If you’ve smoked a cigar before, then the answer to the question “why does a cigar have to be cut?” will probably seem quite obvious.
The short answer is – almost all cigars now feature a cap at the head of the cigar. The cap needs to be cut so that you can draw through the cigar to smoke.
But why do cigars have caps in the first place? Here, we take a look at the benefits of this cigar feature!
Why Do Cigars Have Caps?
One of the main reasons cigars have caps is to reduce the risk of the cigar unravelling. A premium cigar is made of tobacco leaves that are concertinaed together (the filler), concealed in a binder layer and then tightly wrapped by hand using a wrapper leaf to create the cigar shape.
This is a fiddly and skilful process, and the cap helps to hold it all in place once the cigar has been rolled.
When you cut the cap of your cigar, you need to be careful. If you cut too far, there is the possibility that it can cause your cigar to begin unravelling. Only a small amount of the cap needs to be removed.
If you are worried about slicing away too much of the cap with a guillotine cigar cutter, then you can always try a v-cutter or cigar punch, as this makes a small gouge in the top of the cigar rather than slicing away lots of the wrapper.
Some cigar lovers will also simply tell you that a cigar with a cap just looks better!
Why Don’t Cigars Come With Pre-Cut Caps?
As you need to cut the cap a little to smoke it, some of you may wonder why the cigar manufacturers don’t just pre-cut the caps for us. There are a couple of different reasons for this.
Having a pre-cut cap might make things easier if you are a novice smoker who is not yet confident with cutting cigars, but for the majority of cigar smokers, removing the cap is a very personal experience.
Each cigar smoker has their own preference when it comes to how a cigar is cut – there wouldn’t be a variety of different cigar cutting accessories if everyone did it the same!
Some like to cut straight across the top with a guillotine cutter; others like to make a hole in the top with a punch or cut out a v-shaped dent with a v-cutter.
And while we wouldn’t recommend it, some cigar smokers take matters into their own hands. Instead of using a cigar cutter, Winston Churchill would moisten the end of his cigar and then use an extra-long match to poke a hole through it!
Adapting Your Cut to the Draw
As each type of cigar will use different tobacco, rolling methods and sizes, the draw you experience through each cigar will also vary. The draw refers to how easily you can suck the smoke from one end of the cigar to the other. You can test it before it is lit by blowing through the cigar.
If the cap is cut too large, it can make the draw too loose, and the cigar will burn too fast or unevenly. It is likely to cause unpleasant tastes in the cigar.
Conversely, if the cigar was cut too small, it will have a tight draw. This makes smoking feel like a chore, and the cigar will burn hot with none of the delicious flavours and aromas developing properly.
By cutting the cigar yourself, you have more control over customising the cut to the cigar’s needs. Start by removing only a small piece of cap and test the draw. You can then remove more if you need to.
Here at Havana House, we have a wide range of cigar accessories to choose from to get the perfect cut on your cigar!