Cigar 101

How To Cut a Cigar Just Like The Experts

How To Cut A Cigar

Smoking a cigar is relaxing and luxurious. There are many cigar sizes, types, flavors, and wrappers that need a specific cutter or cutting method. You can pair your favorite stick with a glass of neat whiskey on the rocks, chilled wine, a cold beer, or any drink you like. If you are not an experienced smoker, cutting a cigar, especially your first, could turn out hectic or embarrassing.

Besides, knowing how to cut a cigar perfectly gives you bragging rights, and you can enjoy the experience without any hassle. We can all agree that even if the cigar is of excellent quality, how you cut it affects how pleasurable smoking will be.

When a cigar is new, the foot is open side and the cap is the closed side. The cap goes to your mouth, and you light up the foot. This guide aims at a step by step process on how to cut a cigar, what to use, and the various types of cutters that are commonly used.

How to Cut a Cigar: Step-by-Step

There are many ways to do this, and what matters are the tools you have on hand and what you prefer. Your cutter is the primary tool for this process. If you do not have a cigar cutter, you can use a knife, a razor blade, scissors, a pointed object, your fingernails, or your teeth. Keep in mind, however, that you should really only use the alternatives if you’re in a pinch.

Typical Cigar Cutting Fashion

Best Cigar Cutter

The most common way to cut your cigar is by using a cutter; use whatever type of cutter you prefer. When you look closely, you’ll see there are seams at the head of your cigar. This cap is made up of the wrapper leaf, and the aim is to remove it and leave a strip of the flag leaf used to wrap it.

Start by moistening this part to prepare for cutting. Put the head of your stogie between your lips, but be sure that you don’t actually lick the cigar.

This style gives your tongue the fresh feel of the wrapper before you start smoking. Now, the cap is ready to be removed. For a straight cut, you need to be precise and fast. A minor miscalculation can severely mess up your cigar, and in some cases ruin it.

Hold your stick close to the cap for a reinforced and stable grip. It is up to you to decide how far to cut between the leaf and tip of the head. However, make sure that you don’t cut too much of the cap off. Removing too much will result in the cigar unwrapping.

Cutting a Rounded Cigar (Parejo)

While firmly holding your cigar, carefully place the cutter at the area you want to remove. Typically, you only need to cut about 1/16 of an inch, but that will vary on personal preference.

Very cautiously, bring the blades close to the area where the cut will be. Next, in a conclusive, speedy, fluid motion, chop off the cap by closing the blade. Using a cutter gets easier with time and experience since it all comes down to your hand control.

If you’re finding it challenging to master a precise cut, place your cutter on a table, and slide in the cigar. This will give you the best angle to see the cap and may make the process a bit easier.

Cutting a Pointed Cigar (Figurado)

Cutting A Cigar

These cigars have tips that are pointed out. The different types have different tips, and there is no specific rule as to how much you should cut off the head.

Furthermore, you can pick between straight and angled cut for Figurados. A famous example is the Torpedo cigar. They are more advantageous if you need to test the draw after every cut. If you slit diagonally, though, you can only cut once as to avoid damage.

Hold the cigar the same way you would a straight one. Moisten the head, and upon establishing the area you want to cut, place the cutter a bit closer to the tip than the first area.

Slowly slide the cutting tool to the exact area and move the blade closer to the cigar. After confirming you have a tight grip on the cigar and cutter, bring the blades together at once, without hesitation. Use your mouth to check if the draw is too tight. If it is, make another cut a tad higher.

To recap, you need to follow three significant rules:

  1. Find the cap
  2. Position your blades
  3. Cut rapidly and precisely

Regardless of how you decide to cut, it’s important to realize that the quality of your cigar is also important. Therefore, try your best to have quality cigars for an enjoyable smoke session. Always remember to brush off any dust after cutting as well, whether it’s pointed or straight.

What If You Don’t Have A Cigar Cutter?

Now that you can cut a cigar perfectly, awesome! But what if you’re out and you don’t have a cutter on hand? How will you need to satisfy your urge to light up a nice cigar?

Nobody is to blame if you forgot your cutter. It happens to everyone at one point or another! That’s why cigar smokers everywhere use non-traditional methods and cutting tools when the need arises. Here’s how to cut a cigar without a cutter in three different ways.

Cut a Cigar With a Knife

If you need to cut a cigar but have no cutter on hand, using a knife is always an option. A pocket knife is a tool most people own, making it a convenient option. The results might be a bit rough, and the cut may not be as perfect, but it does the trick.

How To Cut A Cigar With A Knife

To begin, sharpen the blade if it’s dull. The first way to cut off the cap is by applying the same technique as your typical cutter. Rest your cigar on a surface and hold it there tightly and firmly. This keeps it from wiggling, tearing off, or rolling as you cut. Making the wrong cut messes up the airflow.


The other way is by using your knife like a punch or bullet cutter. If you’re not sure that the first way will work without ruining the wrapper, cut a small hole at the cap for airflow.

One cut is not enough, so you will have to make multiple small ones until air is flowing correctly. Note that circular holes/cuts are not as effective here. The cuts should be shaped like a star.

Cut a Cigar With Scissors

To use scissors the right way to accomplish the task of cutting a cigar, hold the cigar halfway, and place the pair of scissors at the cap.

At this point, ensure the scissors are being held to the cap firmly. This will help to avoid tears and unwrapping. Lastly, using just enough pressure, cut off the cap. There are also cigar scissors that are manufactured for a cigar’s shape and are much better suited for this task than typical house scissors.

Cutting Your Cigar With Your Nails

You have a high-end cigar, but no cutter or sharp object. However, you have to smoke as you don’t want the cigar to go to waste. What do you do?

Though it’s not recommended unless you have no other options, you can use your fingernails to remove part of the wrapper and form a smack bulge.

Clean up the end once you’ve removed enough of the wrapper, and you’re all done. Long nails work better than short ones, and be careful not to ruin your cigar by accidentally destroying the wrapper.

Cutting Your Cigar With Your Teeth

Despite this technique sounding strange and dangerous (for the cigar), it’s one that requires no tools and works if your fingernails are too short.

First, get your fingertip wet and use it to wet the wrapper at the cap. This makes it easier for your upper and lower teeth to rip off the cap. Alternatively, use a pen or pencil to make a small hole at the cap before using your teeth.

Since your teeth are, obviously, not made to do this, it’s common to have tobacco particles in your mouth. Additionally, the process, if not done correctly, could spoil the whole cigar.

This is a method that should only be used if you have no other options.

Common Types Of Cutters

Types Of Cigar Cuts

In the current market, there are tons of manufacturers that claim to have the best cigar cutter. Plus, there are many different types that work a little different than the last and greatly open up your options. The most famous and conventional cutter is the guillotine cutter. They can be double or single-bladed and is probably the easiest to use.

However, if you are looking for a readily accessible option, a bullet cutter is a great option. It works by creating a small hole in your cigar’s cap. The punch cutter then cuts off the cap and leaves you with a fantastic cigar to smoke. Many cigar lighters come with one of these built in.

The single blade cutter can cut up to fifty-four rings. For this type, place your cigar far from the blade. These types of cutters are usually pretty cheap and they cut the cap quickly. Ensure the hand you use to hold the cigar has a strong grip in order to get a clean cut.

On the other hand, the double blade cutter has two blades to prevent the wrapper from tearing. Using this cutter is common for Torpedo cigars that have a Figurado shape.

There are V cutters that introduce a wedge design. They’re suitable for smooth airflow while smoking. However, it’s important to note that it’s quite tricky to sharpen the blades on this type of cutter. If they’re dull, your cigar might unwrap, ruining your smoke.

Finally, shuriken cutters are shaped like capsules and have six blades. They’re suitable for short filler cigars. These blades cut by making slits, and the sharper they are, the more effective they get.

Wrapping It Up

You should always have your cutter in your pocket, bag, or cigar box if you plan to have a smoke that day. Investing in the proper tools eases cigar smoking, especially for those new to the lifestyle.

It’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to cutting cigars, the types of cutters, and tobacco in general, everything comes down to your personal preferences. All of these (traditional) methods work amazing, so pick one or two to try out, make the perfect cut, and enjoy your cigar.

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