Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Xikar Volta Lighter Review

Xikar Volta Tabletop Lighter
Xikar Volta Lighter Review
  Leave it to Xikar to bring yet another fresh look to the world of cigar lighters. Today's review is a close look at the quad flame Volta, one serious tabletop lighter. The Volta is brand new for 2015, first unveiled at IPCRR.
  Not sure where to start....this thing is a beast! The Volta weighs in at just over 1 pound. Yep, not a mistype, 1 pound! Safe to say Xikar made an extremely well constructed tabletop lighter. Volta's body is all metal, no plastic. This stout cylinder shaped lighter is not what I would consider a "portable" lighter. Meant to be more of a dedicated lighter to highlight your favorite spot to chill out and enjoy a quality cigar. There is camera aperture influenced lid, once rotated opens up to reveal the strong quad jets. Xikar did not seem to miss a beat in the attention to detail department. There is a large oversized pusher, once depressed fires up four raging jet flames.
Xikar Volta
Xikar Volta Fuel Adjustment 

                      Something I have been seeing more of in the industry is a colored fuel gauge window. Big fan of this, much easier to to see the fuel level. Volta's fuel gauge turns red to the level of current butane. As with the Turrim recently reviewed, Xikar used a ratcheting fuel adjustment. Great concept, I even tend to find myself wanting to use the ratcheting just for fun. The only negative if I was being nit picky is with the aperture lid. Mine has two small black screws (wish they were silver in color) having a small edge that is felt if I run my fingers over. Not a big deal, but I did notice. It likely goes unsaid as with most Xikar lighters, Volta is extremely easy to refuel.
Xikar Volta Gauge
Xikar Volta Quad Flame

  Volta's heft comes with a bit of a hefty price at a suggested $149 for standard finishes. Personally, in lighter world well worth the price of admission. There is a Room 101 version for $10 more, looks amazing! If you are looking for that final center piece lighter to highlight your smoking room, Volta is at the top of list.

BEST Price CLR found: Xikar Volta

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
9 - Aesthetics
9 - Finish/Construction
10 - Flame
9 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8 - Value vs. List Price (a real "lifetime warranty" factored in)
CLR Final Score: 9

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - solid construction, aesthetics, strong quad flames
Consideration - not inexpensive

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Prometheus Cutter H Press Release

Prometheus Cutter H Limited Edition Opus X
Prometheus Cutter H Press Release OpusX
NEW RELEASE From Prometheus:

New for 2015 Prometheus has released some very striking Limited Editions of their Cutter H. This is the Fuente Fuente OpusX 20th Anniversary done in black lacquer. Also, available in white lacquer. I think I like the white version better this time, typically, I stay away from white lighters/cutters. 
Cutter H Limited Edition Opus X
The Cutter H retails for 89.95. Not inexpensive, but she is definitely a looker! Likely, a solid purchase for any diehard OpusX fanatics out there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lotus L29 Monarch Review

Lotus L29 Monarch Lighter Review
Lotus L29 Monarch Review  
  Possibly my favorite Lotus design visually. The Lotus L29 Monarch single torch is pure class aesthetically. For today's review I got my hands on the black and matte chrome finish. The lighter definitely evokes a European vibe and one I really like at that.
  One aspect of lighters finished with a high polish chrome that drives me nuts are all the highly visible scratches/swirls over time. This L29 is finished in a matte chrome making the natural wear and tear less noticeable. The attention to the small details on this all metal lighter are superb. The construction is top notch being all metal body, though, this does add to the weight.
Lotus L29 Monarch Butane Wheel
  The Monarch has a killer round single thumb action pusher to ignition located in the upper front center. Meaning once depressed the circular protective lid retracts and the single wind resistant flame fires up. Lotus included an always useful small fuel gauge window. Unfortunately, the Monarch has the dreaded fingernail style fuel adjustment. That said, though I am not a fan of this style, I did find it relatively easy to adjust. In my time with the lighter I found that there is a sweet spot for with the fuel adjustment for consistent lighting. Outside of that spot it fired very inconsistently. I use only Vector Quintuple butane, personally the best on the market in my opinion.
Lotus L29 Single Torch Flame
  From a price perspective the Monarch L29 retails for $90 and are increasingly hard to find. For a lighter at this price point I would expect any of the following that are lacking from this Lotus: cigar punch cutter, 2+ torches, or a more user friendly fuel adjustment. All this considered if aesthetics is the name of the game the L29 is a clear front runner!

BEST Price CLR found: Lotus L29 Monarch

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
10 - Aesthetics
8 - Finish/Construction
4 - Flame (single torch/inconstant)
6.5 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 6.7

Fire It Up Test Results:
12 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - construction, aesthetics
Consideration - price vs. value, inconsistent firing

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Xikar Turrim Lighter Review

Xikar Turrim Table Top Lighter
Xikar Turrim Table Top Lighter Review  
  Xikar always seemingly to come out with something new and cool costing me money! Partial rant, partial happy. LOL. That said, today I am reviewing the new Turrim "table top lighter" in the G2 finish. The name struck me as a bid odd, so I reached out to Xikar to get the dirt on the "Turrim" name. I was told name means tower in Latin. A fitting name for this genius design.
Smiley Face Fuel Adjustment
  Turrim is 5x64....Yep, dang near perfect (conceptually) to fit in most travel cigar cases. Keep in mind this is equivalent to 64 ring gauge, it will take up more space than usual in a traveling case. Likely, shorting you one stick worth of space beyond the lighter itself. Turrim is a beast, I threw it on my scale and it came in at 5.6oz! Two things about the weight, it's heavy, but solid construction tends to be heavier in general terms. Personally, I am good with the weight if that means delivering a high quality built lighter. To be clear, this is not an everyday carry by any means for most cigar enthusiast.
  The Xikar Turrim is a single step to ignition design, a CLR favorite feature with any lighter. Simply slide back the lid with your thumb and the dual torches ignite. Xikar included a massive fuel tank for this duel torch lighter holding up to 3.4g. Also, a very large fuel gauge viewing window to match. Now for my favorite feature of the Turrim and completely new concept from Xikar, a ratcheting fuel adjustment knob. It clicks like that of a bezel on a dive watch. Me loving dive watches, this is an immediate home run. This allows you to very quickly adjust the flame up and down with a responsive tactile feel.
   Lastly, as you might imagine with the Turrim it is very prone to falling over easily if knocked from the upright position. Like a tower, it will fall. Xikar has the suggested retail price at $79.99. Throw in the no hassle lifetime warranty and your wallet might just get a little lighter too...

BEST Price CLR Found: Xikar Turrim Lighter

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8.5 - Aesthetics
9.0 - Finish/Construction
8.0 - Flame
8.0 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8.5 - Value vs. List Price (influenced by no proof lifetime warranty)
CLR Final Score: 8.4

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 18 successful lights
Pros - ratcheting fuel knob, construction, gigantic fuel tank
Consideration - heavy, upright prone to falling

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.

BEST Price CLR Found: Visol Solt

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.

BEST Price CLR Found: Visol Birati

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!

UPDATE: See my new full review of Turrim here!

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. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tonino Lamborghini Eridanus Review

Tonino Lamborghini Eridanus Lighter Review
Tonino Lamborghini Eridanus Lighter Review
  Today CLR is reviewing the Tonino Lamborghini Eridanus single torch lighter. Lamborghini, the brand itself, needs no introduction. For most of us this is the closest we can come to owning something from one of the best high performance sports cars made. We can only hope the lighter holds up to the Lamborghini reputation.
Lamborghini Eridanus Lighter  

  The Eridanus does have a cool factor, a torch flame emitted at a 45 degree angle. I found it to be a very powerful and large flame for a single torch jet. The ergonomics of the cigar lighter are quite nice as well. Once depressed the jet pops out the top at a raging 45 degree angle. Also, great tactile feel due to the almost full sided squeeze pusher. The body is an all metal construction, less plastic = better. There is an easy to read fuel gauge window on the backside of the Eridanus.
Tonino Lamborghini Eridanus
  Unfortunately, with all the positives mentioned above the lighter fell short in a few areas for me. First, the Tonino Lamborghini Eridanus was extremely inconsistent when firing up. Regardless of how fast or slow I squeezed the pusher, it only fired up roughly 50% of the time with the one used in this review. Not sure if this is the norm or just the one I reviewed. Secondly, this is a lighter that retails for $100, with a single torch and no cigar punch cutter. Though, Eridanus comes in one of the nicest presentation boxes of any lighter brand. Definitely, paying a premium for the branding. All that said, I really like strong 45 degree angle torch. It's fun to use something a little different than the norm.

EDIT: I will not change my scoring or comments above/below. BUT I did retest another and using a slow squeeze, it fired 18 of 20 attempts.

BEST Price CLR Found: Tonino Lamborghini Eridanus

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8.5 - Aesthetics
8 - Finish/Construction
7.5 - Flame
5.75 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 6.95

Fire It Up Test Results:
11 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - aesthetics, 45 degree flame, ergonomics
Consideration - inconsistent light, MSRP value

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Prometheus Ultimo X Press Release

Prometheus Ultimo X Press Release
Prometheus Ultimo X Press Release (lighter & Cutters)
  Prometheus released these beauties back in early November 2014. Featuring triple torch inverted flames for pin point cigar roasting. Prometheus always makes a beautiful lighter when it comes to the God of Fire line ups. This line is they are calling the Ultimo X. These are limited editions with their own serial numbers. The two options available are the God of Fire 10th Anniversary and the Fuente Fuente Forbidden X (yes, Fuente Fuente is correct). 
  Prometheus generally makes a very nice lighter on their higher priced selections. From a non-hands on perspective and past knowledge of hands on with Prometheus, I will share some thoughts. The high polish finish is beautiful, but loves finger prints and shows superficial scratching easily. The colored fuel gauge window is very easy to read, great touch. There is a 7mm cigar punch cutter integrated into the bottom of the lighter as well. Of course the designs speak for themselves and what is not to like? 
 These limited pieces of 500 each are available along with matching cigar cutters. All prices ranging from 79.95- 99.00. The lowest price starting with the cigar cutters.