Thursday, April 10, 2014

Xikar EXII Liga Privada Review

Xikar EXII Liga Privada Lighter Review
Xikar EXII Liga Privada Soft Flame Review
  Here we have possibly the most popular modern soft flame lighters used for firing your favorite cigar by Xikar. This is the EXII Liga Privada that produces a single wind proof soft flame. I consider this a limited edition in that it will not be made on a regular basis. Well, with this specific Liga Privada No9 design. The No9 cigar by Drew Estates has been a massive success since released. The Liga Privada line in general has a huge loyal fan base. The combination of Xikar and Drew Estates makes perfect sense. Two powerhouses joining forces to create what for some would be the "grail" lighter.
  This EXII is done in a high polish finish, with very solid construction to be expected by Xikar. High polish to me is like a black car, nothing beats it visually when it's clean. I use this correlation with EXII Liga Privada because it loves finger prints. Granted, this is to be expected from anything high polish. I was immediately impressed with the size of the lighter. I was not expecting it to be as large as it is. I prefer a little larger than smaller. It measures 2.6" tall, 1.6" wide, and .6" thick. Due to the size of the EX series it is easy to grip, feeling very secure in the hand.
  The lid flips up responsively with a simple flick of the thumb. Xikar's soft flame is a bit of a hybrid flame in my opinion. It is a powerful wind proof soft flame compared to that of a Bic or Zippo. You can see the difference in the flame in the pic below. The beauty of this is the flame does not "flicker" around nearly as much as traditional soft flame. The advantage here is a more precise lighting experience if there is any type of breeze. Here on CLR we consider this the best soft flame lighter. Alec Bradley's The Burner gets the best tabletop soft flame vote. The EX has a large fuel tank and an easy to use oversized fuel adjustment wheel.
  The lighter is pure stunner, with the Liga Privada lion and "9" design predominantly displayed on both sides of this EXII. As with most things in life quality comes at a higher price, the EXII list at $99.99. If you are a soft flame fan and fan of the Liga Privada series it would be hard to go wrong with this offering. This lighter can be found at Lighters Direct. Currently, if you use the CLR10 promo code it will shave off an additional 10%!

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
9.0 - Aesthetics
9.5 - Finish/Construction
9 - Flame
9 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 8.9

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - no proof lifetime warranty, best soft flame CLR has tested
Consideration - finish holding up over time

Thursday, March 6, 2014

ST Dupont Minijet Lighter Review

ST Dupont Minijet Lighter
ST Dupont Minijet Torch Lighter Review
  Pre-warning, this is not a "fanboy" S.T. Dupont review. That said, S.T. Dupont is well overdue on CLR for a proper review. Most know that S.T. Dupont is steeped in history and for many the holy grail in the lighter industry. The two most popular lighters they sell today are the Minijet and Maxijet. I will be reviewing the MiniJet, a smaller version of the Maxijet.
  Upon arrival I was really surprised at the actual size of the lighter. Much smaller than I imagined for some reason. The Minijet is only 2.15 length x 1.25 width x .45 thickness. With its curved sides the lighter feels much smaller in the hand. No doubt this is a sexy little torch lighter, with its scooped top and overall thin shape. One side of the S.T. Dupont has an easy to use thumb action pusher. Once depressed the protective lid slides back in both directions to reveal the single jet flame. The beauty of the Minijet is the very strong blue wind resistant flame and S.T. Dupont's history of reliability. There is also a small fuel gauge window on the opposing side of the pusher.
  All that said, I am probably going to be in the minority with next part of my review. I was disappointed to see "China" prominently printed on the lower portion of the pusher. I feel it takes away from the mystique of owning a S.T. Dupont and cheapens the perception of the product. I do realize this is the world we live in, but did it have to be so obvious? If it would of been on the bottom of the lighter most would likely never notice. S.T. Dupont only offers a 3 year warranty on this lighter. At this price point I feel 3 years is a bit weak. 
  Overall, the Minijet is a beautiful lighter and very well made. If you are looking for the best in the industry S.T. Dupont is at the top of the list. One does not buy this lighter because it is a good deal. It's a lighter that can be handed down to the next generation, hard to put a price on that. The Minijet retails for $160 and the Maxijet retails for $200 and can be found for a bit less.

BEST Price CLR Found - Minijet and Maxijet

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
9.0 - Aesthetics
9.5 - Finish/Construction
7.5 - Flame
8.0 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
6.5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 8.1

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - well respected brand, solid construction and finish, reliable
Consideration - three year warranty

Friday, February 28, 2014

Siglo Bean Torch Lighter Review

Siglo Bean Torch Lighter
Siglo Bean Single Torch Lighter Review
  Siglo is relatively young company, launching in 2003 out of Hong Kong. Since then the brand has gained respect by putting out quality and contemporary designed lighters. Today I am taking a look at the Siglo Bean single torch. About a 1.5 years ago I reviewed the Alec Bradley Hendrex, exact same design and shape. Yep, exact same design, but with some positive notable differences. Unfortunately, I do not have the Hendrix anymore for an exact comparison.
  The red on this lighter is very deep in color, changing from a brighter red to a deeper maroon depending on how the light is reflecting on the varying curves. The Bean gets it's name from its shape. The lighter feels excellent in my hand, very comfortable fit with its smooth curvatures. This Siglo has a nice heft about it that I do not recall having with the Alec Bradley Hendrix. Also, the bean appears to have a much nicer finish. Hard to see in the picture "Siglo" is engraved into the case side, opposed to simply being printed on. The lid is somewhat unremarkable, flips backs easily on a small hinge.


  The thumb action pusher adds to the uniqueness aesthetically and in a strange way fun to operate. Once depressed it produces a strong wind resistant blue torch flame. Adjusting the flame is a bit of a pain requiring a screwdriver. This type of fuel adjustment has always been a sticking point here on CLR. Sometimes you are able to use a fingernail, I had no such luck with the Bean. On a positive note, the fuel tank is more than ample. Combine the amount of butane the tank holds and a single torch flame it will light up plenty of cigars before needing to be refueled. Lacking from the Bean are an integrated cigar punch/cutter and a fuel gauge window.
  The Siglo Bean is definitely a nice lighter. Though, at a price point of roughly $65 it's tough for me to justify personally. That said, if you are looking for a different lighter than typically seen at your local cigar shop that feels great in the hand it's worth consideration. Trusted Authorized Retailer found here Siglo Bean

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8.5 - Aesthetics
7.25 - Finish/Construction
7.5 - Flame
7.0 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
6.0 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.25

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - design/shape, strong single flame
Consideration - fuel adjustment, cost vs. value

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Xikar Xi3 STK Titanium Black Cutter

Xikar Xi3 STK Titanium Black Cutter
Xikar Xi3 STK Titanium Black Cutter Review
  The major downside to running this blog is I have become even more particular about my personal cigar accessories. I did not think that was possible. I have been looking for the right cutter when I am not using my V-cut. Admittedly, I do have a bit an issue with wanting the nicer accessories and this usually equates to more expensive. I am sure there are a few of you out there that can sympathize with this curse! 
  I considered Palio, no doubt they make a great cigar cutter. Two things for me personally that I am not a fan of with Palio. Neither of which have anything to do quality or performance. First, I like a bit heft, whether with my lighters or cutters. I love my Xikar V-cut, but in all actuality I would prefer it heavier as well. Secondly, the overall shape of the Palio does not do it for me aesthetically.
  After goofing around with a bunch of cutters I found the "one". Xikar's Xi3 300STK Titanium Cutter is near perfect. All stainless steel, making the STK their heaviest cutter. To put this in better perspective the Xi2 Granite cutter is only 1.5 ounces vs. 3 ounces for the Xi3 STK. I also did not want something too "blingy" or shiny. The "Titanium" in the name refers to the titanium nitride (TiN) treatment, which is a black vapor coating. This gives the cutter a matte blackish gray look. A great stealthy appearance that really appealed to me. Besides adding to the look, it also adds an additional layer of external protection. As with other Xi seriess Xikar uses 440 stainless steel, with a Rockwell hardness rating of 57 (HRC) for the blades. Notice before I wrote "near" perfect. This leads me to the one thing I would change. I would really like the cutter to be able to handle up to a 60 ring gauge cigar. There are probably good reasons it does not. My best guess would be the overall size of the lighter would be too large or hurt the overall aesthetics. 
  Lastly, this cutter is not cheap coming in at a suggested $89.99. You can get the same shape and blades at a much lower cost in the Xi1 & Xi2 offerings. Of course, it just so happened I had to have this one, which of course happens to be one of most expensive choices. Regrets? Not a chance, this STK rocks. It's built like a tank, looks stealthy, lifetime no proof warranty, and my search is finally over.
BEST Price CLR found here Xi3 STK

Saturday, February 1, 2014

JetLine Gotham Quad Lighter Review

JetLine Gotham Lighter
JetLine Gotham Quad Lighter
  For today's review CLR is hands on with the JetLine Gotham Quad Torch Lighter. Gotham is one serious little powerhouse. JetLine probably has more quad torch lighter offerings than any other brand.
  The lighter definitely has some nice features and delivers quite a punch at a retail price of $34.99. The construction is decent considering the price point, but do expect it last the test of time. Gotham is certainly not lacking in character department. Though, a little over stylized for CLR's liking. Over stylized is better than being a "plain Jane" aesthetically speaking. There are integrated ribbed rubber sections on the side of the lighter. Providing decent tactile feel for gripping and some visual appeal.
  A single action pusher flips up the lid to reveal four raging red windproof flames. Most torch lighters have the hotter blue flame. That said, JetLine is known for their powerful red flame. It should go without saying that the Gotham will have no issues taking down any ring gauge cigar put in its path. One major downside to burning quad flames is the immense fuel consumption. To help counter this JetLine integrated a good sized fuel gauge window as well as a very large fuel tank. One really cool feature is a push down 8mm cigar punch. There is a little lever on the backside that is easily pushed and slid over into a locked position. Sliding back out then retracts the cutter up into the body of the lighter. The fuel adjuster to refill with butane is a point of frustration, requiring a screwdriver to adjust. Always a pain to try to find the right size or have on hand for a quick refill.
  It hard to be overly critical of a lighter that offers as much as the JetLine Gotham given the price. Gotham would certainly make for conversation with your buddies or at the local B&M. All said, if looking for a quad torch, Gotham is worthy of serious consideration. Gotham is the best JetLine reviewed to date by CLR.

BEST Price CLR Found - Gotham

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
7.75 - Aesthetics
7 - Finish/Construction
9 - Flames
7.75 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8.5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 8.0

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 19 successful lights
Pros - quad red flames, integrated cutter, value
Consideration - fuel adjustment, long term durability

Monday, January 20, 2014

Battle of the Slim Cigar Lighters

Prometheus Retro Slim Black Label Stanley
Prometheus Retro vs. Black Label Stanley
  In the world of torch lighters slim does not usually come to mind. There are very few that are what CLR would consider truly slim. There is definitely a need and market for them. Occasionally at the local B&M someone will ask if anyone knows of any "good ones". An answer like the Axia or something of similar thickness is tossed out as an option, not truly "slim" in CLR's opinion. 
  Today CLR brings to the table a battle of two truly slim or "ultra slim" torch lighters for review. Enter the Prometheus Retro vs. the Black Label Stanley. They are quite similar in size, though, very different in cost and flame/ignition. The Retro pictured here is in the Wave pattern and comes in at only .25 inches thick! The Stanley comes in a hair over .25 inches. Only noticeable when both are laying flat side by side. Both lighters stand respectably at 3 inches tall.
Prometheus Retro Wave
Prometheus Retro Wave Review
  The Prometheus Retro in the Art Deco finishes list at $75 for the Wave, Vertical, Shaper Cut, or Black Lacquer. The Wave design is stunning in the flesh. The high polish and wave pattern is very well done. What enables this lighter to be ultra slim is the use of a flint ignition system. The commonly used and trusted piezo system can not fit into a body this thin. The flint gives the lighter the retro throwback vibe, while still giving cigar lovers the hot blue flame desired. Flipping the lid up reveals the flint wheel and single jet. Using the side thumb action pusher rotates the wheel against the flint. This creates a large bright spark, immediately transitioning into a blue torch. When the day comes to replace the flint there is a screw located on the bottom. Once removed, simply insert the new flint bar and screw back in.
Black Label Stanley
Black Label Stanley Review
  The Black Label Stanley made by Lotus is much more affordable at a list price of $29.99. Stanley is somewhat of a plain Jane, but she is slim no doubt. In similar fashion the lid flips and a side action pusher ignites the torch. Here is where the main difference between the two lighters is revealed. The Stanley does not use flint, it produces a windproof coil flame. You can see the difference in the flames very clearly in the pictures. Stanley's flame is more of a cone shape, this is due to the coil used. Pretty cool looking and not seen often in other lighters.

Black Label Stanley Flame
Prometheus Retro Flame
Prometheus Retro Flame




  Due to the thin designs of both lighters it comes as no surprise that both are lacking a cigar punch, fuel wheel adjustment (need screwdriver, etc.), and single step to ignition. Also lacking is a fuel gauge window. It would of been difficult to integrate this into the Retro and would of taken away from its aesthetic beauty. On the other hand CLR feels it would of been more achievable and appropriate for the Stanley. Both lighters handle smaller ring gauges without issue, CLR found larger gauges took a bit more work. This is to be expected from a single torch. The fuel tanks are not large, but no complaints. They simply do not burn through a lot fuel like multi-torch lighter would.
  Price aside the Prometheus Retro would be CLR's clear choice. The Retro is all class and well built. Retro is surprisingly fun to spark up every time. Retro is now one of CLR's favorite lighters reviewed, but did not score like one in ratings below. Retro does love fingerprints and is not shy on collecting little scratches quickly. On the other hand, the Black Label Stanley would make for a great utility lighter. Throw it in your pocket and not think twice, price point certainly helps here. 
Authorized Dealer - Retro or Stanley (10% OFF Code: CLR10)

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)

Prometheus Retro:                                   Black Label Stanley:
9 - Aesthetics                                       5 - Aesthetics
8.75 - Finish/Construction                       7.25 - Finish/Construction
6.75 - Flame                                        8 - Flame            
7.5 - Function & Adjustment                    7.5 - Function & Adjustment
7 - Value vs List Price                            8 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.8                                   CLR Final Score: 7.15