Cigar Aficionado

Blazer is Back

When Blazer first introduced its cigar torch in the early 1990s, it was unclear how smokers would respond. The company was primarily involved in supplying torches to the automotive and dental industries, and manufacturing cigar lighters was new and unexplored territory. But the very effective, nifty little torch found a warm welcome in the pockets of aficionados.

By 1996, with the cigar boom in full swing, the popularity of the Blazer turbo torch lighter was soaring. Consumers appreciated the quality of the product and demand skyrocketed. Then Blazer began running into problems. Companies began copying the Blazer's design and, soon, Blazer look-alikes filled the market. Eventually, Blazer was forced to sue several companies that were manufacturing shoddy imitations. According to Patti Morgan, Blazer's sales manager since 1990, the lawsuits were lengthy and expensive, and last year Phillip Simon, the owner of Blazer, decided to go out of business.

Just when it seemed as if Blazer was finished, the company was purchased by dental suppliers Max Berkovitz and Jeff Howard, who soon created a new Blazer turbo torch for cigar smokers. Manufactured in Japan at the same factory that made the original Blazers, the new lighter features the same adjustable, windproof flame as the original, but with a new design they say is more difficult to imitate. The lighter is refillable and has a window that allows you to see how much butane is left. The new Blazer is available in eight colors and retails for $69.95.

For more information on this and other Blazer products, call 718-728-9550. Or, to have an old Blazer lighter repaired, call 631-694-5058.

--Mike Marsh