Cutting and lighting a cigar is like any other skill: it takes practice to perfect it. First, I recommend that you get a good cutter that will not become dull after repeated use. A dull cutter will simply maul the cigar, not cut it, and you can easily ruin an otherwise good smoke. A double-edged guillotine cutter is perhaps the best method of cutting. Place the cigar firmly against both blades, and clip the head off with a quick stroke. The double-blade setup achieves the cleanest cut possible with t he least amount of damage to your cigar.
Burley tobaccos are air cured and harvested by the stalk. The air curing process which takes place in an open barn under natural weather conditions takes 4 to 6 weeks. The leaves will turn from green to light tan or brown. The world's best Burleys are grown in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Virginia tobaccos are cured after they are harvested, leaf by leaf in the fields, when the tobacco is ripe. The green leaves turn yellow during the curing time. Virginia tobaccos are grown in many countries around the world. The Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia produce outstanding flue cured tobaccos.
Breaking in your new pipe is a crucial step in making a sweet tasting, long lasting pipe. It takes time, patience and skill. It is an investment whose rewards will be reaped manifold. The goal when breaking in a pipe is to remove any remaining impurities in the briar and to develop a uniform cake around the wall of the entire smoking chamber. The cake, like the firebrick in a fireplace, serves to insulate the briar while reducing the possibility of burning out your new pipe. As your pipe develops a carbon cake, the flavor of your tobacco will change and you will experience a cooler, drier, more mellow and richer smoke.