One thing I never foresaw in my foray into the cigar smoking lifestyle was the amount of cigar accessories I would accumulate over the years. For the beginning smoker or the seasoned BOTL/SOTL, accessories are just as much collector’s items as cigars can be. Today I want to talk about the essential accessories of cigar smoking and leave the variety and number that you acquire up to you!
First things first. If you are a cigar aficionado you must have a safe and comfortable place for your cigars to hang out and rest before you decide to choose one to join you for some cigar meditation. Humidors are sacred to cigars. They can make or break a good cigar and sometimes take a good cigar to a great level. Preparing, seasoning and maintaining your humidor(s) is a topic for another day but nonetheless, a very important one, so do your research and get a seasoned smokers advice when first prepping a new addition to your cigar family.
The variety and style of humidors is overwhelming so start with something that is well constructed, appeals to your personal style and will take good care of your cigars. Be prepared to have more than one humidor though. What starts out as a necessary accessory many times turns into a prized possession. The practicality is important too. Not only will you want to have the “main” humidor but you will be needing a travel humidor because after all, who can leave home without having a tasty cigar at their beck and call! Personally I currently own a wineador, an ammo-dor, a coolerdor and a couple small wooden humidors. Oh yes, I forgot to mention the four sizes of travel humidors I own along with numerous leather finger cases. See what I mean? It can get out of hand quickly but oh so willingly.
There are many good “deals” out there today also. Buy a box of cigars and get a free humidor or travel case. These are oftentimes great deals for the beginning cigar smoker who hasn’t blossomed yet, but you get what you pay for, or in this case what you don’t pay for, many times. You will want to take the time to research and get sage advice as to what type of humidors and price ranges you can expect in order to purchase a quality and well sealed box for your treasures. Being lined with Spanish Cedar is not simply enough to do the job. The seal and ability to “hold” the humidity settings is critical to cigar life.
Well now that you have gotten that gorgeous humidor squared away, let’s look at some of the other items that are essential to your craft. Cutters. The variety and types are more plentiful than humidors I suspect. I actually have a box that I use to keep all my cutting tools in one place. There was a time I’d find them all over the house and vehicle and would be going crazy trying to find the one I wanted that day. Now I’ve come to a place of organization so do it first before you get in a mess like I did!
You know what’s going to happen, right? You will wind up with at minimum one of each of these types of cutters. Should I do a straight cut, a “V” cut, punch or some other creative configuration that the cigar world may dream up. Oh and don’t forget…….many lighters come with a variety of punch cutters integrated in them. I have my fancy cutters for when I’m out in public and want to stay classy. I’ve got my home cutters that are used and abused daily. I’ve got scissors, I’ve got knives, I’ve got………and so it goes on. One of the coolest things about cutters, and lighters as we shall see, is that we tend to collect then through cigar tasting events, cigar shows and as freebies with our cigar purchases. I can’t lie and say that there hasn’t been times that my cigar purchase hasn’t been swayed by the potential for a new cutter and/or lighter thrown in as incentive to purchase!
Again, as far as use, only you will ultimately decide what type of cutter you want to use for specific vitola and ring gauge cigars. Do your research and ask questions of your seasoned cigar smoker friends and experiment with what works best for you.
Now to one of my favorite collectors item; lighters. I could have a different one for everyday of the year if I’d let myself. There are soft flame, torches (one, two, three and quad flames), tabletop and personal lighters. Again, I have learned to keep a box with all the lighters in one place. You will develop your favorites and those that light the best on a consistent basis but also those you love for their looks even though they are temperamental at best.
I use many different lighters depending on my mood but I have a few favorites. One is actually a pipe/cigar lighter. It offers the best of both worlds in that it has one button for the single torch and one lever for a soft flame. I use both in the course of smoking a cigar at times. Many times I toast my cigar with the torch and then use the soft flame to do the first light. Again, this is an accessory of personal preference and as such you may decide to use different lighters for different vitolas of cigars. I am strictly a single torch user when lighting a perfecto. I am able to have better control of the flame in this case over a very small area. For a large gauge cigar I will often use a double or triple torch.
Lighters are like jewelry. Ever spend time in the cigar lounge and at some point or another a fellow BOTL or SOTL will comment on someone’s lighter? It’s part of a personal statement of who we are and where we’ve been. Cigar events, tastings and special offer incentives are great ways to get some fantastic lighters on the cheap or for free.
Next up are ashtrays. From the multi group to the Stinky brand “anti-social” ashtray, there is something for everyone. Again, collecting ashtrays from cigar events and such is a great way to increase your collection. I know for myself I have a group ashtray for guests, a personal for myself, a car ashtray, a gal cave ashtray and on and on it goes.
I’ve collected several different style car ashtrays. When me and my cigar family head to events such as CigarFest we know that smoking in the vehicle is a must and so we go prepared with a single ashtray for each person. In my gal cave at home I tend to use the “anti-social” ashtray but lately I’ve been foraying into other small, single and very convenient glass holder ashtrays. As with every other cigar accessory we’ve talked about, there is something for everyone’s individual tastes.
Well we’ve covered the main staples of cigar accessories, but there is one more that I am including because I think it should be a mandatory part of the basic cigar smokers tool kit. I’m talking about the draw / nub poker. I was remiss on owning one of these fantabulous little tools and found myself being frustrated from time to time with a tight draw cigar with great taste or getting to the nub while still wanting more and burning the tips of my fingers. My first one was a homemade gadget from a fellow BOTL of mine. A cork top with a long metal spear that I could use to poke my cigar and loosen the draw. I still have it and use it mostly at home but when I’m out and about I tend to carry more commercial types.
The most elaborate of the pokers that I’ve seen is the one pictured above left. That’s a great tool to keep in your lounge locker and always comes in handy for any BOTLs / SOTLs that are smoking with you and having a tough time with the draw of their cigar. You will be the lounge hero or heroine with that nifty bugger at the ready! The poker above right reminds me of a cocktail spear. I usually have one with me and for the girlie in me I love to nub a cigar while delicately holding the shiny silver spear in my hand! Usually gets a few laughs too as it certainly let’s people know you are getting every stoke of that cigar you can.
So there you have it folks! The essentials of the cigar smokers tool kit. So many choices but so important to have. If you are looking to surf on the Internet while smoking a great cigar this is it. I’m a frequent eBay watcher and will find some of the neatest ashtrays, lighters and other accessories around. Amazon is another site that offers a veritable smorgasbord of accessories. The humidor is the only item that I will say you should see in person or at minimum, do your research on the specs and reviews before ordering online. Otherwise, have fun with it and get those accessory collections going! Not only will you enjoy yourself but your cigars will love you too!
Until next time
“Stay smokey and be Blessed.” “I know I am!”
~ aka “Queen of Cigars”