Q. Can you please tell me how a punch cutter works?
– Kevin C.
A. Punch or “bullet” type cutters are a great alternative to the more traditional double blade guillotine cutter. They take a little more dexterity, but if done right, do a great job. The main difference in the cut is that you’re boring a hole through the center of the cap instead of clipping the cap clean-off. This exposes less tobacco surface on the head, but you get a cleaner cut because the tobacco is recessed below the cut, so there are no frayed ends, etc.
Using a punch cutter is easy. Simply hold the cigar firmly in one hand at the band – usually about an inch below the head. Line-up the circular blade as dead center as you can and push gently through the cap as you twist, then pull out the cutter. The “plug” remains in the cutter, but the better punch cutters have a means for ejecting it.
You can’t use them on Torpedos or other tapered head cigars, nor are they recommended for rings gauges less than 38. But they do a great job on most cigars, particularly large ring-gauge sizes. They’re also good for “short filler” cigars because the recessed cut helps prevent tobacco shreds from getting in your mouth. So, if you’re a neat freak, they’re especially handy. Some models even come with two different size blades to accomodate cigars of varying ring sizes.
Some cigar smokers prefer having more surface area to rest their tongue on while smoking, which makes the guillotine better for them. But it’s good to have an assortment of cutters around anyway.