Reading Time: 2 minutes We tackle all your most pressing questions including one on which nearly every cigar enthusiast has an opinion—whether Cuban cigars are really better—in this month’s Cigar Advisor Fan Mail.
How to Cut a Cigar – Video Tutorial from Famous Smoke R&D
Better Cigar Smoking Through Science – Cigar 101 from the Famous Smoke Lab
We’re sharing one of our all-time top Cigar 101 topics today for our budding cigar smokers: how to properly cut a cigar with a guillotine cigar cutter.
Note: smoking jacket optional.
“Thanks for watching!” ~ Jenny, Chief Cutting Office/Famous Smoke Shop R&D
The cigar cutter is more than just a tool of the cigar smoking trade, it’s an integral part of the cigar preparation ritual – no smoking experience is complete without it! And how to use it is one of the Top 10 questions cigar smokers are routinely asking to learn. Here’s the in-depth version summary of what you just saw:
- Retract the handles and place your thumb on one side and your index and/or middle finger on the other.
- Position the cigar at a 90-degree angle to the cutter, inside the opening.
- Prepare to cut 1/16” – 1/8” off the top of the cigar. Before you apply pressure, take note of where the blades will come in contact with the cigar: if it’s below the seam of the cap, your cigar may unravel once it’s cut. Make any adjustments as needed, then line it up again.
- Once you’re sure that your positioning is correct, apply fast and even pressure from both sides and SNAP the blades closed. A fast cut is a clean cut.
- Test the cigar for draw. If it’s how you like it, you’re ready to toast and light it up!
The key to cutting a cigar correctly is removing enough of the cap without cutting too much of the cigar.
Try to keep the cut above the “shoulders” of the cigar, the spot where the cap and wrapper meet. If you examine the head of the cigar, you’ll notice a strip (or strips) of tobacco just below the cap – cut just above that line. Cutting below the shoulders may result in your cigar unraveling on you; but if your cut isn’t far enough, the cigar won’t draw.
A Note on How to Cut Torpedo Cigars
Cutting torpedoes – or any tapered head cigars, for that matter – is a little different. There is no cap on a torpedo cigar; instead, the wrapper is rolled over itself at the tip of the head. With a torpedo, a good cut is one that’s as small as possible, while still being able to draw easily through the cigar. This is how to do it:
- Position the cigar cutter’s blades about a ¼” from the top of the cigar.
- Quickly snap the cutter blades closed; then, test the draw.
- If the draw is too tight, cut off only about another 1/16” of an inch, and draw again.
- Repeat until the draw is how you like it.
Note that if you cut down too far, you risk the cigar wrapper unraveling. This is why it’s better to start with a small cut, then gradually work your way down.
When it comes to cutting torpedoes and other figurados, it’s important you give them a little extra attention – here are some of our most shared tips on how to cut a torpedo cigar.
More Tips on How to Cut a Cigar
There are several different methods for cutting cigars, and a variety of tools to cut them with. If you want the Advisors’ step-by-step details of the ritual around cutting and lighting a cigar, see Gary’s article here and learn how to do it.
If you want to try another tool besides a guillotine cutter, give the v-cutter some love – and you’ll see how versatile a cigar tool it really is. And if you’re into belicosos, figurados and torpedoes, here’s why it’s worth trying a v-cutter to cut your torpedo cigar.
Now’s also a good time to share some tips on cutting big ring cigars. Because as it turns out, some guillotine cutters won’t fit those 60+ RG cigars in your humidor.
And if you’re really in a bind, stuck without a cutter, but still want to smoke – you can still cut a cigar in a pinch with any of these 3 techniques.