WARNING: SMOKING KILLS KA MATE KOE I TE KAI HIKARETI

The Essentials Guide - Executive Summary

This is Part One of a Four Part series on The Essentials Guide

Today I will give you a top-down essentials guide to what you need to enjoy your cigar hobby; from the Novice to the Explorer right through to the Expert Passionado (passionate aficionado).

At no point am I going to go into the realms of the extreme (aka you won Lotto), this is a realistic guide so you can make some realistic decisions.

 

Novice Level

Essentially this is very minimum you need to get started; its a start and you've got to start somewhere...

Basic cigar cutter ($9.95)
Great for you first handful of cigars, but nothing more

Soft flame lighter (Bic) ($3.00)
If it is good enough for Skip Martin owner of RoMa Craft Tobac, it's good enough for anyone

You can get a Firebird lighter here, handy for touching-up cigars ($29.95)

Cedar Spills ($14.95)
Not needed, but a nice touch and the best way to lite a cigar

Storage
At this point, just storing a couple of cigars in the Ziplock bag is okay; just keep them out of the sun and somewhere around 20C in temperature

So there you are, for under $50 you can be on your way (excluding cigars of course) with your hobby. Obviously you'll also want to consider some libations (bourbon, rum, single malt whisky etc.) to pair with the cigars you have selected for yourself.

Explorer Level

You've found your groove, enjoying some cigars but want to expand and explore this hobby a bit further with a bit of refinement; also that basic cutter will do more damage than good after 10 or so cigars.

Cigar Cutter upgrade time - starting from $59.95 to $149.95 you can pickup a serious double-blade guillotine cigar cutter; one that potentially can last you a lifetime (Xikar products carry a lifetime replacement warranty, something I've enjoyed endlessly over the past 25+ years).

Colibri (the other major brand we sell) also have fantastic cutters, but they only carry a 2 year replacement warranty for faulty goods (not blunt).

You can find Xikar Xi2 cutters here (nylon-body) and Xikar Xi1 cutters here (steel-body) and also Colibri cutters here - Colibri does make a nice SV Cutter (straight cutter and V-cutter combined).

Why a double-blade guillotine cutter? This is the primary cut of choice and for the vast majority it is what is used all the time. Now is probably not the time to get a V-cutter or Punch-cutter; but you can explore them if you wish - what you need is a solid, reliable and sharp double-blade guillotine to begin with that won't get blunt and crush your cigars.

Cigar Lighter time - here you really should consider TWO options; firstly a soft-flame lighter for starting your cigar; the cooler flame ensures the tobacco isn't scorched and burnt and a jet-flame lighter for touch-ups as you go (think precision flame).

You can find Soft-flame lighters here (intended for cigars, not pipes) and you can find Single jet-flame lighters here, Double jet-flame lighters here or flat-flame lighters here.

The Xikar Meridian Soft-flame is my absolute go-to cigar lighter for the record and I prefer the Xikar Verano flat-flame for my jet-flame option.

So, your Cigar Lighter investment can run from $74.95 through to $214.95 for the soft-flame (yes, absolutely worth the money for the Meridian) and anything from $29.95 up for a jet-flame.

Cigar Storage time - about now you are probably looking for a proper storage solution for your growing collection; you've discovered what you like and want to have some favourites on hand and not just purchase a few every week as you go.

Well, here's the thing with Humidors - everyone starts out thinking they'll just need a small one, for a handful of your favourites. Two problems here, the small humidors are generally not that well crafted and secondly; you'll soon want a bigger humidor (trust me, it happens to just about everyone).

The other thing about humidors, they actually work best when relatively full because the cigars themselves add/assist the humidity in the humidor (its not just a cheesy sales pitch).

At the very least I would consider the Craftsman Bench Manhattan or The Chalet range; skip The Chateau, those are largely purchased as retirement gifts. So consider $99.95 to $184.95 range for an entry-level humidor and don't forget to get a bottle of PG Solution to season and maintain your humidor.

Lastly the analogue hygrometer and old-fashioned humidification device that come with every humidor should just be thrown in the bin (sorry) - cigars are not cheap, do not rely on a $2 hygrometer to keep them safe; here you want to invest in a Xikar Digital Hygrometer and start using the Boveda 2-way humidity system (accurate and very easy to use).

All up - the Explorer Level investment would be around $600 to get a high-quality cigar cutter, a couple of purpose-specific lighters and a humidor. 

 

 

Expert Level Passionado

Without going into the simply extravagant aspects of cigar accessories and humidors; my consideration for what an Expert level passionado would be that you have now acquired a V-cutter, maybe a Punch-cutter and more than likely decked out your favourite space with a nice ashtray.

You may have also looked at the Xikar XO double-blade guillotine cutters, these are a geared-cutter so both blades move in unison (although some cigar aficionados still manage to break them...).

Also there is a good chance you have upgraded your humidor or at least started to look at larger humidors, its a natural progression just like appreciating and enjoying wine, whisky, rum or bourbon...

If you have found yourself setting up a nice space, you may have also looked at the more permanent Tabletop cigar cutters and cigar lighters as an extra to your growing range of accessories (it happens).

Lastly you may have joined one or both of the Cigar of the Month Clubs to expand your tastes and appreciation, PASSIONADOS delivers a cigar for every Saturday of the month and was created with the idea you and a friend would join and both make time each month to get together, discuss the wins and losses in life and make an effort to connect and talk through life and support each others mental wellness.

HEMINGWAY is what some consider The Aficionados club, delivering hard-to-get, brand new releases and great daily enjoyables.

Both clubs connect online and in person, with regular Zoom chats to promote mental wellness and support each other which was extremely beneficial throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns and still continue on now as a great way for people to connect and share around a common enjoyment.

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