Essential cigar accessories: What you really need
When starting out in the exciting world of cigars, it is very easy to develop what is affectionately called CAD, or Cigar Acquisition Disorder. It is also possible to be bitten by the CAAD (Cigar Accessory Acquisition Disorder) as well. But just what exactly do you need, besides the obvious cigar, in order to partake in this wonderful hobby?
I’m going to share with you my list of essential cigar accessories – some perhaps obvious, others not so, and none of them needing to cost an arm and a leg. After all cigars are expensive enough as it is.
Cigar Accessories Part 1: Smoking a cigar
Cutting a cigar
Before you can smoke a cigar, you first need to cut it. It is entirely possible to spend thousands of pounds on a cutter and as much again on a lighter, but do you really need to?
My original cutter, was a freebie that was put in my bag when I bought my first hand rolled cigars. It served me well for many years and I haven’t felt the urge to replace it with anything lavish. Indeed many of my cutters have been purchased on eBay and were relatively inexpensive.
One thing to be aware of with cutters though is that they will dull over time and can end up shredding the head of your cigar if you’re not careful – so don’t be afraid to replace them when needed. There is nothing worse than ending up with a mouthful of tobacco crumbs from the head of your cigar because your cutter wasn’t up to the job!
Lighting a cigar
Once cut you have to light a cigar, so the next essential cigar accessory is a lighter. I have several jet lighters ranging from less than £5 up to about £20. Ironically I’ve had more issues with my more expensive lighters than my cheaper ones! I have also found that some cigar shops will include either a lighter or box of matches in your bag when make a purchase.
When I’m out and about, I make a point of taking cheaper lighters with me , or even one of those aforementioned freebies. Yes, a Colibri or Xikar have a certain prestige about them, but a lighter half the price will work just as well – and you won’t be so frustrated when you inevitably lose it somewhere.
Ashtrays and rests
Ashtrays can be a collectors item and I will admit to having a small collection myself, some of which I have inherited or picked up from thrift stores. But to get started, a shallow bowl will do, assuming you have something else to stand your cigar on. I’ve got several cigar rests that all pack down and can easily fit in your wallet or on your keyring, and I always have one with me when I’m likely to be smoking away from home.
If you’re into DIY, you can easily make your own cigar rest by cutting a couple of notches into some thin pieces of plywood or similar to create an x-frame.
Cigar Accessories Part 2: Storing your cigars
One of the most ubiquitous of cigar accessories is a humidor and who doesn’t want a beautiful desktop or cabinet humidor sat out on the side to house their collection of cigars? They do look impressive but can be expensive and need regular looking after. The less costly and easier to maintain option is what is affectionately known as a tupperdor.
I have a couple of these and still use them, especially when I’m sorting through my cigars, re-seasoning my humidors, or travelling. All you need is an airtight clip lock container and the appropriate size of Boveda pack or similar. You will want a 60g humidity pack for every 25 cigars that your container can hold. I go for 69% humidity but you can get them at various percentages from 62% upwards the most commonly used for cigars being between 65 and 72%.
When out and about travelling, it is always nice to have at least a couple of cigars with you because you never know when you might have opportunity to sit back and enjoy one. So a travel case is another one of those handy cigar accessories. There are all sorts of styles for different numbers of cigars varying in price from about £15 upwards, but how important are they?
Yes, they look sophisticated and there is something exciting about sliding open a slip case to reveal your cigars – but I started out with the cardboard holders that I got when buying cigars, various cigar tubes that I kept from the tubo cigars I’ve smoked, and humidity bags that cigars are sometimes sent in. Any of these make an ideal and inexpensive alternative to a cigar travel case.
Cigar Accessories Part 3: What you hadn’t thought of…
Keeping track of your favourites
Having covered the essential cigar accessories, what about those other extras that you might not have considered?
Right from the start I’ve kept a list of what cigars I’ve smoked, tasting notes and scores. In fact I have built up a veritable library of notebooks and folders. Over the years it has really helped me to understand the sort of cigars I enjoy, those I am likely to enjoy, and those that I might want to avoid.
If this sounds like a good idea to you, why not get yourself a cigar journal or just a lined notebook and keep a pen or pencil nearby. Along with this I also keep a cigar tasting wheel like this one. These has been an indispensable accessory in helping me narrow in on flavour profiles for my tasting notes and cigar reviews.
Taking it to the nub
If you have watched any of my cigar review videos, you will probably have seen me nub a cigar using one of my daggers. I love them and they are never far away when I savouring a cigar. There are so many different ones available including customised ones they too can become collectable cigar accessories.
The one I use most when I’m out and about though started out life as a cocktail stick. I have also seen people use corn forks and with their two prongs, they have the distinct advantage of stopping your cigar from spinning around and you accidentally ending up with the wrong end in your mouth.
You can also get cigar daggers included as a multi-tool with a perfect draw tool, although I have never really needed one of these.
Keeping things tidy
That brings me to the final, and probably the most random of my essential cigar accessories. A blusher brush!
If you’re like me, you will probably sit at or near a table with your ashtray to hand. No matter how careful we are, some ash is inevitably going to miss the ashtray. It isn’t always practical to have a vacuum cleaner on hand, so I keep a blusher brush nearby to simply sweep up the mess ensuring that it doesn’t end up getting on my sleeves! Now would you have thought of this?
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