Cigar Accessories

Humidors and humidification

The first thing you need is a humidor. Cigars depend greatly on humidity. Too little or too much will damage them, often in a non-recoverable manner.

My favorite humidity is 71%. Not 70%, not 72%, but 71%.

I experimented a bit and found this sweet spot. It's the thing I pay the most attention to when storing cigars. (keeping them under 75 degrees is second).

Let me share what I have found. A dry cigar smokes hot and tastes harsh. Also, it will typically fall apart when smoking or cutting the cap. It does not feel nice and supple, etc.

Conversely, and over-humidified cigar is soggy and can draw hard. Get too far out and it can burst from swelling up, and it seems to me that they grow moldy very easily.

I found that the humidity monitors are usually WAY off, so I bought a precision instrument to "calibrate" them. Be sure to do this near the temperature the cigars are stored at, I found even expensive meters read differently with temperature also.

I don't like any of the humidification "gels", liquids, or additives, I use distilled water in plain foam elements.

 

Lighters

I light my cigars with a gas lighter. I know that traditionally you should light a cigar with a cedar "split" or a match. Sorry, I know these are the "right way" and I tried them. I can smell the unburned particles with a split, and the sulphur from a match. I swear I can taste it in the cigar. I tries a gas lighter that burns with a perfect blue flame and no extra taste.

Also, I like to light the cigar evenly, and also be able to "even up" an cigar that is burning unevenly.

So I bought many (at least 20) gas lighters of various manufacturers. Many cool designs, features, etc. But all of them failed in about a year, despite using the best triple-filtered gas (do buy the good stuff). Having them repaired became costly and somewhat infuriating. OfUsuallyten the repaired lighters failed

Recently I noticed that Xikar sold lighters. Being familiar with their products, I figured I would give them a try. I bought a table top, and a pocket lighter. (Executive II pictured below)

 

 

Well, I was happy with them, but they eventually failed. Oh great, I thought, here we go again. But wait, there is a LIFETIME warranty on Xikar lighters, like their cutters. Well, let's give it a try. Wow, sending it in is easy, print up a page, fill in some details, no receipt required, no phone calls to arrange an RMA. That's nice. Hey, I got an email they received it. Beats the crud out of the black hole my Colibri lighters went into for repair. Hey, another notification that they are fixed and on their way back. Shock, less than a month, actually about a week.

Now, I cannot guarantee these results, especially when I tell you that my red lighter had chunks of paint missing from banging around with my keys, but it came back new. What a company. So, that's it for me, no more experimenting to find lighters that are a waste of $80-$100 each.

So, I'm a loyal customer now.

Note that you should always bleed a lighter before refilling, to get rid of trapped air, and always use the best fuel, triple refined, especially for lighters, not the off the shelf junk you buy at Home Depot or the grocery store.

 Cutters and cutting

So, you need to cut your cigar to smoke it. Basically there's 4 ways to get the end in your mouth to pass air.

1. Chew it off like you saw in the movies. (Check with Clint Eastwood)
2. V cut - slices a "V" groove across the end of the cigar.
3. Punch - a smallish round hole
4. Traditional "slice off the end" cut

In my opinion, numbers 1 and 2 destroy the end of the cigar. I know the V cut enthusiasts will argue, but it's so hard to get it right with various sizes of the end caps and it cuts quite deep into the cap. I also like a big, open draw when smoking.

The Punch is ok, but I kept looking for larger and larger punches, so I slice the end off with a cutter, either a guillotine cutter, scissors, etc.

A long time ago, I found the Xikar cutters and have loved them: Below is a picture of my Xi1 gold cutter. These cutters will work on up to a 60 ring gauge. They have a lifetime guarantee and free sharpening.

They have a lifetime warranty, incredibly sharp edges, and a unique style that can't be beat. I have several and love them.

Below is the Xi3 Macassar Ebony I have.

 

Again, I had 2 units that were a few years old, and the release button became loose in the unit. Again, the service was exceptional and I actually received two new cutters. I can't guarantee everyone will get a new cutter when sending in for repairs, but what customer service!

Note, these cutters shold be lubed with a drop of oil in the slot near the release button. Clean the blades with alcohol if needed.

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