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Back to Basics - How to CUT your cigar

How to Cut your Cigar to enhance your smoking experience.

Editors Note: Gary Laden is one of the hosts of Cigarguys Radio Show. See the bio at the end of the article for more info!

cap illustration gto cigarDuring our two hour, live cigar lifestyle radio show in Atlanta, we often field calls from both novice and experienced cigar smokers regarding the best way to cut their cigars. The next time you frequent your favorite cigar shop or lounge, gaze into the ashtray and look at the finished cigars. You'll be shocked to observe just how many cigars were cut improperly, and the consequences of doing so. The cutting of your cigar sets the tone of your cigar smoke experience.


We would like to offer you some guidance regarding the proper cutting instrument options and cutting techniques for your cigar. It is important that you begin the cigar smoking process by obtaining a sharp, quality cutting instrument to insure a clean, precise cut. A poor quality cutting instrument can set the tone for a less enjoyable cigar smoking experience by yielding a jagged or crushing cut. One should never bite the closed end of the cigar (referred to as the head of the cigar) with your teeth. This may result in loose tobacco particles ending up in your mouth, and it also increases the risk of the cigar wrapper unraveling. A quality cigar shop will offer a variety of cigar cutting instrument options that are sure to suit the needs of the most discriminating cigar connoisseur. There are a host of excellent cigar cutting instruments available. Some recommendations to consider are Xikar, Davidoff and Colibri.

The closed end of the cigar is referred to as the head. The head is covered by a cap (see image at right), cap-line-gtowhich comprises a circular or pointed piece of the wrapper tobacco (depending on which style of cigar you are smoking - parejo [straight sided cigar with round head] or figurado [torpedo or other shaped cigar with a pointed head]). The cap is the part of the finished cigar that helps keep the wrapper from unraveling. You will notice a fine line (refer to the arrows in the image at left) indicating where the cap is affixed to the cigar (typically referred to as the cap line) with vegetable glue. The junction of the cap line and main body of the cigar is referred to as the shoulder area of the cigar. Many novices believe that the cap line is the area at which the cigar should be cut. Unfortunately, this is not the optimal location on the head of the cigar to remove the cap of a premium cigar in preparation for lighting it.

In actuality, one should make the cut between the closed end of the cigar cap and the cap line (see image below) to obtain the ideal cut for properly removing the cap from the head of the cigar. If executed properly, this will create the 'perfect cigar cut', and allow for a better draw of the cigar smoke as well as preventing unraveling of the wrapper (this can occur if you cut too much of the cap).

gto-improper-cut gto-proper-cut
Cut too deep - improper cut Shallow sharp cut - proper cut

A sharp and precise cut will also lessen the likelihood of the binder and filler tobacco crumbling, or of the cigar wrapper unraveling. This can be easily accomplished with the guillotine cigar cutters or cigar scissors. If the draw of the cigar is too tight and you are not getting a mouth full of smoke, you might want to consider clipping a tiny bit more off the cap to improve the draw. Of course, if you are using a punch or V-cut, you do not need to worry about cutting the cap, as these devices avoid cutting a good portion of the cigar cap and only remove a small portion of the actual cap .

For more information about cutting cigars, V-Cuts, and Punch Cuts, please join and visit forums.cigarweekly.com!  A wealth of information awaits!


Gary Laden is an Atlanta resident and co-host of the Cigar Guys Radio Show, airing Sundays from 11 AM – 1 PM EDT. The show is also available live via simulcast on your favorite radio app on your smart devices, and via the website at Cigarguysradioshow.com. Follow cigarweekly.com on twitter @cigarweekly and cigarguysradioshow @