I started doing some searching – different blogs, forums, and other online destinations for fellow BOTL’s, and it seems there’s a small group that swears by it; a large majority that don’t indulge; and a handful that just say, “Eh.”
This led me to a lot of conflicting advice. One site 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 “mostly on larger RG cigars to control the draw.” So, no clear consensus there.
Keeping it clean
This is what I like most about the V-cut: 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:
- …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.
NOW we’re getting somewhere!
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, it’s more concentrated and tends to center the smoke on the palate, which may be why some people absolutely hate the V-cut; but that’s one of the reasons I love it.
What I like is a full draw with thick smoke, and the V-cut has been delivering! 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 drags, consistency is the name of this game. My experience with premium cigars has shown that, since 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.”
Do we now have a consensus? Far from it. I turned in-house to Leaf Cigar Bar & Restaurant’s Certified Master Tobacconist, Jeff Brown.
“A V-cutter is a matter of personal preference,” said Jeff. It is more difficult to use on ‘shaped’ cigars like figurados because a V-cut works better on a flatter surface. The benefits are more cap on the cigar, or as 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 more buildup of tar and nicotine at the head, and it tastes even more bitter if you need to relight the stogie.”
There you have it. Jeff said what I think we’ve found here: personal preference. My research showed me that the V-cut is far from everyone’s cup of tea, but ever since first trying it I liked it. Finally, though I’m not exactly sure why, it seems that the “V” remains the mark of some secret society or something…and I’ve stumbled into their ranks! What about you?