Been a while since I’ve written anything about cigar accessories, but PerfecDraw (notice the spelling) is a good opportunity.
We should all have a draw tool or two lying around. Draw tools save cigars otherwise unsmokeable because they are plugged. You cut them right and discover that you either can’t draw any air through it or drawing air is very difficult. We all prefer a certain draw. Some like it a little tighter, some a little looser, but no matter which we prefer there are some cigars that are “too tight”. The draw tool, inserted from the head of the cigar, opens a channel through what ever it is plugging the cigar. It might be a vein in the wrong place or an uneven and too-tight bundling. And there is another, even more common reason cigars get plugged after you light them, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Any dowel-like metal pole a millimeter or so in diameter (about 1/16″) will serve as a draw tool. Put a point on it, and you have a draw tool. But the better ones have some cutting or roughening at their tip as well as a sharp point. The idea here is that opening a channel isn’t enough because when you withdraw the tool, the channel just closes back. What you want is to pull just a little tobacco back out of the channel so when it does close up it can’t close up all the way.
In the center picture, the tool tip on the right is pretty typical. The tip is etched (roughened) by a laser. The rough surface shaves tobacco from the walls of the channel. When you withdraw the tool a little tobacco dust falls out. Sometimes, it isn’t enough and I have to work the tool in and out (yeah it’s like that) to get a channel that stays a channel when the tool comes out.
The tool tip on the left (center picture and center with case on the right on the lower left) is my new PerfecDraw (see perfecdraw.com). Notice the spelling, no ‘t’! If you go to perfectdraw.com you will find, of all things, an interesting cigar site! The PerfecDraw tool has the most aggressive tip I have ever seen. From the tip (very sharp) it slides easily into the cigar, while the bottom edge of the cone that spirals up the last half inch or so is razor sharp. When you pull it out of the cigar it cuts and drags back quite a bit of cut up leaf. The further you push it into the cigar, the more it pulls back of course and the idea is to push it only as far as the plugged part. But as aggressive as it is (I’ve used it a few times now) it never seems to pull out too much. So far, draws have never become “too loose” and the cigars have not gotten squishy (too loosely packed). The tool comes with a nice case. It screws into the case and has a pocket clip, all in all a very nice package.
But PerfecDraw is only 4″ long! What if the plug is more than 4″ from the head? What about pyrolysis plugs where the cigar plugs up after you light it because the tobacco swells as moisture is released behind the hot coal? From my experience this is the most common sort of plug. Once in 50 or more cigars to I experience a pre-light plug. Sometimes a cigar is tighter than I like (and I use my draw tool) but some smokers like their draw that way. Much more often I light a cigar that draws fine, and then, a half dozen draws into it the cigar begins to tighten up sometimes way too much. What to do? Insert your [conventional] draw tool through the cigar all the way to the coal. You can feel the coal because the tool feels like it’s breaking through a crust. Now the cigar smokes properly again, but half dozen puffs later, it’s plugged again! On some cigars (more than I care to count) this happens throughout the smoke down to the last couple inches. You can keep using the tool, and that works, but the problem is you have to keep using it! How would the PerfecDraw work this problem, and how especially if the cigar is bigger than a petit robusto or petit corona?
OK, I was surprised, but it does work. I pushed all 4″ into a 6″ cigar with a pyrolysis plug. The tool didn’t open a channel all the way to the coal of course, but it did open enough channel in the last 4″ of the cigar that I could draw it better anyway. I didn’t need to go all the way to the coal. Better still, when the cigar burned down to the channel, its tendency to plug behind the coal disappeared!
At $40 the PerfecDraw is twice the price of my other draw tools, but truth be told it works twice as good too! I recommend it highly.
Also in the picture above (upper right) is a little bottle with a black cap. This is PerfecRepair, and like PerfecDraw, it works as advertised. It seems to be a colloidal suspension. The cap has a little brush attached to it, and in the bottle is a little BB that helps to break up and distribute the colloid (probably food grade gelatin) when shaken vigorously. Who hasn’t experienced a wrapper unraveling? Starting from a little corner at the foot, head, or middle of the cigar, the unraveling keeps getting worse as you smoke. Lift up that first corner, brush a thin coat of PerfecRepair under it, seal it back in place, count to 10, and voila, the unraveling stops there! But it gets better. How many of us have had a cigar crack and split (sometimes the wrapper and binder) at the foot when you light it? How about a cracked cap when you cut or punch the cigar? When that happens, dab a little blob of PerfecRepair on the crack and it stops right there! For $7 there’s enough goop in the bottle for 30 or more cigars (I’m guessing). Again well worth the price.