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Light it Up

From Traditional Flints to Turbo Flames, There Is a Wide Range of Choices for High-Quality Cigar Lighters
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

Like many cigar smokers, you're relegated out of doors whenever you want to savor your smoke. But lighting cigars outside can be tricky. Although cedar strips and matches are sometimes the preferred tools to light a cigar, they can be difficult to use when the wind is blowing fiercely and you are fumbling for match after match. Fortunately, several top accessory companies have designed high-powered, butane-based lighters to combat this problem.

From new designs to old standbys, companies such as Alfred Dunhill, S.T. Dupont, Colibri, KGM and Savinelli are taking lighter design to the next level. Each company has a unique take on the market and its customers' wants and needs. Cigar Aficionado has put lighters from the five companies to the test for design, function and reliability.

Alfred Dunhill, the British-based firm known for its innovative designs, has created several pieces of quality craftsmanship. The Charleston Collection Giant table lighter with clock is an imposing sight. Based on an Alfred Dunhill clock lighter from 1929, Dunhill has made 200 of these faithful reproductions, constructed of solid brass and plated in both silver and gold. It is a magnificent decoration piece that would complement any home or office.

Although this lighter runs on petrol rather than butane, it will light cigars adequately if you avoid placing the cigar directly into the flame. But overall, it certainly has a distinction all its own. $2,800.

Conceived "exclusively for the cigar smoker," the Alfred Dunhill Unique cigar lighter is made of silver hobnail with gold trim (you can choose from silver, gold, or gold and silver plate). It has an anti-lock flint chamber and employs Dunhill's "antique open mechanism." The flip cap has a lip that makes it easy to open.

The Unique is smooth and easy to grip and operates with two simple motions. This is a solid piece that is easy to spark. The hobnail finish is very tactile and the design is classic. $330-$415.

Dunhill has also developed the Charleston companion sets. These sets--lighter, cuff links and fountain pen--are also based on original Alfred Dunhill designs from the 1920s. Constructed of sterling silver, they are beautifully lacquered in an Art Deco motif of sky blue or black geometric patterns. Unlike antique Dunhill lighters, these lighters operate entirely on butane, not petrol.

The lighter works easily and employs the same methods as all Dunhill lighters. Due to its silver jacket, it is a little heavy for its size. Dunhill's English craftsmen constructed these sets with infinite care and detail. $2,900 for the set.

S.T. Dupont of Paris has been fashioning lighters for upscale clients for more than 50 years. Dupont takes a very traditional approach, favoring simplicity and elegance over more avant-garde designs. Its newest additions are variations on original Dupont designs from the Second World War.

Two of Dupont's top sellers are its Gatsby and Montparnasse lines. Introduced at Cigar Aficionado's November 1995 New York Big Smoke, the popular Gatsby macassar ($575) is a flint lighter wrapped in Chinese lacquer. The lacquer is dyed in brown and ivory pastes, to give the lighter a wood-like finish. It is small and fits well in the hand. The Montparnasse ($645) is made of brushed palladium with gold.

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