Smoking a cigar is a ritual. It’s all about the process. And that process begins with knowing how to cut a cigar the right way.

Plus, the better the cigar you smoke – maybe you sprung for that Behike 52 when you were overseas? – the more attention you’re going to want to pay to make sure you’re giving it a proper cut, which equates to a better cigar smoking experience.

Here is the definitive HSS guide on how to cut a cigar.

Types of Cigar Caps

Before you cut a cigar, you need to know what you’re working with. There are two main kinds of cigar shapes: parejo and figurado.

A parejo is a cigar that has straight sides and a rounded cap. These are the most common cigar shapes you see out there and include sizes like the Corona, Robusto, Toro, Longsdale and Churchill.

Cigar types shapes sizes parejo corona punch habano


A figurado refers to any kind of cigar with a non-standard shape. Most commonly we think of figurados having a pointed cap. Common figurados are the Torpedo, Belicoso, Pyramid and Diadema.

Methods for Cutting a Cigar

Guillotine. The double-blade guillotine is the most common method of cutting a cigar. The cut it delivers is referred to as a straight cut. You can buy them cheaply, but as with anything, you get what you pay for. A poor quality blade will do a literal hack job on your cigar and may even ruin the cap. It’s best to avoid cheaply made plastic and single-blade versions and spring for something a little more solid.

Ways to cut cigar

Punch. Unlike a guillotine cigar cutter, which slices off part of the cap, a punch makes about a 1/4″ circular hole in the end of the cap. A cigar punch is very small – the size of a bullet – and can be easier to carry (and lose).

V-Cutter. A v-cutter is one method you don’t see terribly often, but it’s a way to cut a cigar that some people prefer. This kind of cut will expose a lot more surface area of the cigar, therefore making it easier to draw smoke through cigar. One of the negative effects of a v-cut is that it can allow too much smoke through, making the cigar smoke too hot.

Other Methods. There are other ways of cutting a cigar other than the three methods listed above. You will also see special cigar cutting scissors and all manner of round cutters. In a pinch, you can use a sharp knife, a pen or pencil or even your teeth – though it’s best for the cigar and your smoking experience if you use a method listed above.

Which method should you use?

The method you use to cut your cigar is really a matter of personal preference. How you do it is really much more important.

Remember that the objective of any cut is to create a sufficient and smooth opening for smoking without destroying the integrity of the cigar. A proper cut will allow equal draw from the core and rim of the cigar.