Fast forward to now, and you'd be hard pressed to find an average person using anything but a torch—and often, one with two, three or even four flames. Heck, it seems a torch is even the preferred butane delivery system for our aforementioned friends at Cigar Aficionado, who can be seen above using a single flame unit in one of the videos announcing this year's Top 25 cigars. (Those Norteños are nice smokes, by the way!)
The knock against torches is supposedly that they're just too hot, and they char the cigar instead of gently igniting it, somewhat ruining the flavor. But is that even true? Thing is, tobacco is either on fire or it isn't. While it may look more gentlemanly to go through the old ritual of using a soft flame, is the result meaningfully different?
It seems the Cigar Aficionado folks don't think so. While they're still careful to avoid plunging the foot of the cigar into the flame, they do seem to have hurried up the lighting process for these videos. And since a torch lighter produces a flame about twice as hot as a traditonal lighter, holding it at the same distance would produce a flame that's still twice as hot. So that would be bad, right?
One thing's for sure: torches run through fuel more quickly than soft flame lighters. In fact, our preferred triple-flame torch of choice eats butane roughly six times faster. So we guess if you're an environmentalist—a really, really hardcore one anyway—then a soft flame is the only responsible way to go.
Or, in the end, is it like the difference between shaking or stirring a martini? The end result is a cocktail that's mixed and cold so do you really care how it got that way?
What the heck, let's do a poll. Vote for your preferred method, and if you'd like, expand on why by leaving a comment. We'll follow up with the results.