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Cigar 101

How to Use a Cigar Punch Cutter

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

A cigar punch is a cylindrical blade that gently removes the center of the cap on a cigar, leaving the edges of the cap, or the cigar’s shoulder, fully intact. A punch cutter is also called a bullet cutter because of the fine hole a punch leaves in a cigar and because some punch cutters are designed to look like bullets.

Why Cut a Cigar with a Punch Cutter?

Cigar smokers who like a tighter draw with more intensity prefer punch cutters. The heat and the smoke and the oils in a cigar are concentrated through a smaller opening when you’re drawing on a punch cut. Because a punch cutter keeps the cap intact, there is generally less mess at the end of your cigar when you put it in your mouth. Punch cutters work best on standard Parjeo shapes. Formats that taper at the head, like a Torpedo, cannot be cut with a punch.

Different Kinds of Punch Cutters

Punch cutters vary in size. Blades with a larger circumference remove a greater aperture from the cap on a cigar and can offer a looser, easier draw. A larger punch is ideal for a big ring gauge cigar. There are many different punch cutters available. Some feature a retractable blade, others are designed with a cap that snaps on and off to cover the blade. You can find a number of cigar torch lighters with a punch cutter built into the chassis. Xikar, Visol, and Davidoff produce reliable punch cutters. Regardless of what kind of punch cutter you’ve got, the principle is the same. The best cigar punch will get the job done every time.

How to Cut a Cigar with a Punch Cutter

  1. Open the punch cutter to reveal the blade. Extend or twist the blade out if it’s a retractable model. Or, if your punch has a cover, remove it.  


  1. Center the blade over the middle of the cap on your cigar.


  1. Hold the blade firmly and gently twist the cutter into the cap of your cigar. Twist in a back-and-forth motion. Do not actually punch (or push) the blade into the cap with a forceful insertion or you can easily crack the cap on your cigar. Apply slight pressure, but remember the wrapper leaf on a cigar is thin. You only need to remove wrapper layer.


  1. Gently pull the punch cutter out and remove it from the cap. You should observe a clean, precise aperture on the cap of your cigar.


  1. Discard the remnants of the wrapper from your cutter. Most punch cutters are designed to expel any wrapper remnants from the blade when you replace the cap or retract the blade.


  1. Fire up your cigar!

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