How to Cut Cigars: A Comprehensive Guide to Perfect Cigar Cutting Techniques

Understand how to cut cigars by holding a cigar on one hand while another hand uses a punch cutter to create a circular hole at the end of the cigar.

Hey everyone! I'm Jack Cullum, here to guide you through the essential skill of cigar cutting. 

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With the luxury cigar market booming, it's not just about choosing the right cigar; knowing how to cut it correctly is crucial for the best smoking experience.

Let's master this skill to enhance flavor and aroma!

Overview - Cigar Cutting

To get started, you'll need a quality cigar cutter, which can come in many different forms, including guillotine cutters, v cutters, punch cutters, and straight cutters.

Each type of cigar cutter has its pros and cons, so it's important to experiment with different cutting tools to find the one that suits your personal preference best.

When it comes to choosing a cutter, look for one with sharp blades that can cleanly cut through the cigar wrapper and tobacco.

Stainless steel blades are ideal for a clean cut, and a double-blade cutter can provide a smooth opening for your cigar.

You can also use a pocket knife or even regular scissors in a pinch, but it's important to use a sharp blade to avoid crushing or tearing the cigar.

Once you've selected your cutting tool, it's time to cut the cigar.

The goal is to make a clean cut at the cap end of the cigar, which is the part that goes into your mouth.

Cutting too much off the cap can cause the cigar to unravel while cutting too little can result in a poor draw and a cigar that burns hotter than it should.

It's also important to avoid cutting into the cigar wrapper, which is the thin layer of tobacco that holds the cigar together.

There are several cutting techniques to choose from, including the straight cut, the wedge cut, and the punch cut.

How to Cut Cigars Without a Cutter

A person using their thumbnail to create a small notch in the end of a cigar before tearing off the excess tobacco.

Cigar enthusiasts know that one of the most important aspects of enjoying a cigar is cutting it properly.

However, what do you do when you're caught without a cigar cutter?

It's a common dilemma that many cigar smokers face, but luckily, there are several ways to cut a cigar without a cutter.

In this post, we'll explore some of the most popular methods, and provide some helpful tips and tricks to get you on your way to enjoying your cigar.

The first and most readily available option is to use your thumbnail.

Simply loosen a section of the cap with your nail and continue around its circumference until it peels off.

Be sure to stay above the cap line when making the initial incision with your nail to get a cleaner, sharper cut.

The best part about this method is that it's efficient and requires no additional tools.

Another option is to use a sharp blade like a pocket knife.

Gently spin the head of your cigar against the blade with a touch of pressure, and position the blade above the cap line.

Don't cut too deep, or you risk damaging the cigar's construction and draw.

If you're hesitant to use a knife, you can also try a wooden matchstick, toothpick, or paperclip to poke a hole in the cap.

Just make sure to insert the sharp end gently to avoid cracking the wrapper or causing the end to unravel.

If you're in a real pinch and don't have any tools available, you can always bite the cap off.

Bite down slightly on the cap to separate part of it from the cigar, and then peel off the rest with your fingertips.

Try not to salivate too much, or the head of the cigar can end up looking like a mess.

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How to V-Cut a Cigar

A side-view of a cigar with a V-cut at the end, showing the shape of the notch and the exposed tobacco inside.

First, you’ll need a V-Cutter. As the name suggests, this cutter creates a V-shaped slice on the top of the cigar.

The purpose of this is to create better airflow for a better smoking experience.

While V-Cut cigars were originally designed to cut pyramid-shaped cigars, they are now used on Toros, Robustos, and Corona-shaped cigars.

To cut your cigar, simply place the top of the cigar, or the cap, into the V-Cutter and ensure it’s snug.

Clamp the cigar cutter down on the cigar to cut it, using a little bit of muscle depending on the size of the cap.

Once you’ve cut the cigar, release the blade from the cigar and examine your work.

The V-Cut cutter is unique in that it cuts the deepest out of the three popular cigar cutters, on average cutting off an eighth of an inch.

However, it’s important to make sure the cap and wrapper aren’t damaged during the cutting process.

You don’t want to clamp down too roughly and ruin your smoking experience before you even light the cigar.

When I was a new cigar smoker looking for premium cigars, I used a straight cut with a back to it, as it gave me the “perfect cut”.

Most people lay Guillotine and V-Cutter on a flat surface to ensure the same result, but if you’re comfortable with your ability to cut a cigar without using a surface, go for it!

I’ve found it almost impossible to mess up a V-Cut.

Different cutting styles will provide different smoking experiences, so I suggest trying them all to see what you prefer.

But if you’re looking for a unique and deep cut that allows for better airflow, try the V-Cut.

How to Cut a Cigar with a Knife

A hand holding a sharp knife next to a cigar, ready to make a cut at the end.

If you find yourself without a cigar cutter, a knife can be an improvised tool for cutting cigars from the best brands.

Use the sharp blade of the knife to make a crude cut at the cigar head, taking care not to cut too deep and ruin the handmade cigar.

However, this method can be imprecise, and you may risk damaging the wrapper or the cigar's construction.

It's always better to use a proper cigar cutter, but in a pinch, a knife can work as an emergency substitute.

How to Cut a Cigar with Scissors

A pair of scissor poised to make a cut at the end of a cigar held steady in the other hand.

Cutting a cigar with cigar scissors is considered the most elegant method, but it also takes a bit of practice to master.

To start, place your thumb in the circular hole on one scissor arm and your index, middle, and ring fingers in the large and curved opening on the other.

Next, open the jaws of the scissors, place them at a slight angle to the cigar head, and slowly close the jaws, bringing the cutter perpendicular to the top of the cigar as they close.

This will result in a clean, impressive cut.

While cigar scissors may take more practice to master than other cutters, practice makes perfect, and the elegance of a well-executed scissor cut is worth the effort.

Can You Cut a Cigar and Smoke It Later?

A close-up of a cigar being smoked, with smoke emanating from the lit end.

It is possible to cut a cigar and smoke it later, but it's not recommended.

Once you cut a cigar, the clock is ticking, and the oils in the tobacco begin to evaporate.

These oils are what give the cigar its flavor and aroma, so once they're gone, the smoking experience won't be as enjoyable.

If you absolutely must cut a cigar and smoke it later, there are a few things you can do to prolong the life of the cigar.

First, make sure to store it in a properly humidified environment, such as a humidor.

This will help prevent the tobacco from drying out and losing its oils.

Secondly, try to minimize the amount of time between cutting the cigar and smoking it.

The longer the cigar sits after being cut, the more oil it will lose.

Finally, consider using a punch cut rather than a straight cut.

A cigar punch cut creates a small hole in the cap of the cigar, which minimizes the amount of air that comes in contact with the tobacco.

This can help slow the evaporation process and prolong the life of the cigar.

How to Punch Cut a Cigar

A close-up of a cigar with a circular notch cut at the end using a punch cutter, revealing the tobacco inside.

To use a punch cutter, select the desired punch size and position the punch on the cigar cap.

Press down on the punch cutter and rotate it to create a hole.

After cutting, remove the cutter and check to see if any tobacco is blocking the hole.

Punch cigar cutters are especially useful for beginners or smokers who prefer milder smoke. 

The punch cut removes a small portion of the cap, allowing for a tighter draw, which produces less smoke and cooler smoke.

Punch cutting can be used on all cigar sizes, but some larger ring gauge cigars may require a deeper cut, which may not be possible with a punch cigar cutter.

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In conclusion, cutting a cigar and choosing the best cigar lighters are essential steps in the smoking process that you cannot overlook.

Whether you prefer a guillotine cutter, punch cutter, v cutter, or scissors, there are many affordable options available to achieve the perfect cut.

It's crucial to use a quality cigar cutter with sharp blades to avoid a poor cut, which can lead to a tight draw and a hot burn.

Remember to cut the cigar correctly, avoiding cutting too much of the cigar head or cap end.

With the right cutting tool and technique, you can enjoy a smooth opening and a satisfying smoke from your favorite cigar.

- Jack


What is the best way to cut a cigar?

The best way to cut a cigar is subjective and depends on personal preference. However, a clean and precise cut is essential to the enjoyment of the cigar. There are various types of cutters, including guillotine, punch, and V-cutters. Choose the cutter that best suits your style and cut the cigar about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the cap.

How do you cut a cigar at home?

To cut a cigar at home, you need a quality cigar cutter, such as a guillotine cutter or punch cutter. Hold the cigar firmly and cut the cap about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the end. Ensure a clean and precise cut to ensure the cigar's proper draw and avoid unraveling the wrapper.

Are you supposed to cut a cigar?

Yes, you are supposed to cut a cigar to allow for proper airflow and draw. The cap end of a cigar needs to be removed before smoking, either by using a cutter or punch. A clean and precise cut ensures a smooth and enjoyable smoking experience.

Is it OK to cut a cigar with a knife?

It is possible to cut a cigar with a knife in a pinch, but it is not recommended. A knife does not provide the clean and precise cut that a quality cigar cutter does. It can lead to uneven cutting, damaging the wrapper, and ultimately ruining the smoking experience.

Can I cut a cigar with scissors?

Yes, cigar scissors can be used to cut a cigar. However, cigar scissors require practice to master and provide a clean and precise cut. Hold the cigar firmly, place the scissors at a slight angle to the head of the cigar, and close the jaws slowly to bring the cutter perpendicular to the cigar's top.

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About The Author

Jack Cullum

Welcome to my blog. I'm known to bust a box or two open. I'm discovering the limitless world of subscription boxes for men. Follow my journey in my newsletter to get more news and discounts!

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