Recently we received a question via the “Contact Us” page, of The Cigar Authority, regarding whether or not cutting a cigar using a straight cut would change the amount of time it takes to smoke that cigar vs using a bullet punch. In the 20 years that I have been switching back and forth from cut to cut I never thought to pay attention so I decided to do the experiment and find out if the type of cut plays a role in the duration.
To maximize the impact of this experiment I opted to go with the smallest bullet cutter I could find which is on the Black Label Dictator Flat Flame lighter. The fold out bullet punch weighs in at a whopping 12/64” or 12 “Ring Gauge” compared to the 62/64” or 62 “Ring Gauge” opening of the Lotus “Jaws” Cutter.
The Cigar its self doesn’t matter so much but I will tell you it was a mild Connecticut shade cigar measuring 7 X 50 at the start of the experiment. In an attempt to make this as fair as possible to the experiment I had the cigar chosen for me and had the band removed so that I could focus on going puff for puff with each cigar. I focused on drawing evenly each time with as close to the same pull strength as possible. I set a time limit of one hour and evaluated both cigars progress every 15 minutes. Using the cigar I bullet punched as a guide I cut the second at the base of the top cap so I could have an easy reference point from which to measure.
Each cigar got a total of 180 puffs which is equivalent to each receiving one puff every 20 or so seconds (I could have stopped at 178 but my OCD kicked in and I puffed 2 more times on each cigar so I would end on a rounder number). I took only 20 seconds to light each of them so that neither would get more or less “puffing time” when all was said and done.
Even with the 38 Ring Gauge difference, between the two cuts, I am surprised to report that although there was a dramatic difference in flavor between the two cigars there was no difference in how slowly they burned. My theory as to why this is the case has to do with air flow at the ember. Since both embers are the same size, at the foot of the cigar, they are allowing the same amount of air to flow through them thus combusting at the same rate of speed. The restriction of air at the bullet punched only affects the flavor, it made it more intense. If the smaller hole was on the other end, where the ember is, it may result in a different outcome but that is an experiment for another day!