Friday, May 22, 2015

Visol Solt Cigar Cutter Review

Visol Solt Cutter Review
Visol Solt Cigar Cutter Review
  Generally, when I think of cigar cutters, I do not think of Visol. But why not? Visol makes some pretty nice budget friendly cutters. For a lower price point cutter I'm reviewing the Visol Solt (ref. VCUT900) cigar cutter in a silver plated finish.
  The size and the weight of the Solt cutter is great. I prefer a heavier cutter, this one comes in at a respectable 1.90 oz. The dimensions are a comfortable 2.05" x 1.60", with a very thin profile at .25". I like that, perfect size for the pants pocket. No automatic button or lever to retract the blade integrated into the Solt cutter. It is the ole' manual pull out, push in. The blade cuts at an angle, opposed to the half moon shape. Like the guillotines back in the day. The high polish finish is nice, though, it loves some fingerprints!
Visol Solt Cigar Cutter 
  This Visol cutter can only handle up to a 48 ring gauge cigar, that is a small rub when considering this cutter. That said, I did test it with larger ring gauges and it will definitely cut them, just not always up to the shoulder. Lastly, it can be engraved, nice idea for groomsmen, etc. The Visol Solt retails for $20 and of course can be found for less. Really a good value considering the construction and size, worth considering in the budget friendly category.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cigar Reserve Spills Review

Cigar Reserve Cedar Spills Review
Cigar Reserve Cedar Spills Review
  Time to mix it up a little bit around these parts on CLR. Yeah, I love my lighters, though, also appreciate the more reserved old school approach to firing up a favorite cigar. I always say, don't waste a good cigar using a crappy lighter. The same goes for using something else other than a lighter. Personally, I despise matches, the taste and smell of matches is a turn off for me. Cigar Reserve was gracious enough to provide me with some of their pride and joy cigar cedar spills. Sometimes generically referred to as cedar strips. For the record this is the only item I have accepted from a manufacturer for any review to date. I pride CLR on being biased free and will always note if it has been provided for free as is the case with this review.
Cigar Reserve Cedar SpillsCigar Reserve Cedar

  Fortunately, the Cigar Reserve cedar spills received have been a welcomed change from my day to day favorite lighter(s). Cigar Reserve uses only top grade Spanish cedar from Portugal and follows the process from beginning to end, guaranteeing a high quality product in a box sold. The spills are in the shape of a Spanish saber, great design visually and for lighting. When they arrived and I unboxed them my nose was immediately met with the lovely sent of cedar. How can you not love the smell of cedar?! This was prior to me even opening the box the spills are packaged in. Worth noting, the packaging is very well thought out, with slide out tray. These spills can be order standard or have them laser etched for a special occasion or event.
  I have used spills in the past, but upon initial light I could tell this something different all together. Simply light the tip of the spill and hold at the recommended 45 degree angle to begin the process. It did burn a bit quicker than I expected. The spill burned slow enough for me to use twice, whether a touch up or new cigar all together. To extinguish simply hold upright or a gentle blow to put out. I purposely pulled in smoke given off by the Spanish cedar and was able to pick up the flavor. Must say, I enjoyed the subtle hint of cedar I have never really picked up on when using cedar laying around at my local B&M. Cigar Reserve does it right, no doubt.
Cigar Reserve Cedar Etched
  Overall, I really enjoyed the Cigar Reserve product and will be a future customer. Don't get me wrong lighters are still my go to, but these spills are a great change of pace. Lastly, I recommend using indoors or with no outside breeze due to ash and not being wind resistant. If nothing else visit Cigar Reserve's website and have a look around. They are very responsive and professional.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Xikar Allume Single Torch Review

Xikar Allume Single Torch Lighter
Xikar Allume Single Torch Lighter
  A few months back I posted a press release for the new Xikar Allume series. I finally got my hands on the one I wanted to review. The Allume series is the replacement for the XTX line-up, which was a huge success for Xikar. Xikar went with the traditional colors as well as bold colors. Nice to see Xikar present a series totally different option wise than the standard old black, silver, gunmetal, etc.
Xikar Allume Single
  It only seems fitting then review the brightest and boldest in the series. This is the Allume single torch lighter. Shown in a blistering orange, Xikar calls "crush". The pictures do not do it justice. Think of the bright orange spray paint construction workers use, pretty darn close to that color. Allume is available in a staggering 8 total color/finish variations, from traditional to bold. This new series from Xikar is extremely similar to the XTX series now retired. A slight cosmetic change with the vents on either side now being straight horizontal cut outs. Also, I believe the mechanics with the lighter have been improved for more reliable/less downtime under warranty repairs. Remember, lifetime warranty, with no proof of purchase with Xikar lighters. I have said it hundreds of times and will again, the best in the business.
Xikar Allume Single Flame
  The side pusher snaps inwards firmly and confidently. A nice "click" is heard, followed by the lovely sound of a powerful single wind resistant flame. Xikar is using the ever popular and more reliable Piezo ignition system. I am usually a dual or triple flame guy, but I find myself rather fond of this little lighter. The dimensions of the single torch Allume are 1.3" width, 2.15" tall, and only .5" thick. This little powerhouse also has some weight to it considering size, coming in at roughly 2.02 oz on my scale. It has Xikar's signature oversized fuel adjustment wheel and a nice little fuel gauge window. Considering the compact size of this lighter, I will not knock the single torch Allume lacking an integrated cigar punch cutter.
  All in all, this lighter is a winner in my book. Given all the color options, great compact size, and reputation that comes with owning a Xkar (warranty), it's hard to go wrong with the single torch Allume. Suggested retail price is $59.99.

BEST Price CLR Found: Xikar Allume Single Torch

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8.25 - Aesthetics
9.0 - Finish/Construction
7.5 - Flame
8.25 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8.0 - Value vs. List Price (influenced by no proof lifetime warranty)
CLR Final Score: 8.2

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - aesthetics, construction, lower fuel consumption
Consideration - might be too small comfort wise for large hands  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Visol Birati Torch Lighter Review

Visol Birati Torch Lighter Review
Visol Birati Torch Lighter Review
  Visol has seemingly endless amounts of cigar lighter options. Today I am doing a quick review on the Visol Birati double torch lighter in satin silver. This is a solid straight forward lighter, at an extremely reasonable price point. 
  Birati is a dual action lighter, meaning you must manually flip the lid back prior to lighting. To some no big deal, to others this is a no go. The thumb action pusher is generous in size, with a nice high polish square pattern finish. There is a mirror on the underside of the lid. This is typically used for you to see the foot of the cigar during lighting. Though, the mirror on the Visol Birati does not enable you to see the cigar foot due to the angle.
Visol Birati  Lighter
  There are a lot of positives to the Birati. It produces a very strong wind resistant double torch. Also, the lighter seems to be well constructed, coming in just over 3 oz in weight. The fuel tank is nicely sized, though, lacking a fuel gauge window. Located on the bottom of the Birati is a user friendly 7mm cigar punch cutter. Always nice to have, even if you are not a fan of the punch cut. Fuel adjustment is the screwdriver type. Good news, I found the one I reviewed to be easy to adjust with my fingernail.
Visol Birati Torch Flame
  Visol has the Birati priced at an suggested retail price of $25 USD. It can be found around $19 USD, making this a really nice score. Not really much I can find to complain about at this price.

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

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - size, real wood, U.S.A made
Consideration - pricey, finish is lacking

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Black Label Dictator Review

Black Label Dictator Flat Flame Review
Black Label Dictator Flat Flame Review
  The Black Label Dictator is the successor to the El Presidente. Still to this day of all the lighters I have reviewed, the flat flame is my favorite. It's too cool and unique not to love. Black Label takes this technology to the next level with the more robust and well rounded Dictator.
  Dictator is larger, heavier, more substantial, and weighs in at about 3.5oz. I tend to lean towards heavier lighters, though, this does not always mean larger. The flame is not really a torch, nor a soft flame. It's somewhere in between. Consider it a hybrid, the best of both worlds. A flat flame does a phenomenal job of toasting the cigar, opposed to torching it.
Black Label Flat Flame
  The body of the Dictator I find more comfortable in the hand, due to the larger size compared to the El Presidente. It's a two stage lighter, meaning you need to flip the top up prior to igniting. There is a nice sized pusher located on the front side of the lighter. Once depressed, the beautiful wind resistant flat flame emerges. Think of it in the shape of a small paint brush. There is also a nice fold down integrated 7mm cigar punch cutter. Lastly, a decent, easy to read sized fuel gauge window rounds out the lighter.
Black Label Review
  The Black Label Dictator suggested retail is $140. Per usual, with a quick search the Dictator can be found at a more palatable price point around $100. Black Label is made by Lotus. I'm not typically a fan of only a two year warranty when buying a lighter. That said, I really like this lighter and is currently my go to flame of choice when I'm firing up a favorite cigar.

BEST Price CLR Found: Black Label Dictator

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8.75 - Aesthetics
8.5 - Finish/Construction
9 - Flame
7.75 - 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 - aesthetics, flat flame, lower fuel consumption
Consideration - two year warranty, price vs. overall value  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Xikar Turrim Press Release

Xikar Turrim Press Press Release
Hot off the press! New from Xikar, the unique Turrim. Look for a detailed , hands on review coming shortly!

Official Press Release:
  XIKAR designs newest tabletop lighter to stand proud on any table but humble enough to pack in travel case.
Kansas City, MO – February 10, 2015 XIKAR, Inc. proudly announces a breakthrough in lighter innovation with the 5x64 Turrim. This new double jet flame lighter introduces groundbreaking features showcased in a unique shape novel to the cigar industry.
  The 5x64 Turrim features the largest fuel tank offered by a XIKAR lighter, encompassed by a durable metal body. Its tall and cylindrical shape is ideal for the smoker on the go, fitting perfectly into a cigar slot in your travel case, or standing alone as a reliable tabletop lighter. The patented ratcheting fuel adjustment system transmits the power of the lighter to your fingertips as the flame is adjusted to the preferred height. This one-of-a-kind lighter stands immaculate in black, G2 and brushed silver finishes.
  “With the 5x64 Turrim, XIKAR introduces a lighter truly unique to the cigar industry.” said Kurt Van Keppel, CEO and Founder of XIKAR.  “It fits perfectly into your cigar travel case and provides 20% more fuel capacity than previous tabletop lighters from XIKAR. With just the right amount of flame power, the 5x64 Turrim embodies the perfect table or travel lighter for any cigar enthusiast” continued Mr. Van Keppel.
  Questions regarding this announcement can be directed to Kurt Van Keppel, CEO or VP of Sales and Marketing, David Frazier.
  Based in Kansas City, Missouri, XIKAR is the leading cigar accessory brand.  Creator of the revolutionary and iconic Xi1 cutter, XIKAR sells product in thousands of retail locations around the world.
  In 1995, Kurt Van Keppel wanted to buy a good cigar cutter, but found that both the inexpensive and high-end models underperformed.  So, he set out with Scott Almsberger to match good design (ergonomics and function) with the best styling and materials.  The result was the Xi cutter, launched in 1997.