Just as water seeks its own level, so do cigar smokers. We try all kinds of different cigar brands, strengths, sizes and shapes; cutters, lighters, humidifiers, etc., and eventually find our comfort zone.
As far as lighters are concerned, most cigar smokers prefer the torch, or “jet flames.” Torch lighters can vary from one jet to as many as five jet flames. For the purposes of this post, we’ll concentrate on multi-jet lighters.
I was at an outdoor party recently, and one of the guests, who is also a good friend, saw me lighting a 50+ ring cigar with a single flame torch lighter. He looked at me and said, “I’m surprised to see you using a single flame torch on that cigar.”
“Why?” I asked.
“I figured with all your experience, you’d be using a multi-jet lighter.”
In a way, he was right. A double or triple jet would have been better, but it just so happens, the only lighter I had on me was the backup I keep in my car.
So, is there a “when” and a “why” when it comes to using different jet-flame lighters? Perhaps, so let’s start with the when:
The double jet torch is perhaps the most versatile lighter since it provides plenty of flame to easily light cigars ranging from a 32- ring Garcia y Vega to a 50-ring Romeo. It can also be effective on larger ring cigars, but once you get into the 54 to 60-ring cigars a triple jet may be more in order.
Coincidentally, the past year saw several manufacturers release cigars that go far beyond a 60 ring. Take, for example, the INCH by E.P. Carrillo “No.64″– literally one inch in diameter; the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especiale “Gordo” at 66, the La Floridita LE “Gordo” at 68, or the 601 La Bomba “F-Bomb” at a colossal 70 ring, and even more 70’s from other brands are on the way!
For cigars in the 60 to 64 ring sizes, a four jet torch is ideal, but beyond that you may want to go with a five jet lighter, though many of them are of the tabletop variety.
Here’s the why. The more surface area the foot of the cigar has, the more flame you need to toast and light it evenly. Well, you don’t really need it; it can be done with a single torch, but it will take a lot longer to toast, and you may need to hit the foot several more times to get it fully lit, which can be frustrating.
Suffice it to say, there are no hard and fast rules for what lighter to use on a given cigar. However, just as it helps to have a cigar for different occasions, it may help to have a lighter for different cigars.