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Cigar 101

Can You Cut a Cigar in Half?

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Can you cut a cigar in half? Technically, yes, but should you cut a cigar in half? Definitely not. Most aficionados would never cut a cigar in half unless extenuating circumstances necessitated it. It’s a puzzling event to witness, but I’ve seen it on more than one occasion, and most cigar smokers whom I’ve encountered who cut their cigars in half do so habitually and out of frugality. I think their rationale is simple: they are getting two cigars for the price of one. The logic is flawed when you factor in the damage you’re doing by cutting a premium handmade cigar in half, but to each their own.


Why Cut a Cigar in Half?

When it comes to proper cigar smoking etiquette, cutting a cigar in half is considered a “don’t,” but here are a few reasons why some folks practice this anomaly.

Saving Money

I’ve served a small but determined minority of customers, over the years, who buy longer sizes, like Churchills or Double Coronas, and they chop them in half. The second the cigar is in their hands, it gets guillotined right in the center before the customer proceeds to light one half up with little or no concern for which end is the head or the foot. For whatever reason, they refuse to buy two smaller cigars. There are even some cigar lovers who will chop a longer cigar into three or four pieces, as if it were a hotdog for a toddler. If you’re an unabashed penny-pincher, this practice may appeal to you.

You Want to Share a Cigar

Cutting a cigar in half to share it with a buddy is a rookie mistake. Usually, it’s a cigar smoker who forgot to bring an extra cigar, and he or she doesn’t want to be rude by smoking in front of a friend. Cutting a cigar in half is a lot different than sharing a candy bar. Our advice is to wait and smoke it when you can each enjoy your own (entire) cigar.

Why Cutting a Cigar in Half Is a Bad Idea

Here are the chief reasons why cutting a cigar in half is unwise.

Your Cigar Will Unravel

The anatomy of a premium cigar consists of whole leaves of wrapper, binder, and filler tobaccos, all of which are carefully blended and assembled by hand to combust at an even pace and deliver a specific profile of tasting notes. When you chop a cigar in half the wrapper will likely unravel, and the integrity of the binder and filler tobaccos is destroyed. Lighting and smoking the chopped-up portions of your cigar will be a messy endeavor.

Tobacco Is Different on Both Ends

The binder, filler, and wrapper leaves in a premium cigar are deliberately oriented by the cigar roller. It takes years to master the art of rolling a cigar. The taste of the cigar will no longer reflect the blender’s intention when you cut it into pieces because the wrapper and filler tobaccos are not burning continuously from the beginning (the foot) to the end that’s supposed to go in your mouth (the head).

Avoid Cutting a Cigar in Half

Here are a few tips to avoid cutting a cigar in half in the first place.

Smoke a Smaller Size

Get acquainted with how long it takes to smoke a cigar. A cigar’s size plays a major role in how long it will last, and you’re always better off smoking a cigar you can finish in one sitting than saving a half-smoked cigar for later or cutting a larger size into smaller pieces.

Smoke a Milder Cigar

If you’re new to cigar smoking and you’re afraid your cigar will be too strong by the time you get to the end, smoke a milder cigar instead of cutting a stronger blend in half. The best mild cigars provide amazing taste without overwhelming your tolerance for nicotine.

How to Cut a Cigar in Half

If you’re still hell-bent on cutting your cigar in half after reading the last several paragraphs, follow these quick tips.

Choose a Cheap Cigar

Most of the guys I’ve known who cut their cigars half are naturally frugal, and they smoke cheap cigars to begin with. They’re not too worried about the combustion or tasting notes of a $3 cigar. Their only concern is getting the most smoke for their buck. Consider an inexpensive cigar bundle or a clearance brand if you want to experiment with cutting your cigars in half.

Remove the Cellophane

Remove the cellophane before you cut your cigar in half. You’re already cutting a cigar at its thickest point – in the middle – and the cellophane is just one more barrier to penetrate, which can jam up the blades of your cutter and interfere with a clean cut.

Use a Sharp Cutter

Use a sharp cigar cutter and one with a wide enough aperture to fit around the entire cigar without damaging the wrapper. A pair of cigar scissors or a big ring cutter is best. Cut the cigar in one quick motion. If you do it too slow, you can shred the tobacco, creating messy pieces that will be especially difficult to smoke.

Okay for Machine-Made Cigars

Because machine-made cigars, like cheroots and Toscanos, are made from homogenized short-filler tobaccos, you can cut one in half without interfering much with its taste or construction. However, there’s not a great incentive to cut a machine-made cigar in half because you’re already smoking a smaller and inexpensive cigar.

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