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A tobacconist perspective

As a tobacconist I have been asked more times then I count, “What type of cutter should I use to cut my cigar?”  While I have my own experience with each type of traditional cigar cutter, it really boils down to a personal preference.

A little housekeeping before you
cut your cigar…..

Before we get into the different types of cuts, a couple things I see that I just don’t get. I’ll stop short of calling them pet peeves in this setting, and just leave it as a head scratcher.

Licking a cigar before you cut it is unnecessary, and I’ll go ahead and say it, NOBODY wants to see you do this. Granted more times then not, it is just a habit. The thought behind licking a cigar pre-cut is to make sure that the cap does not crack when you cut it. However, if the cigar has been properly humidified and your cutter is not dull, you should not run into this issue. I’ll let anyone use my cutter, but if I see you lick your cigar first, sorry you’re going to have to find your own to use.

Not removing the cigar from the cellophane first. I don’t get this one. You could be dulling the cutter. You can’t see the cap line nearly as well, and you run the risk of putting cellophane into the head of the cigar and then into your mouth. To top it all off, the next thing you are going to do is probably take the cigar out of the cellophane anyway.

Punch Cut

A punch cut or hole cut will produce a small hole in the cap of the cigar.  Think of how a biscuit cutter works. These range from 7mm to 12mm in size, some cutters will even have multiple sizes. The trick is to find the size that works best for the size of cigar you normally enjoy and the size of opening that you enjoy. A good rule of thumb is 7mm for 50 ring gauge and below. 9mm for 52-58, and 11mm+ for 60 ring gauge and above. The punch cut works by inserting the punch into the center of the cap, giving it a slight twist, and removing the punch at a slight angle to extract the core of the cap out of the cigar. One of the advantages of a punch cut is that less of the filler is exposed, limiting the amount of tobacco that can find it’s way into your mouth.


A V-Cut, much like a punch cut will create a smaller opening in the cap then a traditional straight cut. The cut is also referred to a wedge cut or cat’s eye cut. To use a V-Cutter open the cutter to reveal a bowl in the cutter, place the cigar cap into the opening, perpendicular to the cutter. Firmly squeeze the cutter shut while gently pressing the cigar into the cutter. The two styles of V-Cut to watch out for are a traditional V-Cut that comes to a point and begins to cut the cigar once you close the cutter.  What I look for  is an inverted V-Cut, which as the name implies has the two sides open of the V and beings to slice the cigar while stabilizing it at the same time.

Straight Cut

A Straight cut, a traditional cut, a regular cut, a guillotine cut they are all the same. Making sure that you have a cutter big enough to cut your cigar and is sharp are the biggest things to watch out for. After that it is all about technique. Concerning a big enough cutter, remember that you are only removing part of the cap. Meaning that even a cutter that only opens up to a 56 ring gauge will suffice for a cigar up to a 60 ring gauge. Opening the cutter, pass just enough of the cigar to keep up above cap line, which you will see when you look at the cigar near the head (the part of the cigar that you put into your mouth) you will see horizontal lines. The sole purpose of the cap is to keep the wrapper in place while you smoke the cigar. Once you are satisfied you have the right spot, firmly close your cutter to make the cut.

At the end of the day, my preference is a straight cut. It allows to fully see the artisanal work that was used to create the cigar that you are enjoying.  In addition, you are experiencing the cigar how the blender envisioned the cigar to taste. Next time you punch or v cut a cigar, smoke it halfway, and pay attention to your taste buds, as in where the cigar is “hitting” in your mouth. Using a guillotine cut, cut the cigar as you normally would, then see where the cigar hits your taste buds. You will notice a more full bodied smoke and more regions of your tongue being hit. You will then see what you have been missing in your favorite cigar.

Stay smokey, my friends. Feel free to ask any of the skilled tobacconists at La Cultura Cigar & Social any questions concerning your next cigar experience, including any questions on our variety of accessories.

~Welcome to the culture

Mike Stous
Chief Operating Officer

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