Saturday, August 30, 2014

Xikar X875 Cutter Review

Xikar X875 Cutter Press Review
Xikar X875 Cutter Press Release Review 
  One thing is for sure, you are either a fan of "oversized" cigar ring gauges or not. Xikar has always had a nice range of cigar cutters. That said, even I on the rare occasion smoke a 60 ring gauge neither my V cutter nor my Xi3 worked optimally. With the new popularity of gargantuan sizes Xikar has a new cutter. Called the X875, it is a double guillotine cutter that can take down the cap of an 80 ringer! I personally am not in the market for such a cutter, but I know there are folks out there that are in need of help. So here you have it, Xikar's press release on this big boy!

Press Release:  
  XIKAR just got a whole lot bigger and better with the X875 double guillotine cutter. It takes a big cutter to handle a big cigar, and the X875 is the perfect tool for large ring gauge cigar smokers. The X875 can cut a 75 ring gauge cigar in half and easily cut the cap of an 80 ring gauge cigar!

Product Benefits:
  • Lightweight and durable body
  • Large opening that can cut a 75 ring gauge cigar in half and easily cap an 80 ring gauge cigar
  • Sharp, thin stainless steel blades for a reliable smooth, clean cut every time
  • Contoured cutter body acts as a cigar rest
  • Access port for easy cleaning
Everything is better when it's big!
*courtesy of Xikar

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vector Arsenal Lighter Review

Vector Arsenal Lighter Review
Vector Arsenal Dual Torch Lighter Review
  An interesting lighter up for review today. This is the Vector Arsenal dual torch lighter, along with some cool integrations. The Arsenal I used for this review is shown in an a bit of a different finish, titanium satin. It almost has a pinkish hue in certain lighting.
  The easy to depress thumb action raises the lid and emits a very strong wind resistant torch. No doubt, this little powerhouse is an intimidator for any cigar put in its path. All the information on the web states the flames from the Arsenal come out at a 90 degree angle. To me it looks to be more of an 75-80 degree angle.
  Beyond the unique looks, it has an integrated cigar punch cutter and cigar poker. There are definitely times I could have used a convenient cigar poker. The lighters best feature in my opinion. Both are easily deployed through some well thought out designing. That said, both the punch and poker feel flimsy. Not the material itself, but at the hinges. There is a fair amount of side to side "play" with the Arsenal I tested. Vector did include a very large fuel gauge window for easy viewing. The Arsenal has the old screwdriver/fingernail fuel adjustment. If you have read my other reviews then you already know CLR is never a fan of this style.
  Overall, it is an interesting lighter, with very strong torches and very cool cigar poker integration. Vector's Arsenal retails for $49.99. You can get this lighter for 10% less using code CLR10 over at LightersDirect.

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8 - Aesthetics
6.5 - Finish/Construction
8.5 - Flames
7.75 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
6.75 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.5

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - design, integrated cigar poker, very strong flame
Consideration - flimsy hinges

Monday, August 4, 2014

Xikar ELX Lighter Review

Xikar ELX Torch Lighter Review
Xikar ELX Dual Torch Lighter Review
  Xikar's most popular lighter got a recent face lift! The new ELX is the successor to Xikar's Element. I have owned an Element for about 3 years now. Therefore, I was rather anxious to get my dirty little paws on an ELX for a comparison review. Of course, I went with my favorite Xikar finish in G2 gunmetal.
What makes the Element and now ELX so popular? Simple answer, it has it all. It hits on all my desired cigar lighter wants and needs. Quite similar to my Pulsar review. They are as follows:
  • single thumb action to ignition
  • strong dual or triple torches/jets
  • fuel gauge window
  • fuel adjustment wheel
  • cigar punch cutter (ELX is 9mm)
  • aesthetically pleasing
  • ergonomically comfy in the hand
As seen in the picture below, there are very subtle differences between my Element and the ELX. There are two noticeable changes that stick out more than others to me. 
Xikar ELX and Element Lighter Review
First, a much improved fuel adjustment, now a front facing oversized wheel. Secondly, the ELX appears to about 6mm wider. I have to admit this additional width is more comfortable in my hand. Had I not had them side by side, not sure I would have felt a difference. Though, there is a definite better feel in the hand with the ELX.

Honestly, I do not recall what I paid for my Element. Xikar has retail on the ELX at $64.99. Here is the biggest question I get "is it worth it?". Personally, I believe it is because Xikar's best in the business warranty is ridiculously fantastic. No smoke and mirrors. I feel like some of the lighter warranties in the industry are like carpet warranties. If you have ever bought carpet then you know what I am talking about. In fact, this is actually my second Element. My first one had issues after about a year. These things happen, no biggie. I walked into my B&M handed them my Element and walked out with a new Element. So, is it worth it? Yep.

BEST Price CLR found: Xikar ELX

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

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - bullet points above, no proof of purchase lifetime warranty
Consideration - upfront price point

Friday, July 18, 2014

Vector KGM Jetz Lighter Review

Vector KGM Jetz Torch Lighter Review
Vector KGM Jetz Torch Lighter Review
  Vector KGM continues to put out interesting and unique cigar lighters. The Vector Jetz single torch lighter packs a lot of nice features into a relatively compact lighter. The most notable feature is an integrated bottle opener. Yep, that is a cool feature for sure!
Vector KGM Jetz Lighter
  The Jetz for review today is shown in a black crackle finish. This is one cool a$$ looking lighter. This also happens to be my favorite Vector finish. It offers a great tactile rough(ish) finish that is durable and attractive. Jetz has a wrap around vent that adds to the overall visual appeal. The thumb action pusher is very easy to use. In fact, one of the most comfortable ergonomically I have reviewed. Best way I can think to explain it is like a vertical "trigger" action. The down side to this thumb action is it could potentially depressed accidentally in a pocket, etc. Vector went with the CLR favorite oversized fuel adjustment. Though, the lighter is lacking a fuel gauge window and a cigar punch cutter. Lastly, the ever useful integrated bottle opener for your drinking pleasure located on the backside of the lighter.
  Overall, pound for pound this is one of the best lighters sub $20. That said, it did not perform very well under for the CLR "Fire It Up Test" as noted below. Jetz is very comfortable in the hand, not bulky on any level. For a single jet torch Vector KGM put out a very solid cigar lighter. The name on the other hand is a different conversation. It is only has one jet after all!

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8 - Aesthetics
7.5 - Finish/Construction
6.5 - Flames
8 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8.5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.7

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 12 successful lights (not so good)
Pros - design, integrated bottle opener, value
Consideration - not so steller "Fire It Up test" results

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Xikar Allume Lighter Press Release

Xikar Allume Lighter Press Release
Xikar Allume Lighter Press Release / Pre-Review
  Press Release from the Xikar camp. Figured I would throw this up until I get a chance to get my hands on one. Smoking price, best I have found Xikar Allume That's a cracken price on one of these little firecrackers! This basically replaces the XTX Single jet lighter. Now, for your reading pleasure:

  XIKAR introduces single jet flame, small enough to fit in a front pocket, powerful enough to light any cigar.
  Kansas City, MO – June 17, 2014 XIKAR, Inc. introduces the Allume, their latest single jet flame lighter. This model builds on XIKAR’s long history of design, elegance and engineered performance with its small, sleek body and eight stylish colors.
  The Allume single flame side squeeze lighter is a top quality lighter with sexy form, sleek feel and superior function. This dynamic lighter is available in the US in Tuxedo (Black), Steel (Silver), Alpine (White), Electric (Yellow), Riot (Red), Crush (Orange), Imperial (Purple) and Stealth (G2). At just 1.3 inches wide, 2.15 inches tall and a mere .5 inch thick, the Allume easily fits into any pocket virtually unnoticed.
  “XIKAR is excited to expand our family of lighters. The addition of the Allume adds a smaller accessory option and a new variety of bold colors for the consumer,” said Kurt Van Keppel, CEO and Founder of XIKAR. “We value the feedback we receive from consumers who demanded more colors and smaller accessories. The Allume satisfies both of these needs; we are confident it is going to be one of our top sellers,” continued Mr. Van Keppel.
  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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Prometheus Magma T Lighter Review

Prometheus Magma T Lighter Review
Prometheus Magma T Triple Torch Lighter Review
  For today's review I'm taking a closer look at the triple torch Prometheus Magma T shown here in the black lacquer finish. The Magma T is not what I would consider a carry around lighter, definitely in the table top lighter category in my opinion. Though, it does have some standard cigar lighter attributes like a cigar punch and fuel gauge window.
  This Prometheus is not a small or lightweight lighter by any means. The Magma T is roughly 3.5" tall by 2.8" wide. No doubt, the design is aesthetically very pleasing. The Magma T's triple torches produce a very strong wind resistant blue flame. With the new fad being the bigger cigar, the better (for some), the Prometheus Magma T will have no issue handling any cigar. A spring loaded lid flips back responsively. Once open there is a smooth side action thumb pusher to ignite the triple jets.
Prometheus Magma T Review
  Prometheus did a nice job with attention to detail. The underside of the lid is branded with Prometheus, while open the top surface area has a knurled finish, with contrasting vertical lines in the stainless steel against the lacquered body. Be warned, with all the high polish the Magma T will is scratch magnet. The lighter has a very cool blue fuel gauge window, always convenient.
Prometheus Magma T Review
  Unfortunately, for fueling the Magma T does not have a CLR's favorite easy to turn fuel wheel. It has the type that usually requires a screwdriver or a like. The Magma T makes up for this short coming with an integrated duel cigar punch cutter. The cigar punch flips down revealing two different sized punches to choose from. The larger of the two is the biggest diameter I have seen in a lighter, 60 ring gauges no problem. Also, a punch is rarely seen integrated in a table top lighter.
Prometheus Magma T Lighter
  In the table top lighter word amongst other big hitters the price is palatable at a suggested 79.99. For about $10 more you can find limited editions, such as Fuente Destino or God of Fire. Lastly, I do feel for the price a limited two warranty falls a bit short. This Magma T can be found at authorized dealers like Lighters Direct, use promo code CLR10 for an additional 10% off.

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
9 - Aesthetics
8 - Finish/Construction
9 - Flame
7 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
6.5 - Value vs List Price
CLR Final Score - 7.9 

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - triple torch, very easy to read fuel gauge, dual punches
Consideration - only two year warranty, scratches easily