Ok. This isn’t on cigars but rather a few of accessories that have become rather important to me and I cannot imagine enjoying cigars without them. The reality is how you prepare your cigar and then actually smoke it adds to the enjoyment of the cigar itself. You don’t have to spend alot but should spend wisely.
1. Humidor Humidification Control: While having a good humidor to store your “sticks” in is critical, how you actually humidify it is just as important. Learning how to balance distilled water into a humidification container can be tricky. I don’t think I ever got it right. But one day while searching I found Boveda. A rather ingenious idea that uses reverse osmosis based on Raoult’s Law, a simple idea whereby the combination of compounds will determine the pressure of the vapour (liquid) and how it passes through the membrane (this is my simplistic understanding — this link gives far more detailed account for those of the truth mathematically geeky inclined). In short, the packet ensures that there is an even release of appropriate humidification over a period of time.
2. Sharp Cuts: a good cutter can also make the difference from tasting the smoke or tasting the tobacco (and getting it out of your teeth). I originally began by using the cheap cutters that are often provided at cigar retailers. In fact, one such retailer sent me a whack of them (something I can given away to friends who are first time cigar smokers). But given how much I enjoy a cigar in a given day (somewhere between 0-3) I figured a decent cutter was a necessity and one that would stay sharp. I did a far amount of research. Certainly there are a variety of ways to cut or puncture a cigar and honestly, it’s a matter of personal taste and preference as to how to do this. The main consistent key is to avoid cutting too far past the cap as this can cause the cigar to unravel and you’ll lose some of the flavour as a result. I tend to slice a bit off the cap as I find it’s enough of an opening to enjoy the smoke without sacrificing the wrapper.
Anyways, the best cutter I’ve found is the Xikar Xi3 Spectra. Granted, any of the Xikar cutters are good but I prefer this one since it’s fairly hefty (has a good weight) and consistently cuts well. The one downside I found to this cutter is it’s limitation to size as larger (58 guage and higher) can be tricky but since I just slice a bit off the cap it’s not too bad. (side note: cigar cutters are allowed to be taken on carry-on luggage as per the TSA website. I printed out their PDF brochure and wrap my cutter in it just in case someone challenges me on it)
3. Fire!: Of course, how we light a cigar can make a difference. My ultimate preference is Lieb Cedar Matches (I cannot find these online and have only purchases them once while in Mexico City) with the Davidoff Long Matches coming in a close second. I can take matches when I travel, which is good. Because when at home I use a wonderful butane lighter from Blazer. Their Blazer Torch Lighter is amazing. It’s consistent, has a huge reservoir (lights about 5-8 cigars or more, depending on how often you have to relight), a cap to cover the area that the flame comes out of (thus making it more secure and safe) and has a nice feature that locks the flame in place, thus resulting in less chance of burned fingers and such. While I’ve bought cheapo butane lighters from the local dollar store I quickly discovered that there was a reason they were so cheap: they broke down after about 6 months of use.
Enjoying a cigar shouldn’t take a huge amount of fussing and fiddling with and these items can help ensure that you can enjoy them sooner and better.