I’ve been smoking cigars since 1998 and one of my pet peeves is watching other people cut and light a cigar. Today’s article stems from episode of The Cigar Authority which can be seen on YouTube or listen to via PodBean, iTunes, Google Play, I Heart Radio, Spotify and your favorite podcast catcher. The episode which was titled Lighting, Cutting & Tasting, Oh My! can be heard by clicking the link.
To many times I’ve seen a person holding a lighter too close to the cigar and this is the biggest issue with lighting a cigar. If you char the wrapper beyond the foot it will change your smoking experience much like cooking a steak on too high of a flame. The other issue I see, is the person using the wrong lighter for the cigar of their choice. There is a reason that there are many lighters on the market with options from soft flame, one jet, two jets, three jets and four jets. To simplify, would you use the same screwdriver for every screw?
Lets start with a soft flame lighter. While it is easier to pull the flame toward the cigar there are a lot of variables that make this my least favorite lighter. One, it’s harder to toast the cigar with pinpoint accuracy if there is any form of wind, and there is less control over the flame when lighting the cigar due to the same wind issue. As a result, most soft flame lighters are designed toward the use of cigarettes or pipes. An example of the soft flame lighter is the Vertigo Governor.
The next lighter we look at is a single torch lighter. This is the ideal lighter for lighting up a smaller ring gauge cigar such as Lancero or Corona. The single jet allows pin point accuracy for the smaller foot surface. With a lancero measuring a ring gauge of 38, and the corona a ring gauge of 42 the lighter hits just the area you are aiming for. It is also the perfect lighter for touching up a burn. An example of a single touch lighter is the Vertigo Attache.
Moving on to the next lighter which features two jets it can still be used on a small ring gauge cigar, but it does create more heat which can cause an issue in getting to the tobacco temperature up to high. I would recommend a two jet lighter on a Corona Gorda, Churchill, Robusto or a traditional 50 ring Toro, perhaps even a 52. The two jets would allow you to toast the larger surface with efficiency, and its still ok to touch up burn issues by angling the lighter so one jet gets close enough to the leaf. It requires more of a steady hand, but it can be done. An example of a double torch lighter is the Vertigo Comet.
The number one selling lighter where I work features three jets. Three jet lighters are probably the most popular in the cigar industry today and they are the most versatile. While I wouldn’t recommend them for a smaller ring gauge like the Lancero or Corona, they can be used on a Churchill, Robusto, Toro (50/52/54) or up to say a 58 ring gauge. While I wouldn’t recommend it for a cigar with a larger ring gauge I would definitely not recommend it to touch up a bad burn as you will scorch the wrapper. An example of a triple torch lighter is the Vertigo Cyclone.
Quad torch lighters are the newest addition to the lighter industry and there has been more of them coming on the market as larger ring gauge cigars become more popular. They are the perfect lighter for lighting up a 60, 70, 80 ring gauge or even larger cigars. The four jets allow you to hit the larger surface getting a quicker light of the stick. These definitely shouldn’t be used for touch ups though and an example of a quad torch lighter is the Equalizer by Vertigo.
The first question that should be asked when you buy a lighter is what ring gauge cigars you like to smoke. Then based upon your answer you should go with the lighter to fit the cigar. Regardless of the size, you should also have a single torch lighter for touch ups. Much like a contractor has multiple tools, you the cigar smoke should have the same to enjoy your passion. The one tool you should never use is a Zippo lighter without an insert as the fuel has an aroma that will change the taste of the cigar.
Once you have the lighter, the next step is to properly light them and a listener of the show, Peter Andreev also known in the chat room during the show as ‘bluewaterpig’ was kind enough to send in the following diagram is a great tutorial to obtain that perfect burn.