While you don't absolutely need a cigar cutter to smoke a fine cigar—you could always use your teeth to nip off a bit of the closed cap—every aficionado should own one. And when you truly immerse yourself in the cigar lifestyle, you'll find that one simply isn't enough. You ought to own a variety of cutters.
Cigar cutters can be beautiful things, and none are more elegant or stylish than a full-sized pair of cigar scissors. A fine example is the Donatus Big Cut.
Made in Germany of sturdy Solingen steel, the Donatus Big Cut has supple curves, wide (and very sharp) jaws capable of cutting the fattest of cigars and a smooth motion that cuts your cigars in style. The pair we sampled was done in satin finish and had just the right amount of heft.
Lopping the head off of a cigar with a guillotine is rather straightforward—so long as you place the cutter in the proper position, you're not likely to make a mistake. Cigar scissors take a bit more practice, which is part of their charm.
In the case of the Donatus, you place your thumb in the circular hole on one of the scissor arms, and put your index, middle and ring fingers in the large and curved opening on the other. Open the jaws of the scissors, place them at a slight angle to the head of the cigar, and close the jaws very slowly, bringing the cutter perpendicular to the top of the cigar as they close. The result is a clean, impressive cut. It takes a few tries to master the motion.
Cigar scissors aren't easily transported and the good ones do not come cheap. This model runs for $180 and are ideal complements for a smoking room.
For a further discussion of cigar scissors and a description of two other varieties, see the Good Life Guide in the June 2011 Cigar Aficionado, coming to newsstands soon.
Watch this video explaining how to use a pair of cigar scissors.