Before you get started with cigar smoking, there are a few accessories that you will need to get your hands on. While it is possible to smoke a cigar without a decent cigar cutter, lighter and humidor, the experience will be inferior, as the lack of quality equipment can damage your cigar and make it taste unsmokeable. We take a look at five must-have accessories for every cigar smoker.
Before you can enjoy a premium cigar, you’ll need to carefully cut off the cap. Having a quality cutter is essential, and using scissors, a knife or your teeth is a big no-no. If the tool you use is too blunt or jagged, it can cause the wrapper to unravel, which can ruin the burn. You have a number of options when it comes to the cutting tool you use: guillotine, punch, v-cutter or cigar scissors.
A guillotine cutter is one of the more common and popular options. As the name suggests, the guillotine cutter comprises of a sharp blade that cuts cleanly across the end of the cigar. Guillotine cutters are also available with two blades, which can offer a cleaner cut, as it slices from both sides simultaneously. Another popular choice is the punch cutter, which is a sharp, circular blade that can be pushed into the cap of the cigar to make an opening. This is often used for larger cigars, as their wider ring gauge may not allow them to fit inside a guillotine cutter.
Similarly, V-cutters will make a v-shaped notch in the end of the cigar. It opens the cigar up a little more than a punch cutter but still allows some cap to be left as protection against direct contact with the burning tobacco. Finally, while normal scissors shouldn’t be used with cigars, special cigar scissors are available with the specific purpose of snipping the end of a cigar. Typically, these will be made from surgical-grade stainless steel to ensure a clean cut.
You can’t smoke a cigar without a little fire! The best type of fire for cigars is by far a butane cigar lighter or torch lighter. When lighting a cigar, you want the entire foot to be evenly lit, without bringing the flame into direct contact. As such, you will want a flame that can be adjusted, but is also hot and steady. While you can light up a cigar with a soft-flame lighter or a match, this can be a little trickier to get exactly right, especially for beginners. For regular cigars, a refillable butane lighter, such as those offered by Xikar, is ideal. However, for cigars with a bigger ring gauge, a torch lighter may be preferred. Torch lighters will also, typically, be wind-proof, making them a great choice for those who have to smoke their cigars outdoors.
While you may wish to attempt to gain a long ash from your whole cigar, that ash will eventually need somewhere to go, and where better than your trusty ashtray! Ashtrays are also very useful as a place to pop your cigar between puffs. Ideally, you should only be puffing on your cigar around once a minute, so when you want to have a sip of your favourite whisky instead, your ashtray will be at hand to keep your cigar safe.
If you leave your cigars unprotected, then they can quickly become dried out or mouldy, depending on the environment in which they have been left. Either way is not ideal and will leave your cigar unsmokeable, or with a bad taste. To properly store your cigars, you will need a well-maintained humidor. In a humidor, you will be able to leave your cigars for years, making it a must-have accessory for those attempting to age their cigar stash.
Humidors are required because tobacco is produced and cigars are made in tropical conditions, with high levels of humidity. So, when cigars are bought into colder and less humid European climes, they are not in the right conditions and end up being ruined. A humidor allows you to store the cigars at the perfect temperature and humidity levels – usually around 70 percent humid.
If you just can’t live without your cigars, or want to enjoy their incredible taste when off on an adventure, then a travel case is definitely an accessory to add to your shopping list. As it’s impractical to take your whole humidor on the road with you, a travel case is a more compact version that will be able to keep your cigars, and your essential accessories, safe for the journey. Many travel cases will come with an inbuilt humidification system, or you can pop in a Boveda humidor control packet, to ensure your cigars are kept in the best possible conditions.
All of these accessories and more can be found online here at Havana House, including products from leading cigar accessory brands such as Xikar, S.T. Dupont, Elie Bleu and Vector.