The Essential Guide to Cigar Accessories: History, Importance, and Proper Use
25 June 2024

For the discerning cigar aficionado, the experience extends beyond the cigar itself. A range of accessories enhances the enjoyment, maintenance, and overall experience of smoking cigars. These tools not only serve practical purposes but also add a touch of sophistication and tradition to the ritual. This guide explores the different types of cigar accessories, their history, importance, and how to use them properly.

1. Cigar Cutter

History: The cigar cutter dates back to the 19th century when cigars became popular in Europe and America. Early versions were simple guillotine cutters, evolving into more intricate designs over time.

Types:

  • Guillotine Cutter: A single or double-bladed cutter that slices the cap off the cigar.
  • V-Cutter: Cuts a V-shaped notch into the cap of the cigar, allowing for a concentrated draw.
  • Punch Cutter: Creates a small hole in the cap, preserving the cigar’s structure.

Importance: A precise cut ensures an even burn and optimal draw, enhancing the smoking experience. Without a proper cut, the cigar can unravel or burn unevenly.

How to Use:

  • Guillotine Cutter: Place the cigar in the cutter, ensuring the blades are positioned just above the cap line. Quickly and firmly close the blades to make a clean cut.
  • V-Cutter: Position the cutter over the center of the cap and press down to create a V-shaped notch.
  • Punch Cutter: Press the punch against the center of the cap and twist gently to remove a small plug of tobacco.

2. Cigar Lighter

History: Early cigar lighters were simple sulfur-tipped matches and evolved into more sophisticated designs with the advent of butane lighters in the 20th century.

Types:

  • Butane Torch Lighter: Produces a powerful, wind-resistant flame.
  • Soft Flame Lighter: Similar to a traditional lighter, with a gentler flame.

Importance: Butane lighters are preferred because they burn cleanly, without imparting flavors to the cigar. Proper lighting ensures an even burn, critical for a consistent smoking experience.

How to Use:

  • Butane Torch Lighter: Hold the cigar at a slight angle, just above the flame, and rotate it to evenly toast the foot. Once toasted, place the cigar in your mouth and draw gently while continuing to rotate it above the flame.
  • Soft Flame Lighter: Follow the same process as with the torch lighter, being mindful that it may take a bit longer to evenly light the cigar.

3. Cigar Humidor

History: Humidors have been used since the 19th century to maintain the quality of cigars during storage. Early humidors were simple wooden boxes, evolving into more sophisticated designs with precise humidity control.

Types:

  • Desktop Humidor: A small, elegant box for home use, holding 20-100 cigars.
  • Travel Humidor: Portable and durable, designed to maintain humidity on the go.
  • Cabinet Humidor: Larger units for serious collectors, capable of storing hundreds of cigars.

Importance: Cigars need to be stored at a specific humidity (typically around 70%) to preserve their flavor, burn quality, and overall condition. A good humidor ensures that cigars are always ready to be enjoyed.

How to Use:

  • Seasoning: Before storing cigars, humidors need to be seasoned. Wipe the interior with a damp cloth and place a dish of distilled water inside for 24-48 hours.
  • Maintenance: Regularly check and refill the humidification device with distilled water or a propylene glycol solution. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels.

4. Cigar Ashtray

History: Cigar ashtrays became popular in the 20th century as smoking lounges and cigar clubs gained popularity. They evolved from simple designs to more elaborate and decorative pieces.

Types:

  • Traditional Ashtray: Features wide grooves to accommodate cigars.
  • Portable Ashtray: Smaller and often collapsible, designed for travel.

Importance: A proper ashtray provides a safe and convenient place to rest your cigar, preventing it from rolling off and making a mess.

How to Use:

  • Placement: Place the cigar in one of the grooves when not smoking. Avoid ashing the cigar too frequently; let it rest naturally in the ashtray.
  • Cleaning: Regularly empty and clean the ashtray to maintain a pleasant smoking environment.

5. Cigar Case

History: Cigar cases have been used since the early 20th century, designed to protect cigars during travel. Early versions were often made of leather and have evolved to include various materials and designs.

Types:

  • Leather Case: Classic and elegant, providing good protection.
  • Hard Shell Case: Offers maximum protection, often with a built-in humidor.

Importance: A cigar case protects cigars from damage and drying out when you’re on the go, ensuring they remain in optimal condition until you’re ready to smoke them.

How to Use:

  • Loading: Place cigars gently into the case, ensuring they are not packed too tightly.
  • Travel: Keep the case in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

6. Cigar Hygrometer

History: The use of hygrometers in humidors dates back to the 19th century, allowing cigar enthusiasts to monitor humidity levels accurately.

Types:

  • Analog Hygrometer: Traditional design, often built into the humidor.
  • Digital Hygrometer: Provides more accurate and easy-to-read humidity levels.

Importance: Maintaining the right humidity is crucial for preserving the flavor and quality of cigars. A hygrometer ensures that the humidity levels are kept within the optimal range.

How to Use:

  • Calibration: Calibrate the hygrometer before use. For analog, adjust using the screw; for digital, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Monitoring: Place the hygrometer inside the humidor and regularly check the humidity levels, adjusting the humidification device as needed.

7. Cigar Humidification Device

History: Humidification devices have been used since the early days of humidors. Initially, they were simple sponges or clay, evolving into sophisticated systems.

Types:

  • Foam-Based: Simple and inexpensive, requiring regular maintenance.
  • Crystal Gel: Holds water longer and requires less frequent refilling.
  • Electronic: Provides precise humidity control, ideal for larger humidors.

Importance: Maintaining the correct humidity is essential for preserving the quality of cigars. The humidification device ensures that the environment inside the humidor remains stable.

How to Use:

  • Activation: Soak the device in distilled water or propylene glycol solution.
  • Placement: Place the device in the humidor, ensuring it is not in direct contact with the cigars.
  • Maintenance: Refill as needed and clean periodically to prevent mold growth.

Conclusion Investing in the right cigar accessories enhances your smoking experience, ensuring that your cigars are well-maintained and enjoyed to their fullest potential. From cutting and lighting to storage and travel, each accessory plays a vital role in the ritual of smoking a cigar. Understanding the history and proper use of these tools adds a layer of appreciation and sophistication to the experience. Whether you’re a seasoned aficionado or a newcomer to the world of cigars, these accessories are essential for enjoying cigars as they were meant to be enjoyed.

Disclaimer: Some of the links to online retailers provided within Cigar Informer articles and reviews may be affiliate links. Cigar Informer participates in affiliate programs with several online retailers – the purpose of which is to help support this website and provide funds for cigar and accessory purchases for review.

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