Monday, December 22, 2014

Visol Aleus Torch Lighter Review

Visol Aleus Torch Lighter Review
Visol Aleus Triple Torch Lighter Review
  Just another value packed lighter from Visol up for review. This is the Aleus triple torch cigar lighter, shown in Visol's gunmetal finish. Not on the same quality level as the Xikar Pulsar. That said, more of an affordable option, with similar features. Though, missing one key feature...
  Aleus has ALMOST all of my favorite packed features: single thumb action to ignition, triple torches, and a cigar punch cutter. A triple torch lighter burns a lot of butane quickly. Unfortunately, Aleus is missing a fuel gauge window, this would be very beneficial. So close to hitting all my key integrations in a triple torch lighter.

  The thumb action is smooth and easy to operate. Once depressed, emits a triangular strong wind resistant flame. On the side of the lighter is a user friendly 7mm cigar punch. Unlike Pulsar's easy fuel adjustment wheel, Aleus uses the old fingernail/screwdriver adjustment. In fairness, there is a serious price difference between the two. I am simply pointing out even though they have a lot of similarities, the right lighter lies with ones personal preferences all things considered. Aleus does have the a nice heft about it, coming in just shy of 3 oz. The Visol I reviewed fired up every time without hesitation. The overall materials used and quality are in line with a $20ish lighter. Do not expect a Xikar like finish. As noted, Aleus can be found around the $20 mark. Not too shabby at all.

BEST Price CLR found: Visol Aleus

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
7.5 - Aesthetics
6 - Finish/Construction
8 - Flame
7.5 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.4

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - value, cigar punch cutter
Consideration - no fuel gauge window, fuel adjustment

Monday, December 15, 2014

Brizard Exotic Wood Nano Review

Brizard Wood Nano Review
Brizard Exotic Wenge Wood Nano Review
  Today, another new brand on CLR. I will be reviewing the Nano Wenge Exotic Wood by Brizard & Co. After pulling the Nano single torch lighter out of the satchel it's presented in, I was struck by its small size. Maybe I have been reviewing to many monster lighters lately?! The lighter is made in the United States and retails for around $55.
  This Brizard Nano is shown here is in the wenge wood. The wood feels very nice in that it has not been overly finished. You can actually feel the grain, which I appreciated. What I did not appreciate was the somewhat sloppy/unfinished welding of the vertical center piece up the body connecting the top and bottom. The fuel adjustment on the bottom requires the dreaded fingernail/screwdriver technique. Nano is relatively a simple lighter, with a smaller than usual footprint. Very comfortable in a pair of jeans, etc.
  Brizard & Co offers the Nano torch lighter in quite a few exotic wood choices: wenge, zeebrawood, rosewood, bubinga, and ebony. I appreciate the lighter being made in the United States, though, still hard to look past a few detail. The finish, no fuel gauge window, single torch, and no cigar punch cutter at this price point for me personally is tough to justify. If the construction was more refined, I could likely look past most of the "lacking", really like the wood and size. Nano is only 2.5" long and under a .5' wide.

BEST Price CLR found: Brizard Exotic

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
7 - Aesthetics
5 - Finish/Construction
6 - Flame
6.5 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
6.5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 6.2

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Visol Fireball Quad Lighter Review

Visol Fireball Quad Torch Lighter Review
Visol Fireball Quad Torch Lighter Review
  Visol seems to love the heavy weight lighters. This over half pound quad torch table top lighter Visol refers to as Fireball is just that. The version used for this review is in the brushed gunmetal finish. 
  The Fireball is pretty straight forward. The body and lid operation reminds me of an oversized Zippo lighter. Being that Fireball is listed as a table top lighter my only issue is it does not stand upright very well. With the rounded bottom edges seems to be more intended to be laid on its side. Personally, I prefer table tops that stand on there own confidently. The lid operation flips up responsively revealing the four jet torches. With the wavy edges and traditional(ish) design creates a nice fusion between old and modern designs.
Visol Fireball Flame Lighter Review
  Fueling the Fireball I found a bit odd. To access the fill nozzle, there is a fingernail flip up lever. This is then unscrewed to give access for fueling. On one hand it protects dust and other elements from entering. Seems like a good idea, but it did strike me as a potential pain in the butt. BUT this is likely due to the fact this is my first time coming across this type of protection. With the size of the fuel tank, I doubt there is really much concern of taking on and off.

  Fireball definitely gives the feeling of a quality sturdy lighter that could stand a bit of punishment. There is no denying the name fits the raging flame that is emitted once the thumb cation pusher is depressed. The suggested retail is $50 and can be found for markedly less. Making the Visol Fireball bought at the right price worthy of serious consideration.

BEST Price CLR found: Visol Fireball

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
7 - Aesthetics
7.75 - Finish/Construction
9 - Flame
6.5 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
7.0 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.45

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - large fuel tank, excellent flame
Consideration - rounded bottom edges, refueling protective screw

Friday, November 14, 2014

Xikar Cirro Lighter Review

Xikar Cirro Lighter Review
  Xikar's new Cirro lighter is designed specifically to combat high altitudes. This is a more sophisticated lighter than Xikar's Stratosphere altitude lighter. There is no doubt this is one strong a$$ flame. Engineered to work at altitudes up to 12,000 feet where the air is very thin.
Xikar Cirro Review
  To mix it up a little bit, CLR is reviewing the Vintage Bronze version of the Cirro. The bronze finish and patina will make no two Cirro's the exact same visually. The meaning of Cirro is that of a high cloud, typically containing ice crystals. Seems appropriate, right? Cirro's design aesthetically is nice. Though, does not do much for me visually for some reason. Xikar did a nice job on attention to detail per usual. The thumb action pusher has a knurled like texture finish for a better tactile feel. Once depressed, the lid opens up and an extremely strong flame is emitted. Xikar calls this a high altitude "turbo flame".
Xikar Cirro Flame
  This is the same type of cone shaped flame we saw on an earlier review of the Black Label Stanley. The coil on the Cirro looks a bit like that of traditional stove top grill. Regardless, the torch is very impressive. Xikar's Cirro is easy to fuel up thanks to the nice oversized fuel adjustment wheel. Xikar also integrated a large sized fuel gauge window into the lighters design.
  Cirro feels like quality, with a solidly built exterior. For a single torch lighter it's very much on the heavy side. This lighter retails for $49.95 and of course can be found for less. I am a bit torn on the value vs. list price on this one. It is a single flame lighter, but the torch is so strong and uniform. Also, Cirro does not have in integrated cigar punch cutter. The quality is excellent and the no proof of purchase lifetime warranty do help make up the difference.

BEST Price CLR Found: Xikar Cirro Lighter (G2 Gunmetal!) 

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
7.5 - Aesthetics
8.5 - Finish/Construction
7.75 - Flame
7.5 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
7.0 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.65

Fire It Up Test Results:
18 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - crazy strong single flame, fuel gauge window, 12,000 ft altitude
Consideration - no cigar punch, heavy

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Caseti Dion Cigar Cutter Review

Caseti Dion Guillotine Cigar Cutter Review
Caseti Dion Double Guillotine Cigar Cutter Review
A new brand for CLR (sort of) up for review today. This is the Caseti Dion Double Black Guillotine Cutter. I believe Visol actually makes this product under the label Caseti. The Caseti Dion cigar cutter comes in a nice presentation box, with a soft pouch to protect the cutter. With all the high polish, I would use this. A nice added value to the cutter overall.
Caseti Dion Cigar Cutter Gift Box
This is no light weight cutter, heavy hitter for sure. Very well finished, with high polish and contrasting black finishes. Out of the box the double guillotine blades are very sharp as to be expected. There is a high polish spring loaded push button, once depressed sends the either side outwards. Once deployed the cutter can handle up to a 58 ring gauge cigar. Simply squeezing the sides together delivers a nice, even, and crisp cut.
Caseti Dion Cigar Cutter Review
The Dion cigar cutter suggested retail is $60. Though, it can easily be found for less around the $48 mark. It appears to be very well made, but is lacking the lifetime warranty some of us have grown to love and rely on. That said, it has a great feel in the hand and will be something different amongst your buddies at the local B&M.

BEST PRICE CLR found: Caseti Dion Carbon Fiber

Pros - nice heft, aesthetically very pleasing, double guillotine blades
Consideration - might be too heavy for some (personal preferences)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Visol Dobrev III Carbon Fiber Lighter

Visol Dobrev III Carbon Triple Lighter Review
Visol Dobrev III Carbon Fiber Lighter Review
  Visol, never afraid to break the mold and create something a little different than the norm. That brings me to today's review of the Vison Dobrev III Carbon Fiber Lighter. This carbon fiber beauty is no joke, weighing in at just over 5 ounces! 
  When I first opened the gift box, I was pleasantly surprised to find a leather case for the lighter. Pulling it out of the box, I immediately said "dang, this is one serious lighter" due to the weight. If you read CLR enough, then you know I generally feel that weight is a good tell of quality. Mainly constructed of high polish finishes, made this easily one of the hardest lighters for me to photograph. Dobrev is a fingerprint loving machine.... Carbon fiber has been all the craze the last few years in many aspects of consumer goods. It does add nicely to the aesthetic appeal of the lighter, nothing more.
  The Dobrev III is two steps to ignition, flip lid and depress the side pusher. This triple torch flame is strong and quick to fire up. The Visol Dobrev backside has an integrated cigar punch. Typically, I love having an integrated cutter. That said, on this lighter it's in a bit of an awkward position. At the end of the day, better to have, than not I suppose.
  The bottom of the lighter has little "lever" that flips up easily with a fingernail. This is then used to adjust the flame height and refuel. Nice little touch, much better than having to use a screwdriver. Lastly, lacking from the Dobrev III is a fuel guage window. Conveneint to have when you are burning triple torches and the amount of fuel being consumed quickly.
  The Visol Dobrev III Carbon Fiber lighter retails for $55. Not too badly priced when considering the whole package. If you are not buying this in person, please remember you heard it first here, Dobrev III is a heavy beast!

BEST PRICE CLR found: Visol Dobrev III 

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
7.5 - Aesthetics
7.5 - Finish/Construction
8.5 - Flames
6.75 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
7.50 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.55

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 18 successful lights
Pros - strong triple torch, leather carrying case, cigar punch
Consideration - weight of the lighter, no fuel guage window

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Colibri V Cut Cigar Review

Colibri V Cut Cutter Review
  Colibri has stepped up to the plate with a quality V-cut cigar cutter. This V-cut feels high guality due to the matte black rubber finish and weight. Colibri built a beast weighing in at 4 ounces! I took my personal Xikar V-cut and threw it on the scale, it only weighs 1.7 ounces (Xikar V-cut review). These two cigar cutters are two completely different animals. Personal preference will be the deciding factor for those hunting down a cigar V-cut.
  I was immediately impressed by the weight and feel upon unboxing. The main body is done in a soft, velvety, matte black, rubber finish. There is a little button above "Colibri" that is spring loaded. Once slid down, the V-cutter opens extremely responsively, zero hesitation. Nicely done. One of my few complaints with the Xikar V-cut is the cigar ring gauges it is able to cut well. Depending on the cigar cap shape, I generally struggle at 58+ with Xikar's. 
  On the otherhand, this Colibri can definitely take down some monster cigars. Below is a picture of 56 guage cigar, look how deep of a cut the Colibri made. Really nice, I liked the cut it made, had a great draw as well.
  Here is a close up, with me holding the blade partially closed to get a better appreciation of how large the blade is compared to the cutter. I am not sure how this V-cutter would do with smaller ring guages like 48-50? Thinking it might be a bit to aggressive in size for the smaller cigars.
  Overall, I am impressed with Colibri's new offering. It appears to be very well made and the spring action is top notch for sure. This V-cut is retailing for $39, I believe this is a pretty reasonable price given the closest quality competitor. 

Best Price CLR Found Here: Colibri V-Cut

Pros - nice deep cuts, spring loaded
Consideration - definitely going to weight your pants pocket down
MSRP: $39

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.

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.
Bottom Of Xikar ELX vs Element Lighter

Dual Flame Xikar 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