Cutting or punching a cigar cap is kind of like performing a hit on an adversary or informant in prison.
Make a sloppy mess of things, and grave consequences will be swift and regrettable. Misjudge your target and fail to get the job done the first time, and things could get even more dicey down the line.
So before you get to the act of cutting or punching a stogie (or Stewie Two Tongues), a certain level of understanding must first be established. For like prison inmates, not all cigar caps are created equal...
Cigar Cap Basics Explained
Cigar caps don't just cover the end of the cigar that you pop into your pie hole. They are the thin line between a smooth smoking experience and an unraveling wrapper.
When cigar rollers, or torcedores as they are referred to within a factory, finish the wrapper application process, they must decide how they will keep the cigar from unraveling. This takes place around the end of the cigar that we puff on, which consists of the shoulder, head, and you guessed it... the cap.
By taking a dollop of natural pectin or vegetable gum, they can affix scraps of matching cigar wrapper leaf to the shoulder and head of the cigar, thus sealing the wrapper in place.
While it is possible to allow the wrapper to surpass this point and twist it up like a fat doobie, this style of creating what is called a "flag cap" is rarely seen.
Common Cigar Cap Styles
Being that an unfinished flag is a bit unsightly and most likely to unravel, cigar manufacturers instruct their torcedores to affix an array of different cap styles to cigars. Many of which are dependent purely upon the cigar types or vitolas being rolled that particular day.
Some of the most common forms of cigar caps include:
- Flag Caps (twisted excess wrapper seals off the head of the cigar)
- Flat Caps (a traditional Cuban style that's very blunt)
- Double Caps (commonly used style that is often rounded and affixed atop the snipped and folded flag)
- Triple Caps (a snazzy Cuban original that adds an additional layer of protection)
- Torpedo Caps (tapered for easy cutting control and smoking)
- Belicoso Caps (a more rounded version of the torpedo cap)
- Pigtail Caps (a flag cap that's been bound up tight and typically glued to the head of the cigar for a tidy look)