Lighters - The Ultimate Cuban cigar accessory
The overwhelming majority of Cuban cigar lovers will have a vast array of tools, toys and accessories which are as important to them as the cigars themselves. A blunt or broken cutter can be devastating to the cigar experience, as can a tear to the wrapper of a cigar not housed in a protective case when on the move. The humidors we use to store our collections are also intended as attractive ornaments for our homes and ashtrays should likewise be visually pleasing as well as functional. Each element of our Habanos moment should be perfect and, while there are many different facets to consider, one stands above the rest in terms of its importance: the lighter.
If a specifically-designed cigar cutter is unavailable an experienced smoker will find a way to use a kitchen knife, or even their fingernail, to remove the cap. If we have misplaced our ashtray then ash can tumble to the ground, when outside, or be placed on a plate or in a mug when indoors. Many obstacles can be overcome by the dedicated aficionado when looking to enjoy a smoke. Many, but not all: there is no substitute for fire.
If a cigar cannot be lit, it cannot be enjoyed. A good lighter, one which ignites reliably and stands up to the rigours of use, is the ultimate essential for a cigar smoker, and the first accessory the novice should invest in. Given the continued tightening of legislation in countries across the globe, a lighter which will resist the wind as far as possible is preferable. Attention should also be paid to aesthetics: a cigar is a luxury moment – as such the tools used to facilitate it should be of a certain standard as well. Here are a few brands who cater admirably for our ignition requirements.
In 1872 the then 25-year-old Simon Tissot Dupont began making luxury travel luggage for the upper echelons of French society. The business grew rapidly, being taken on by his sons in 1919 and becoming famous across the world for their exquisite design and unrivalled craftsmanship. In 1941, the Maharajah of Patiala commissioned 100 handbags for the ladies of his harem, each with its own lighter. It was for this order that the luxury lighter concept was born. Today, cigar lighters are one of the most popular and recognisable products in the ST Dupont range. They regularly collaborate with Habanos SA for anniversary editions and are associated with some of the most famous smokers in history – Pablo Picasso once personalised his own collection of 3 lighters with small artworks, and a collection of homage editions exists today. Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, Marilyn Monroe and Karl Lagerfeld were all known to love the combination of form and function in their Dupont lighters – high praise for this wonderful brand from some of the most stylish people of recent times.
Elie Bleu, like ST Dupont, were born in Paris, albeit over 100 years after their illustrious neighbours. Their origins are in cabinet-making, some of the finest woodworking and marquetry artisans in the world having crossed the doors of their workshop to create astonishing hand-made humidors and cabinets that grace the homes of luminaries from Barack Obama to Pope Benedict XVI. Natural, then, that they have expanded into lighters and ashtrays. Elie Blue products are all finished by hand to extremely exacting standards, their lighters come in both soft-flame and jet-flame varieties and all are beautiful objects to carry on your person. They may be significantly younger than their fellow Parisians, but their pursuit of excellence has been relentless, leading to a meteoric rise to the upper levels of esteem in the eyes of both the cigar world and the wider luxury market. Their success is a result of passion for and devotion to their craft. When you add an Elie Bleu product to your collection, you mark yourself out as a collector with knowledge and taste.
Xikar are by far the youngest brand in this collection, having only hit the scene in 1996, but they have fast become one of the most popular in the cigar world. Originally conceived by its 2 founders as a maker of cigar cutters – Messrs Van Keppel and Almsberger having grown tired of the poor performance of the ones they had used before – in 25 short years it has become a leading name in travel humidors and lighters as well. Xikar products are identifiable by their rugged, robust aesthetics – almost tactical in their appearance, but built to last and second to none in terms of function. Their tabletop lighters can be found in some of the finest cigar lounges in the world, while the sheer power of their quad-flame jet lighters makes them popular with smokers who love the great outdoors. Xikar are a true American success story, and make solid, dependable equipment that will last for years to come.