holder is a device, which wraps around the body keeping lit cigars clean and dry.
Case –
A cigar case serves as a mobile humidor, protecting cigars from damage and the outside environment while they are being carried around. The best types of cases are made of leather, which can even impact the taste. They can be either hard or soft, each yielding unique benefits and drawbacks. While the hard case is better at protecting cigars from the outside environment, it is not ideal for holding them tight and preventing the cigars from moving around inside. A softer case does not work as well protecting cigars from the elements, but is much better at holding them tight limiting their movement inside. Cases can be shaped with cylindrical columns to mold the shape of the cigars or can be flat. Cases are also made in various lengths and ring gauges.
Lighter –
Where cigarette lighters generally produce a small, short-lasting flame, cigar lighters are designed to generate a larger flame lasting much longer. This is necessary since the mouth of a cigar is generally much wider and sometimes moist.
Ashtray –
A suitable ashtray for a cigar has a sufficiently long indentation to cradle the cigar from either tipping into the tray or falling backwards onto the table or floor. They can come in various shapes such as triangular, square, rectangular, or round. On one side of the ashtray is a trough that holds the cigar. The trough should be wide enough to adequately hold the cigar, but too wide and part of the cigar is forced to lie directly on the ashtray as it becomes shorter from smoking. There are even smokeless ashtrays, which are designed to collect the smoke while the cigar is resting.
First, a cigar head should be cut with a cigar cutter by either piercing a hold in the middle of the head or slicing enough of the cap to obtain an adequate draw, yet not too much so as to risk unraveling.  Lighting a cigar is difficult because of its width and moisture and the need for using a relatively large and long-lasting flame.  The flame should not touch directly at the foot of the cigar.  It should be rotated around the edge until it begins to burn.  It is important to puff lightly to obtain an even burn and not overheat the cigar.  It is also customary not too light another’s cigar, which often will cause the smoker to draw too hard.  Cigar smoking is a social endeavor and should not be a rushed event.  One puff per minute is an adequate rate.  The taste and aroma should be savored.  Smoking too fast will develop a burned taste in the cigar.  The cigar should be held between the index finger and thumb while smoking.  Removing the label is a personal choice.  However, when deciding to remove it, the cigar should be warmed up a bit allowing it to peel off easier without tearing the wrapper.  Choosing a beverage to accompany a cigar is also a matter of personal choice.  Cognac or brandy is a nice complement because of their clean, crisp flavor.  Single-malt Scotch, Bourbon, and wine are also adequate choices.  For those preferring non-alcoholic drinks, a fruit juice or cola will work by helping to cleanse the palate between puffs.
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