Let’s face it, premium cigars are not an inexpensive thing. I consider my cigars an investment. They are an investment in my personal well being. But smoking is bad for you? Well, it has been proven that 1 to 2 cigars a day has almost 0 effect on your health and the way I see it, that hour or so I invest in relaxing with a cigar is a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy or jail time due to a road rage incident or assault charges. We have all been there. The Walking Dead is not just a show on TV, they are real and they work, walk, drive, and interact amongst us all. It is not yet legal to rid the world of the brain-dead, so until then, cigars and alcohol will have to do. Am I right?
So if you are like me, you spent a good amount of money on a nice humidor (or 3 plus a travel case), a nice lighter, cutters, humidification method of some type etc. Getting into cigars is not a cheap thing. Certainly there are less expensive ways to get started and there is certainly nothing wrong with that if that is what your personal budget allows. I wasn’t always able to splurge on the things I can now. Even now I don’t go crazy (that statement will vary greatly if you talk to my wife, love you honey, hopefully doghouse avoided) anyway, where was I? Ah yes. The cost of being a cigar lover. It is very easy to spend a few hundred dollars before you even purchase your first cigar to start filling that beautiful humidor on your desk or counter you have seasoned and waiting to house those beautiful sticks.
Cigar accessories are a topic I feel that many people don’t talk about enough and can be disastrous to your cigars if you skimp on them. From the proper humidor and caring for your humidor, the proper lighter, the proper fuel for that lighter, and even your cutter. So lets talk about those things briefly.
Humidors. As stated I have more than one. When I first started into cigars I was introduced to the Acid, Java, and Natural infused cigars. Do not judge me, they are still a great treat now and again. The problem with infused cigars is that they MUST be kept separate from your non-infused cigars or they will transfer their flavors over. So I had to purchase a second humidor. As my palate developed and I found more and more cigars I liked, I simply outgrew that one and had to purchase a third much larger humidor. So the humidor situation is under control, but how do you maintain it with the right temp and humidity. This is my Achilles heel being in the Northeast. Right now it is in the teens and humidity is super low. I spend time wiping my humidors down with distilled water and I personally use the Bovada 72% humidity packs. They are simple, clean and easy. They also offer 2 way protection which means they regulate the humidity if it is too high or too low. For my large humidor, I throw in 2 and they keep my cigars right where I like them. You will know if you have a humidity issue. Your cigars will be very spongy almost wet, which can lead to mold and ruin everything, or when you cut them, they crunch and break, which means they are too dry. I cannot stress enough that you use distilled water in your humidor every now and then and maintain your humidity. The climate you live in plays a big part in the maintenance of your humidor. If you live in the south and its humid most of the year (I am from Louisiana so Pa is vastly different) you may want your humidity a bit lower. Boveda offers a 69% so you may like that better. There are many different ways to humidify your humidor. I am giving you the one I choose simply because it pretty much fool proof.
Lighters. As a general rule, you can never go wrong with an old school wooden match. This is the purest method of lighting a cigar without introducing harsh chemicals into the cigar during lighting. Make sure to keep the cigar out of the flame and place it close enough that the heat lights the foot. I almost always start my cigar with a match when feasible. I use a dual or triple flame butane torch to finish it off. Butane is a great source for lighting cigars. Just make sure to invest in a premium butane filler when you refill your lighter. You can tell the difference. The trouble with butane in the north is that butane freezes at around 32 degrees so you must keep it in your pocket or warm it in your hand prior to using it. This is why homes are heated with propane in this region. Propane actually boils at -42 degrees making it much more usable in colder climates compared to butane. That being said, keeping your cigar out of the flame is very important. Also toast the foot above the flame and roll it around 360 degrees a few times prior to putting it in your mouth and drawing the flame to the cigar. This will greatly help avoid the chemical being pulled into the tobacco.
Lastly but certainly not less importantly, cutters. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Having a good quality cigar cutter is the biggest factor in having a good or bad cigar experience. The type of cut also makes a big difference. When I first started smoking, I ordered a starter package with a humidor, lighter and cutter. No big deal. They all did the job. Along the way I wanted to try different types of cuts but I figured “why would I spend $40 on a v-cutter when I don’t even know if I will like it?”. Same thing with a hole punch. I would understand why but not soon enough. I picked up a cheap hole punch and a cheap v-cutter and off I went. The hole punch worked well enough. I got the job done the first few times with no issues. Shortly after that I started noticing the caps were basically being broken or crushed. Being new I thought my cigars were dried out. Made sense I thought. Wrong. The cutter was getting dull and I was having to work much harder to make the same hole as before. I ruined a few cigars before, by accident, I figured out my issue. I purchased a new Xikar dual flame lighter with a hole punch that is built into the bottom. First time I used it, being use to the old, cheap punch I pressed too hard and broke the cap. Luckily it was not a big deal and it smoked fine. After that I took my time and man, what a difference. Take this same situation and insert a cheap v-cutter. I used my v-cutter numerous times and it never really seemed to give me that nice deep V I see on social media and in magazines. Try as I may, I could never achieve that nice cut so I basically gave up on the v-cut all together. I recently visited Famous Smoke Shop to pick up some Boveda packs, some Whiff Out (great for eliminating unwanted cigar odors, so I am told, testing that now) and I asked to see the Colibri V-cutter. I had researched this and the Xikar brands for awhile and I heard many great things about the Colibri. It is heavy, solid and the spring action is impressive. I decided to splurge and brought it home. First cut with it was impressive. I actually thought I took too much off of the cap, but I didn’t. Finally! That nice deep V I had always seen. Smoking the cigar I had cut was certainly different. Very strange compared to the traditional straight guillotine or hole punch, but the draw was perfect. Of course that depends greatly on the construction of the cigar. Some cigars are simply packed too tight and it doesn’t matter what cutter you have, it’s just not going to fix that problem.
Other accessories I have but certainly aren’t required is a nice metal cigar stand and a draw poker. The poker helps with a tight draw but proceed with caution and go slow. You can easily run at an angle and come out the side of your cigar. The stand simply holds my cigar without having it hanging off the edge of my ashtray.
All of these things are available at many different price levels, just like anything else. My suggestion is that you spend a little extra for a good quality humidor and cutter at a minimum. These to me are essential and will make the biggest impact on your cigar smoking experience. Having a cigar that is too damp or too dry or having a cap that is falling apart or torn and sticking out while you try to smoke is very annoying. If you pull it you risk having the cap come off or worse it goes down far enough that the wrapper starts to come apart. Been there. Nothing will piss you off and ruin your night than having that happen. Do some research, read reviews and if you have to spend a little extra, believe me, its worth it.
I hope you found this helpful. As always, leave your comments here. It’s always nice to have others leave tips or reviews of brands they use. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace.