While certain cigars call for using different cutters – it’s extra difficult to punch a torpedo, for instance – no one single cutter or method is “right,” “wrong” or “preferred.” You do what makes your cigar taste good, when we’re talking straight-up parejo shaped cigars. But interestingly enough, the method you use to cut your cigar can make a significant difference in the intensity of the smoke.
A classic guillotine or a scissors cut provides a wide amount of surface area at the head for a smooth, open draw. If you opt to go for a v-cut or a cat’s-eye cut on your cigar, you’ll notice a change in the concentration of the smoke and the flavors you pull through the cigar. The flavors are richer and fuller; that’s because the now-smaller opening you’ve created in the cap is funneling the smoke through a narrower opening. Even smaller is the resulting hole from punch or bullet cigar cutters; with an opening less than half of the surface area of a guillotine cut, a cigar that’s been punched might seem like it has a bit of a harder draw. But the resulting big blast of flavor that’s being channeled on the palate is what really speaks to fuller-bodied cigar smokers, upping the intensity even more. There is a downside, however, as focusing the flavor also focuses the tars and the other elements of the cigar that can lead to harsh flavors if you over smoke it…so be aware.
An interesting trial would be to take your regular go-to cigar, and try it with a different cut: does it smoke more robustly with a v-cut or punch cut? Is it more smooth with a guillotine cut, if that’s not what you regularly use? Try a cut you’ve never used and see if it makes a difference in the flavor intensity of your cigar.
While there is no right or wrong cutter type, there are DEFINITELY right and wrong ways to actually cut your cigar. Many people cut too much off the top of their cigar — both seasoned everyday smokers and first timers. While those unfamiliar with cigar architecture have an excuse, the seasoned everyday guy or gal is just being lazy and disrespectful of the work that goes into creating a fine smoking experience.
Cutting technique comes mostly into play when using a guillotine cutter. Backplate, V, Punches, etc… are self limiting by nature. Guillotine cutters offer the most room for error of any of the cutting tools.
Believe me, if the cap on a cigar wasn’t important, cigar rollers wouldn’t go to the trouble of putting it there. The cap of the cigar keeps the whole thing from unraveling. If you cut the whole cap off, the wrapper tobacco will stick to your lips and begin to unravel — ruining the thing that adds 50% to 75% of flavor in the process.
When cutting the top off the top of a cigar, you want to just shave off the top area of the cap — that’s it.