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Before we dive in…

Let’s talk about a few things before we dive into the different types of cuts. A couple actions I see from cigar smokers I just don’t get. I’ll stop short of calling them pet peeves in this setting. I’ll just leave it as more of a head scratcher.

Licking your cigar

It’s not necessary before you cut your cigar. Plain and simple. Let’s be honest, NOBODY wants to see you do this. I understand for many it might be a habit. Maybe it is even something you have seen others do. The thought behind licking a cigar pre-cut is to make sure that the cap does not crack when you cut it. However, you should not run into this issue if the cigar has been properly humidified and your cutter is not dull. 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.

Cutting your with the cellophane on 

I just don’t get this one for multiple reasons. Not only could you be dulling your cutter blade, but you can’t see the cap line nearly as well. Not to mention you run the risk of putting cellophane into the head of the cigar and eventually into your mouth. To top it all off, the next thing you are going to do is  take the cigar out of the cellophane anyway.

Now let’s get to the fun part! What are the different types of cuts?

Punch Cut

Punch Cut Cigar
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 and opening 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.
Punch Cut Steps
  • Inserting the punch into the center of the cap while giving it a slight twist
  • Remove the punch at a slight angle to extract the round core of the cap.
The main advantage of a punch cut is less filler is exposed This limits the amount of tobacco that can find it’s way into your mouth.


V-Cut Cigar
A v-cut, much like a punch cut, will create a smaller opening in the cap than a traditional straight cut. The cut is also referred to a wedge cut or cat’s eye cut.
V-Cut Steps:
  • 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

Straight Cut

Straight Cut Cigar
A straight, traditional, regular, and guillotine cut are all the same. Making sure that you have a cutter large enough to cut your cigar and is sharp are the important things to watch out for. It is all about technique after that.

How big of a cutter should I have?

Remember that you are only removing part of the cap. This means a cutter that only opens up to a 56 ring gauge will suffice for a cigar up to a 60 ring gauge.
Simple steps:
  • Open your cutter
  • Pass just enough of the cigar through to keep above the cap line
    • You will see this right away if you look at the cigar near the head(the part of the cigar you put you mouth on.). See the horizontal lines? The sole purpose of the cap is the keep the wrapper in place while you smoke your cigar.
  • Firmly close your cutter to cut the cigar one you are satisfied you have the right spot!
Don’t worry if you don’t have it perfect the first time. Don’t overthink it. The more you cut the more natural it gets.
Cut Cigar

My preference is a straight cut at the end of the day. It allows me to fully see the artisanal nuances used to create the handmade cigar. You are experiencing the cigar how the blender envisioned the cigar to taste when it is straight cut.

Try this experiment next time you sit down to enjoy your next cigar. Start by using a punch of a v-cut and smoke it halfway down. Pay attention to the taste, specifically where the cigar is “hitting” your palette. Take a few mental notes and then cut your cigar using a guillotine cut. Do you notice a change in taste? You should notice the cigar flavors hit differently on your palette. There should be a more full bodied smoke and tasting flavors in more regions of your mouth than before. 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 Cigar Headshot

Mike is coming hot off of a decade long run working for the global leader of cigar accessories. “Being offered an opportunity to stay in the cigar industry I love and being able to help Swinny, Ben and the gang at La Cultura is a dream come true.”

Mike also comes in with 6 years of tobacconist experience in a retail establishment, helping cigar enthusiasts and beginners find the right cigar for any occasion.

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