Gadgets, any accessory used to keep, smoke with, or otherwise enhance the smoking experience. Examples of which include but are not limited to: Humidors, Cutters, Lighters, and Ashtrays.
Any serious cigar smoker has an affinity for nice things. Luxury living and cigars go hand in hand. As such, you’d be hard pressed to find a serious smoker who doesn’t have a few toys that they’re proud of and love showing off or that have a wishlist of said toys they hope to someday possess. Some are much more laid back then others, some go crazy. A friend of mine, who we’ll call D for this article, is one that takes crazy to a whole new level. D has been known to on any occasion that I run into him, show off some new contraption he’s acquired. This last time, it was a Ring that separated and held his cigar for him, it also served as a rest for when he didn’t want to hold it. Yes, this is very absurd, but that is just one example of how obscure cigar gadgets can be. I’m sure D will know I’m referring to him by now, and will be upset with me for some intended insult, but he is the Gadget King. The time before last, he brought in a custom made travel humidor. While I’m sure this doesn’t sound overly impressive, I can assure you that this one was. Handcrafted by some fancy wood box maker who he assured me was a big deal, it separated into 3 sections via different “locks” that opened depending on how you moved the compartments, very simliar to a chinese puzzle box. It held cigars, cutters, lighters, and even a pocket ashtray, and managed to keep everything organized and the cigars fresh. The thing was even numbered! D has shown me many amazing toys over the years I’ve known him, many of which he either designed himself or assisted with, like his “portable-table-top” cigar cutter with Damascus steel blades?!
Not everyone gets as crazy as D though, many people will just have a nice cutter or lighter and maybe a humidor. Less serious smokers, or those less concerned with aging, may not even have those. It all depends on an individuals needs/wants. If you are invested in cigars, I do recommend at the very least, having a nice cutter and lighter. The humidor can be skipped if you live close enough to a shop and don’t intend to age your cigars, and almost any ashtray will suffice if needed.
What makes a good cutter? In my honest opinion, a Guillotine or Scissors provide more versatility and a cleaner cut then a punch or cat’s eye(also called V-cut, notch). A good Guillotine will generally have two blades instead of one, and the best ones utilize one fixed blade and one moving blade. This helps to prevent from crushing, ripping, etc, when you cut the cap, thus keeping tobacco out of your mouth and stopping the wrapper from peeling. Scissor’s, while technically both blades move, you naturally end up moving one blade more then the other and you have a much higher level of control over how much you cut off, it is for that reason that I usually prefer scissors. My go-to cutter is the Xikar MTX fold-able scissors, they can hook onto your key chain if you’re likely to lose them or slip them into your watch pocket for a compact cutter that works well and is hardly noticeable when walking.
Okay, so what makes a good lighter? As far as lighters are concerned I find that the style of lighter makes less difference then how you use it. For example, a torch lighter should be kept farther away from the cigar. The heat that it produces is more then adequate to light your cigar, so you don’t need to ever touch flame to cigar. Regardless of what you’re using keeping the cigar cool is more important then just a quick light, just hot enough to burn is where you want it to stay. All that being said, a good lighter vs a bad lighter, is about consistency. It should work when you need it to and not need to be filled after every cigar to do so. It is for those reasons that I tend to prefer either a Xikar, or an ST Dupont for a lighter. They each have their pros/cons, but each is more consistent (in my opinion) then other companies on the market.
Some cigar companies, like Room 101 or Drew Estate, who have some fanatical followings produce custom cutters/lighters/jewelry/etc so the fanboys out there (like me) can go nuts and get all the gear!
The last major “Gadget”, the humidor. These can be as simple or as elaborate, as small or as large, as the owner desires and it makes no real difference towards quality. The only important feature to a humidors quality is its seal. The tighter the seal, the better it will maintain humidity and thus, the better your cigars will age. If everything go well, cigars can stay in a humidor indefinitely. For this reason I generally recommend a humidor without a glass top or an external hygrometer. I know, I know, they look nice; however, the only thing that serve to do is enhance aesthetics, while simultaneously putting your humidor at risk for a bad seal. Often times the glass isn’t perfectly fitted to the wood and/or the hygrometer isn’t even sealed in place and can be pulled out with a small amount of leverage. If you feel an insatiable need to possess one such humidor, I strongly encourage you to pick up an epoxy or silicon that you can safely apply to the edges of these to be sure that it will seal properly. Also if you live in an area where temperature fluctuates heavily like the Northeast, I suggest seasoning your humidor every 6 months or so when you turn on your heat/AC.
Gadgets, unfortunately, have a tendency to start to rack up quite the bill. Before pulling the trigger, stop into a brick and mortar, most of the time they’ll be accommodating in letting you try or play around with some of the lighters and cutters before purchase, thus letting you find the right one, and hopefully keep your grand total to a minimum.
**Due to technical difficulties photographs will be added later, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause**