Let’s be honest. Cigar smokers enjoy their toys. Most of us have torches, cutters, punches, drills, ashtrays, and stands for every occasion, from the small, portable pocket-sized ones that we take with us to the larger and heavier ones that we leave at home. I cannot count how many of these I have but they fill a drawer and there is overflow to boot. I may not have everything that I want, but I certainly have everything that I need. So when my wife told me a few weeks ago that she bought me a present, it never would have occurred to me that not only was it a cigar accessory, but it was one that I did not have!
The difference between a good cigar and an exceptional one is not only how it tastes; how it smokes is extremely important. There are so many cigars out there that start to get an unpleasant bitterness toward the end; those cigars I am just as happy to put down early. An exceptional cigar is usually one that I want to smoke until your fingers can go no longer without burning from the fire that is so close to the head, and that you just know will singe your lips if you were to take one more puff. It seldom gets to that point of course… you are holding thinly contained fire between your fingers, and they will have to put the cigar down much sooner than your lips would like.
Enter the nub tool. A nub tool, or nubber, is a handled tool that pokes the cigar from the side as near the head as possible, allowing you to hold the fire a distance from your fingers. Think of a roach clip but with style and class. With a nub tool you can literally smoke your cigar down to the very nub (hence the rather unimaginative if extremely accurate name).
Nub tools come in all shapes and sizes, but the majority of them have a single prong that you use to hold the cigar in place. Unfortunately this design has a fatal flaw: the cigar will spin on the axle of that prong. Thus the two-pronged nub tool was invented, and I have never understood why they are not the ubiquitous choice.
Despite the much more intelligent design, two-pronged nub tools tend to be more difficult to find. It is for this reason that I never bought one – I just never found one that suited both my style and my need for functionality. When my wife found one for herself several months ago – a multi-pronged tool designed to look like a lipstick, that even turned to extend or retract the prongs – I was a little jealous. This ingenious design was the perfect feminine accessory in a heavily male-dominated industry.
A few days ago she handed me a box, and inside was exactly what I had given up searching for. A classy, masculine, two-pronged nub tool that would fit in my pocket safely (the screw-off cap protects both the prongs and my pants). I could hardly wait to try it! Fortunately the weather cooperated, and I did not have to wait long.
We discovered recently that the Davidoff Signature No. 1 Limited Edition was a fabulous breakfast cigar that pairs perfectly with a café latté. Following a light breakfast this past Saturday we drove to Starbucks for the drinks, and when we returned home I pulled out a couple of those magnificent sticks for us to enjoy together. The weather would become unseasonably warm, but it was still quite comfortable on the patio at 10:30am.
We sipped our coffees and enjoyed our cigars (a double panetella / lancero measuring 7.5” with a slim and classic 39 gauge), with a complex flavour profile that includes oak and white pepper in the first third, then transitioning to a creaminess with brown sugar and spice. The final third is classic Dominican Republic, with hints of cedar, dried fruit, and black pepper. They were so tasty that we found them impossible to put down.
Fortunately, we had our nub tools to prevent disappointment or burnt flesh. Leslie pulled out her ‘lipstick’ Cigar Nubber from BerryUniqueTouch, and I pulled out my Travel Cigar Nubber from WhiskyandCigars (both small Etsy businesses), and we were able to enjoy these fabulous cigars until the delicious and heated end. As well, unlike some tools I have seen, both have flat bottoms, so we were not obligated to hold them in our hands until we were done with them. We could simply stand our tools on the table, and pick them up as needed.
As I wrote in my article The Cigar Contract, it is the duty of the cigar to provide a pleasurable smoking experience , and the duty of the smoker to smoke it as long as it is enjoyable, or until he or she is no longer able to comfortably hold the cigar in his or her fingers. A good nub tool can extend the pleasure by taking that last component out of play. I expect I will be getting a lot of use out of my new nub tool; I also expect that a number of my friends will be admiring it and asking where they can get one. Don’t worry folks, aside from Etsy (which is a great source for hand crafted goods, and an excellent way to support small businesses) there are plenty of other options for you as well. Find the one that you like and pick it up. The inexpensive cost of the tool will pay for itself in no time when you realize how much of your cigar you no longer have to waste!