Cigars 101

Can I Get a Little Love Here for the V-Cutter?

Just How Many of Us Are Using V-Cutters?
Call me curious…so I started doing some searching on different blogs, forums, and other online destinations – and it seems there’s a small group that swears by it; a large majority that just don’t indulge in the V-cut, and a handful that just say, “Eh.”

If you’ve been looking to change up your smoking routine and you’re itching to take a v-cutter for a test drive, be warned that there’s a lot of conflicting advice out there: one forum I visited said that a V-cut should only be used on “smaller diameter cigars.” Really? I usually smoke 46 ring or above, and it works just fine for me. Then the next blog I read said: “V-cutters don’t do well with smaller RG.”  Oh, great…but then others said the same: “I like the V cut on my large gauge NC’s,” said one. Another guy uses a V cut “mostly on larger RG cigars to control the draw.” There’s no clear consensus out there – but I will say that it works on just about everything.

Bonus: If you like to put a V-cut on your cigar, but it still doesn’t offer enough of a draw for you – here’s Gary’s tip on how to use a v-cutter to make an “x” – and it works especially nicely on big-ring cigars:

Keeping it Clean
I’m currently 50-50 on using V-cutters and double-blade cutters. But why I like the V-cut, and I’ll never leave it: it’s CLEAN. As long as the cigar has been stored and properly humidified, and the cutter is sharp, I’ll get a nice crisp cut on that ‘gar every time. Sure, I’ve ripped a few caps up because they were a little dry, but I believe a good cigar shouldn’t really shed anything after a V-cut. So, back to the blogs I go to see if I’m alone on this one…some of the comments from around Cigar Land:

  • leaves a clean cleft tip and it’s usually deep enough to give you a good draw.
  • neat, clean, and exposes just the right amount of tobacco under the cap for a superb draw.
  • I like to use the V-cut on just about every cigar I smoke because I feel like I don’t get the small leaves in my mouth.
  • I find it is cleaner and leaves fewer shreds of tobacco after cutting.

Finally…we agree on something.

Mmmm, Tasty
Taste seemed to be a big factor for more and more of the people whose comments I read. Some mentioned that it “gives great circulation and will reduce the bitterness,” while someone else said “on oilier blends of cigar, I find it causes more tar buildup.” I agree with the second statement. Since you’re narrowing the opening in the cap, the smoke is more concentrated and tends to center on the palate – which may be why some people absolutely hate the V-cut. But that’s one of the reasons I love it. Just take shallow puffs, if you find this happening to you too often.

What I like is a full draw with thick smoke, and the V-cut delivers. Since we all know that too deep a cut is a real drag (no pun intended) and a too-shallow cut gives you that pain-behind-the-eyeball feeling after a few puffs, consistency is the name of this game. My experience with premium cigars has shown that, if you make the same shaped cut, you should get a consistent smoke. For someone accident-prone like me, removing the element of human error is a huge bonus. Most agree, saying it loosened up the draw, had less a chance of screwing up the cut or cap, or that “the V-cutter gets it right the first time.”

And Now, Some Bona Fide Expert Advice…

I turned in-house to Leaf Cigar Bar & Restaurant’s Certified Tobacconist, Sean Brown.

“A V-cutter is a matter of personal preference,” said Sean. It is more difficult to use on ‘shaped’ cigars like figurados because a V-cut works better on a flatter surface, but if you can do it – it’s really good. The benefits are more cap on the cigar, some say better ‘mouth-feel,’ and it tends to be more of a consistent cut than a double blade. By that, you tend to remove the same amount every time you use a V-cutter. The down side is it can lead to more buildup of tar and oils at the head, which tastes even more bitter if you need to relight your cigar.”

There you have it: as with all things cigars, it’s a personal preference. And even though you may think it’s far from your cup of tea, you won’t know until you try it.




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John Pullo

John Pullo

Editor in Chief

This is not his picture, nor does he even have a beard. A solid 'B' student and occasional low-fi musician, John is a medley of cynicism and sarcasm crammed into a wrinkled Oxford shirt who makes it nearly intolerable to watch reality television with him in the same room. Interestingly, his Social Security number is all ones.

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