A short primer on “must-have” cigar accessories.
When learning the ins and outs of smoking premium cigars, as with any avocation, there are several accessories you must have to fully enjoy it. Bikers need helmets (at least in most states), target shooters need ammo (if you can find it these days), fishermen need hooks and lures. OK, you get it. So what about cigar smokers?
For storing your cigars, put a humidor at the top of your list. It doesn’t have to be super fancy or expensive, but when stocked it should be at least 50% full, have a good seal, and a reliable humidification system. If you want to go state of the art, the humidification system should include a digital hygrometer/thermometer and a crystal-based humidifier. Additionally, you will need a calibration pack to accurately calibrate your hygrometer before seasoning your humidor. This will help prevent false readings when you check on your cigars.
Secondly, you need a cigar cutter to cut-off the closed end, or “head,” of the cigar. There are several options available: single and double blade, punches, V-cutters, and scissors. Start with a double-blade cutter. It’s the most commonly used and the most reliable for properly snipping the cap.
Once you’re comfortable with the double blade, try some other types of cutters. You may even find that you like one type of cutter better than another, too. Whichever type of cutter you choose, don’t skimp; buy a good one with really sharp blades.
As for lighting your cigars, go with a torch flame lighter. Most of them are highly wind-resistant, plus, they offer the best method for toasting your cigar. Torch lighters range from single to quadruple flame. A single flame will do the job as well as any, but if you smoke wide ring cigars, like 48 ring and wider, a dual or triple flame may be more in order.
You’ll also need a can of multi-filtered, high-quality butane for refilling. The more times the fuel has been filtered, the cleaner the flame and the less gunk buildup in your lighter over time.
Finally, you need a cigar ashtray. There are a mind-boggling number of styles and sizes available. Choose the model that appeals to you, but try to find one that also has the following features: Two to four stirrups (for when you’re smoking with friends). The stirrups should be wide enough to hold most any size cigar, and long enough so the cigar sits comfortably when placed down – at least 1½-inches. It should also have a bowl deep enough to hold at least two or four cigars-worth of ashes without overflowing.
That’s all you need to enjoy your favorite cigars. Just add something to pair with them, some good company, and you’re set. In a future post, we’ll get into some other useful accessories.