A Few Little Cigar Tricks

Everybody has their collection of tips and tricks about their livelihoods and/or hobbies. Here are a handful of ideas that may make your enjoyment of cigar smoking a little better.

Lighting for an even burn- Using a wide flame, such as using two matches or a double width soft-flame butane lighter is the best way to get a nice even burn when toasting and lighting a cigar. The problem is using either method outdoors or in the draft of a heating or air conditioning system. Using a double, triple or quadruple torch lighter is a solution, but if you’re really opposed to the much higher combustion temperature of torch flames (double the heat of a soft flame, or more), go with a soft flame butane lighter.

Cutting tricks- Cutting a cigar can be tricky at times, so I’ve included a couple of ideas here that might help.  If you’re relatively new to cigar smoking, Just the Tiplearning how to cut a cigar can be a little dicey. When cutting a parejo (a straight sided cigar with a round or flat head, like a corona, robusto, toro, Churchill, etc.), just take a double guillotine cutter (avoid single guillotines) and open it all the way. Lay it flat on a tabletop and put the head of the cigar into the opening, holding it with a bit of pressure (don’t push down too hard) and close the cutter. This should shave off just the right amount of cap without doing any damage to the wrapper. Another little tip concerns having to deal with a dull cutter. On occasion (especially with cheap double guillotine cutters), you will find that a dull cutter will crush the caps of your cigars. If the circumstance requires you to use a dull cutter, use this old idea that actually works fairly well. If the cigar is cellophaned, cut the cigar while it’s still in the plastic. For some reason, this will allow a dull blade to give a clean cut.

Regarding travel humidors- There are a number of different types of travel humidors, but the most popular ones are the impact-resistant plastic, such as a Herf-a-Dor. These use a recessed silicone seal, so they’re waterproof and will actually float in water if the seals are snapped shut. The problem is that they actually do their job a little too well, so, unless you’re not planning on opening the humidor for a week or so, please don’t add any water to the humidification device. Doing so may over-humidify your stogies and lead Travel Cigar Humidorto a difficult draw and an uneven burn.

A second issue with these kinds of humidors is that they also work too well in another way. If you seal the humidor and put it in your checked luggage for a trip by plane, you may find it nearly impossible to open it upon landing. The super tight seal combined with the pressure gradient in the cargo hold will create a vacuum in the case, requiring a knife to pop the seal. To avoid this problem with a 20 count humidor or smaller, leave one of the two latches unclosed before putting it into your luggage. The larger versions have a screw-on vent that you can release upon landing that will relieve the backpressure and will allow the unit to open easily.

These have been a few thoughts that I figured might be helpful. As I think of more, I’ll pass them on to you.

About Russ

Russ Ouellette is the blender/creator of the Hearth & Home series of tobaccos for www.pipesandcigars.com in Bethlehem, PA. He has been a pipe smoker and blender for over 30 years, and enjoys feedback from the pipe smoking public. You can reach Russ at russo@pipesandcigars.com or by calling 1-800-494-9144.