In order to enjoy cigars, the cap must be cut off to allow air to flow through. Cutting is a personal choice, but the preferred method today is the guillotine cut which removes the cap across the entire top of the cigar. This allows more air to flow and provides the full range of flavor to the smoker. Some smokers, however, use other methods such as a cigar "punch" (also quite popular today), a piercer (less popular) or "V"-cutter, so named for the shape of hole it leaves in the top of the cigar. A few folks, though, still bite off the top of their cigars. Good luck.
Be careful in your choice of cutters, however. Like any knife, sharper is better (and safer). All cutters are not alike, so pick yours carefully; subscribers can check the CigarWire ratings for our picks.
Once cut, you can light up!
Purists will insist on not having the flame actually touch the cigar, whether from a match or a lighter. Some require the more romantic step of using a lit cedar strip (called a "spill") to light their cigars, but this is more prevalent in Europe than in the U.S.
Enthusiasts agree that using paper matches is a bad idea, since they won't stay lit long enough to completely light your cigar. Try wooden matches and let the sulphur burn off of the tip of the match before lighting. If you're using a lighter, butane is the best (odorless and tasteless) and apply it gently just below the end of the cigar. Although elegant lighters from legendary makers as Alfred Dunhill, Davidoff and S.T. Dupont are much prized, the newest development is the so-called "torch" which offers a very hot, windproof flame. Some torch lighters even provide two or three flames, ensuring a quick light and a quick need to re-fill the lighter.
A fast light is not always a good light, however. It is essential to ensure that the entire end of the cigar is lit. This is most effectively done by turning the cigar as you light it, exposing all of the end to the flame. Remember, "Turn and Burn."
Check your light by turning the lit end toward you, blowing gently and checking to see that the entire end is hot. Then enjoy!
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