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What To Do Before You Cut

Locate the Cigar Cap

The cap is a small piece of wrapper leaf used by rollers to complete the cigar and hold the wrapper together. An extension of the wrapper is called the flag, which is precisely cut and should give you a guideline when lining up your cigar for a straight cut. You want to leave some of the flag and glue, so the wrapper doesn’t come apart.

Moisten The Cigar Head

One thing that aficionados do is inspect the cigar’s head before cutting, why you might ask? The wrapper leaf is delicate, a dry wrapper leaf can tear or come apart during the cutting process. Slightly moistening the cigars head before you cut is a worthwhile extra step to ensure the cigar is cut properly.

Moistening the cigars head doesn’t involve licking the cigar, but simply placing it on your lips and letting the humidity in your mouth do the rest. This will also give you a chance to taste the cigar’s wrapper before you light it.  Due to health and safety concerns, try not to use this method when borrowing or using a communal cutter in a lounge.

Different Cigar Cutter Styles

Cigars cut in all three styles - the punch is on the left, straight cut in the middle, and the v-cut is on the right.Cigars cut in all three styles - the punch is on the left, straight cut in the middle, and the v-cut is on the right.

The Straight Cut


The most used cut is straight; Done with a guillotine, scissors, and knives. Straight cuts are versatile and can be used both rounded and pointed figurado heads.

Hold the cigar close to the head. Holding the cigar in this position provides stability during the cutting motion. Place the guillotine or scissors over the cutting area, line up your cutting area (make sure not to cut too much off the cap), and slowly close the blade towards the cigar. As the blades touch the cigar close the blade with a firm and decisive movement. Lightly brush the cut area to remove loose tobacco and dust.  Open and close the cutter to release any tobacco that may be caught in the blades.

The V-Cut


A V-cutter removes a v-shaped slice out of the cap of the cigar. The draw of the cigar will be different due to the smaller opening and less of the cigar being removed during the cutting process. Move the cigar towards the cutter opening and close the blade just enough to make sure you won’t cut beyond the cap. Once you’re ready to cut apply quick, firm pressure and decisive motion throughout the process.  Blow or brush the opening to remove any loose tobacco or dust.

The Punch


Punch cutters are probably the easiest to you use and very convenient. Punches can be carried on keychains, so you can always have a cutter with you. While convenient, you won’t be able to cut the cap off a figurado shaped cigar. Let’s get ready to cut the cigar, hold the cigar near the head, place the punch over the center of the cap, gently twist back and forth while applying pressure, once you’ve broken through the cap apply slight pressure, and pull the punch away. Blow the opening to removed loose tobacco or dust.


Now that we’ve covered the steps to prepare your cigar for the cut, the types of cuts and cutters. You should be able to start applying these tips and getting to the point where flawless cuts are routine. Try different cuts so that you can find out what works best for you and your smoking style. What you’ll notice is that cigars can burn and taste different depending on the cut and size of the opening in the cap.