A trend for light and thin designs reflects that cigar-accessory makers have wised up to the idea that a lot of smoking is done on the go. But the ultimate in travel-friendly cutters—a tool that attaches to a key ring and makes a perfect cut every time—has been around for generations. Now, punch cutters are getting some improvements that make them even more versatile and lightweight.
The punch cutter is a difficult-to-misplace tool whose cut offers a few perks, including that it's nearly impossible to screw up. You simply press the circular blades into the head of a cigar, turn gently, and voila! A small amount of cap is removed. Some cigarians prefer this perforation because it leaves much of the cap intact and feels smooth on the lips. The small hole not only concentrates smoke to the palate, but also exposes less of the binder and filler, thus reducing the chances of loose tobacco getting into your mouth. If you find the tiny ring results in tar buildup, puff slow. The other drawback is they work only on the flat head of a parejo. A figurado requires the head-lopping ability of a guillotine or scissors cutter.
We looked at some novel takes on punches, each made in stainless steel and including a mechanism to pop out the cut cap. New for 2016 is the solidly built Davidoff Duocut (far right, standing and prone, $199). This punch includes 8 mm and 11 mm blades, with the former meant to cut smaller cigars and the latter intended for 50-plus ring smokes. Turn clockwise to expose the smaller blade and turn counterclockwise to extend the 11 mm.
The highlight of Adorini's Double Punch (left, standing and prone, $45) are its 9 mm and 13 mm blades, which are manufactured in Solingen, Germany, renowned as "The City of Blades." Their edge is only 1/50th of a millimeter, making them ultra sharp, and the device is held together by a strong magnet.
Xikar's 007 Twist ($45, silver, standing second from right) sports a 7 mm blade and weighs a mere 1.3 ounces. A mechanism locks the blade in two positions, giving you the option to bore a shallow or deep hole.
Now that you've found the perfect punch, just don't lose your keys.