Cutting edge advice

Q. How much of the tip (cap) of the cigar should be cut off with the cutter? I’ve seen some who just cut off the very tip and others who cut off quite a bit.

A. You only need to slice off the cap itself, about 1/8 inch at most. Sometimes you can see where the cap meets the strand of tobacco that holds it in place. If you position the cutter properly at the head and pinch the blades slowly, you can literally “pop” it off. Even if you don’t get all of the cap – assuming the cigar is drawing well – as you smoke the cigar and the head becomes more wet from being in your mouth, it will open wider and usually the entire cap will come off completely.

Here’s another technique that works great with guillotine cigar cutters, preferably the double blade type: Lay the cutter on a table and stand the cigar up inside the blades head-down. Squeeze the blades together. There’s usually just enough gap between the tabletop and the blades to assure a straight cut that’s not too deep.

I’ve seen some smokers chop as much as about 3/8 of an inch off their cigars. It’s not only unnecessary, but often the wrapper will begin to unravel, and now you’ve got a problem.

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