Cigar Aficionado

Prometheus Ultimo

Most Prometheus lighters, such as the Hammer X and Apex, have a familiar signature design, which features a slim, elongated block-like shape. For this reason, you may not recognize Prometheus's Ultimo lighter.

A bit of a departure from the norm, the Ultimo is the modified design of the Prometheus Zeus and Magma lighters which were introduced in 1997 and 1999 respectively. It has a flatter, squared-off look, and is fired by pressing an ignition switch on one side of the body. Compress the button lightly with your thumb or the inside of your palm, and a miniature sliding door located over the flame portal draws back automatically, allowing the torch flame to blaze up -- reminiscent of the S.T. Dupont X-Tend design.

It's a very comfortable construction. The lighter, being thin, is easily transportable, and the side-mounted squeeze ignition feels natural. It can lock up if pressed down crookedly or too quickly, which is the result of a safety switch installed in case the lighter is accidentally lit upside down. The door over the flame chamber helps keep it free of dust particles and things that could clog the fuel line. The lighter remains fairly cool on the outside when you have lit the flame even for more than the usual five to ten seconds.

Released in the fall of 2004, the basic model, the 07, is available in chrome, nickel or gun metal and has a $69.95 price tag; the Ultimo 23, which is palladium-plated, retails for $99; the Ultimo X4, encased in palladium and sporting a built-in punch cutter, retails for $125.

The Ultimo and other Prometheus International Inc. lighters are available at retail tobacconists.