To Cut or Punch Your Cigar

Up until about a week ago I have always cut my cigars. I have used guillotine cutters mainly because I thought that cutting the cigar this way gave a larger hole for the smoke to go through; and it does. But there are problems.

    1. You can cut too much

This has troubled me more with some cigars than others. For a while I smoked almost nothing but Rocky Patel cigars and if you cut those delicious sticks too much the wrapper can start to unravel. It wasn’t a problem with my humidor because other cigars in there didn’t have the same problem. If you cut too much off the wrapper can come off.

    2. The cutter can get dull

Now, I bet this will eventually affect my punch cutter but I don’t think it will happen as quickly. But once the blades on a guillotine cutter get dull it may not cut the whole way through the cigar and end up ripping the wrapper, which is never a good thing.

    3. More moving parts

The more complicated a tool is the more that can go wrong. It also makes the tool more expensive. I know that punch cutters can be expensive but, generally speaking, they aren’t as expensive as their more complicated brethren, the guillotine cutter. More moving parts means more that can go wrong and a higher price tag.

The purpose of this post isn’t to be a diatribe against guillotine cutters – I’m still going to use them. But, until last week, I thought they were the only real way to cut a cigar. I was wrong.

    Punch cutters are easy to use.
    You don’t have to worry about cutting too much off.
    You don’t have to worry about maintenance as much.
    You do get a good opening with your punch cutter.
    You do get enough smoke coming through – if the cigar doesn’t have any technical difficulties.

I may end up using the punch cutter more frequently now. Whenever I do I will make a mention of it on the review. Maybe, after using punches for a while, I’ll get more exposed to the downsides of punch cutters. When that happens I will definitely tell you. Until then, I’m going to punch my cigars more often.

UPDATE: Chief Hava, over at Smoke Signals, has done an extremely great piece on how to cut a cigar. Take a look!

Published by Travis Lindsay

I am a guy who smokes cigars.

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I am inclined to agree, I used to always use my CC Perfect cut cutter, however recently I am loving my punch. In the end I think I will use both of them roughly 50/50. With bigger gauge cigars I do prefer to use the punch though.

  2. Whoever wrote this is an idiot. The title is “To cut or punch”, then it gives no advantages of cutters. The author also doesn’t talk about the drawbacks of a punch, it doesn’t work on certain cigars, like ones that are too thin, ones that are too large, I’ve been told by a tobacconist that a punch is not good for a larger ring gauge cigar and it’s true, and the don’t work on torpedo shaped cigars.

    1. @Peter: Rereading this post for the first time in three years and, yeah, you’re right, it is idiotic.

      Now I primarily use scissors (the Xikar MTX Multi-Tool) and, on occasion, a guillotine cutter. I like the scissors because they provide better visibility and more control over what is cut.

      If you are a new smoker I would suggest one of the guillotine cutters with a back to it, which makes it “idiot proof.” With the back you just put the head of the cigar into the cutter until it hits the backing and then in a smooth, quick motion you can take the right amount of the cap off.

      And Peter, you are right, the punch has many drawbacks. However, I have heard about others using a punch with a torpedo. It seems weird but from what I recall a guy basically excised a clean hole through the head of a torpedo. There’s no way I would recommend doing something like this because it seems like it would take a long time and I don’t think the draw would be all that good but, in theory, you can use a punch on a torpedo.

      Thanks for stopping by and if you read some of my other posts I hope you will come to the conclusions that I’m not an idiot.