They’re compact, travel-friendly and easy to use. Punch cutters are simple, no-hassle tools for opening the cap of your cigar. While an improper slice with a guillotine or V-cutter may result in your puro unraveling or smoking poorly, a punch cut brings precision to your smoking game.
Most punches feature a retractable, cylindrical blade that, when rotated, creates a circular hole in the head of your cigar. Compared with the severe, angular chopping action of other cigar tools, punch cuts make small, precise openings. There are two advantages: a smaller cut means fewer loose bits of tobacco in your mouth and more concentrated flavor delivered to your palate.
The main drawback to punch cutters is that they can’t be used on cigars with pointed heads. Still, cigar connoisseurs would be wise to keep one of these easy-to-tote devices handy. The three punch cutters shown here each feature a key ring so you can attach it to your car keys.
Alfred Dunhill’s The White Spot series of cigar accessories introduces one particularly fine example. The cutter, called Lines Silver Plate Bullet Punch ($330, bottom), is equipped with a surgical steel blade that can be raised or lowered with a twist of the silver-plated shell. The circular blade measures 7 mm in diameter.
French luxury brand S.T. Dupont also presents a compelling punch cutter. The MaxiJet Cigar Punch Cutter Black As Night is made with a chrome and black lacquer finish ($130, middle). Pressing down on the chrome portion acts as a lever, raising the device’s razor sharp, 8.5-mm blade. Releasing the metal button retracts it.
Brizard & Co. presents a new approach called The Trilogy Cigar Punch ($45, top), which unscrews into two sections. The lower portion has a sharp, pointed spear that tapers to 3.17 mm. The idea is to drill three miniature holes (a trilogy) in a triangular shape in the top of your cigar. Before lighting, Brizard recommends blowing gently into the foot of the cigar to expel any tobacco fragments. Made of surgical steel, it comes with a protective carrying case in a variety of genuine leathers.