Lotus 47 Intrepid Cigar Lighter Review

September 24, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Accessories · Comment 

Ah, the cigar lighter. It’s so important and getting a good one has frequently been a pain for me. Yeah, most work for a while but then they crap out. Or, almost more infuriatingly, they no longer work up to expectations; the flame(s) don’t get as strong, it takes multiple ignitions to finally light, the flame goes out with a gust from a fart, or many other disfunctionalities. Then I try to fix the lighter and all I end up doing is wasting an hour of my time.

When I purchased the Lotus 47 Intrepid in red I wasn’t expecting much. It looked cool, which was enough for me, and it didn’t cost much as I purchased it for around $40.00. Now onto what you get with this cigar lighter.

Lotus 47 Intrepid Red Cigar Lighter

The Lotus 47 Intrepid (Red) looks good and works well too! (Click on picture to go to the Amazon page)

Lighter Specs

First off, I like the art deco (It is art deco, right?) styling. The straight lines, the polished metal and the clean look all worked with my personal aesthetic. There’s a flip open hole punch on the bottom that I have never used but, after cutting my finger on it, I’m pretty sure would work well. The flame adjusting dial is simple to use: it’s on the bottom, you can get to it without opening up the flip down hole punch and you can easily adjust it with a finger nail, which is nice.

The butane refill thingy is also on the bottom and accessible without opening anything. As for the tank in this lighter, it’s pretty big for the size of this lighter. I have my lighter set so that it’s about two-thirds above the lowest setting (that’s a third below the highest setting for those of you who are bad at math) and I can comfortably light (and apply any needed burn corrections) to approximately ten cigars. That should be more than enough for any herf you go to.

Onto the lighting mechanism: it’s interesting. Upon first inspection you can’t really see how you would light this thing. You’ll probably turn it around 360 along both the x- and y-axises and still be mystified. Eventually, you’ll figure out that the top part of the lighter is not only the flame cover-thingy but also the ignition switch.

If you’ll be kind enough to look up at the picture you’ll notice that on the right side of the top part of the lighter, which I should note has a carbon fiber-looking top (I doubt it’s carbon fiber though), curves down a bit. Why? That curve allows you to depress the top part and light the dual flames all at the same time.

Once it is lit you will see two torch flames angled so that the tip of the two flames combine into one point (it’s actually pretty close to a single point). Not really one of those Captain Planet “let our powers combine!” kind of thing but it works well all the same. And you will be able to see how much fuel you are consuming by the fuel window pane on the back middle-bottom of the lighter.

Lighter Review

I’ve had this lighter for over six months at this point and for about $40 I would have been happy if this lighter only lasted for six months. Fortunately, there haven’t been any signs that this thing is going to die any time soon. First, the bad.

The ignition switch can be a bit finicky. If you flip (depress) the switch too quickly the flames frequently won’t ignite. For mine at least, if you take it a bit slowly it ignites first time every time.

On the fatter side of the top portion of the lighter there is a portion of the polished metal that is beginning to come off. It’s not easily noticeable and if not for my in depth inspection of this lighter in preparation for this review I probably wouldn’t have noticed it for a while yet. Encompassing perhaps 15% of that small little rectangular portion on the top part of the lighter’s side, it isn’t much of a problem, pretty much just aesthetic at this point, but I’m assuming it will grow over time and chagrin me a little bit at a time.

Due to the finish of the coating I make sure to keep the lighter in a little leather pouch when I carry the lighter around. Maybe this is an unnecessary precaution but, honestly, it would probably get dinged up pretty badly sharing space in my pocket with my keys or cigar cutter. But, since we are being honest, I would think that just about any cigar lighter with a polished finish would get dinged up in a similar environment.

There are a number of good things about this lighter. It’s dependable. To reiterate a point I made earlier, I’ve had this lighter for half a year and I don’t see any signs that it’s performance is in any way deteriorating.

It may take a slight amount of finagling but you will quickly (and easily) find the appropriate level to adjust the flame height to. Also, after getting to know the lighter a little you will quickly figure out how to ignite the dual flames and it will light pretty much every time (as long as you don’t try to set the record for cigar lighter ignition time).

The two flames are great. Terminating in a single point, the flames get pretty hot, have remained the same length since the first time I lit this lighter and the flames stay lit until you let the top return to its closed position.

Also, the look is something that I like. It’s a straightforward design that comes in red (my favorite color and has absolutely nothing to do with this review, I thought I’d just share that little tidbit), black, orange/black and gunmetal. All but the orange/black versions come with polished metal identical to the picture above. In the orange/black version the black part is the where the polished metal part is for the other versions.

Bleading and refueling this lighter is a very simple thing to do and the fuel consumption for this lighter is, in my experience, top notch. The fuel tank is large for the size of the lighter and I can comfortably light around 10 cigars; to be safe, I’ll say seven to ten cigars per fueling with the flame height set to two thirds of max.

Because the top moonlights as the ignition switch and it is fairly close to the flames when lit I was initially operating under the assumption that there would be some kind of carbon buildup on the outside of the lighter lid. Unfortunately, I was right. Fortunately, it cleaned off with little effort.

Verdict

I definitely recommend the Lotus 47 Intrepid cigar lighter. It has lasted for a good amount of time already and shows no signs of letting up any time soon. While the ignition switch requires some time getting used to and the ignition itself requires a modicum of finesse, the learning curve is very shallow. If you like the way it looks and you are looking for a reasonably priced cigar lighter that is reliable then this is a very good option for you.

Cigar Humidification Tip #1

March 30, 2011 · Posted in Cigar 101, Cigar Accessories, Humidors · 4 Comments 

The other night one of the gentlemen I was smoking cigars with asked me what he should do about this (Cuban) Cohiba he had. To my horror, the Cohiba has not been properly humidified in a couple of months. This, I told him, was a problem and it is a problem for many people who smoke cigars infrequently. Letting a cigar dry out leads to cracking of the leaves, the cigar smoking too quick, harsh flavors and an overall bad experience.

For his case, which is that he has this one cigar and it needs some TLC, I told him to:

  • Get a plastic sandwich bag (i.e. Ziploc)
  • Put the cigar in the bag
  • Put a Boveda Humidification pack with 69% relative humidity (RH) in bag with cigar because it is foolproof – it keeps the environment at that humidity level for as long as it still has juice left
  • Close bag and let rest for a month in a place that doesn’t have wild swings in temperature (like a desk drawer or in a closet – someplace safe) and it’s best to find a place that is around 70°F
  • Every few days check to see if the Boveda pack is completely spent (if you touch it and it’s hard then it’s no longer providing any humidity) and if it is spent put a fresh pack in the plastic bag
  • After a couple months of doing this the cigar should hopefully be ready to smoke again – feel the cigar to determine if it’s good to go; if it no longer feels dry to the touch and you cannot hear the tobacco leaves cracking when you roll the cigar with your fingers then it’s good to go

Is this the right advice? Should I have told him to start out with a Boveda pack that maintains a 65% humidity level and then go up to the one with the 69% humidity level as a way to ease the cigar back to health? Is there a better way to do this?

Obviously, my solution isn’t all that elegant but I think it should get the job done and the cigar will be saved.

My Humidor

March 25, 2010 · Posted in Featured, Humidors · 13 Comments 

Back during those halcyon days when I first took up cigar smoking as a serious endeavor I did not put too much energy into figuring out how I was going to store my extra stogies. And, in truth, there wasn’t much of a need for an elaborate humidor since I didn’t keep many cigars on hand.

Pompeii Humidor Pompeii Humidor Opened

Inevitably, my stock of cigars grew. A few years ago I purchased my first honest-to-goodness humidor. It was a cheap thing though, something that is really only good for protecting remote controls from the basic instincts of the adolescent Labrador. Fortunately that is the only function I can find for that humidor nowadays.

After a couple of months trying to regulate the humidity level in a substandard humidor I decided to bite the bullet and buy a cigar humidor; not a remote control humidor or an extraneous junk humidor, but a cigar humidor.

Setting out on the task of purchasing my first big guy humidor I had a couple of needs to fill.

  1. Storage Space: It had to be be big enough to hold about 100 cigars. This is enough to get me through a month with a couple of sticks to spare.
  2. Aesthetics: Pleasing to the eyes but not garish. Ideally, the humidor would have an elegantly simple design to it.
  3. Dividers: This could be in the form of a tray or one of those pressure fitting dividers or, ideally, both.
  4. Safety: Mainly to keep the prying hands of my young cousins out of my humidor.

I also thought it would be nice (and look good) if the lid was partially made out of glass. This way I could peek into my humidor without having to open it and disrupt the climate.

During my search I happened upon a number of stylish humidors but there was just something wrong with each of them. The color may have been a little light, no glass top, no shelf, or, what was really a sticking point for me, those humidors were just too expensive. Then I happened upon a great looking humidor with a fair price: the Pompeii Humidor at Famous Smoke, which you can see on the left side of this post.

As you can see it is a beautiful cigar humidor. It has a hygrometer installed in the front, a lock (with a tassel no less!), a tray and a divider. Plus it holds up to 100 cigars. Personally, I put my important (read: expensive) cigars on the tray so that whenever I peer through the glass I get excited about smoking another cigar.

I have had this cigar humidor for a while now and I have no complaints. It’s perfect for where I am at in my cigar smoking career and it is also a pretty good conversation piece. Even when the situation necessitates the purchase of another, much larger, humidor I will always have a place for this one.

Well, there you have it. You now know which humidor I use how about telling us which humidor you use.