If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the saying we’re all familiar with. But where does the line between fixing it and improving it lie?
For S.T.Dupont, trying to figure out where that line lies might start with looking at the updates to its smallest lighter, the miniJet.
After approximately 10 years being part of the company’s catalog, S.T.Dupont announced an update to it in June, namely a simplified ignition mechanism that S.T.Dupont says improves the flame, as well as longer sides to help the lighter better through wear and tear.
The company notes that the miniJet 2.0’s ignition is good for 20,000 lights—something I should have been keeping in mind while giving it a few meaningless lights along the way, though it is hard to fully process that number. Additionally, the new version features a revamped air inlet design that is shaped like a flame, which is the easiest way to tell the first and second generations apart. It’s a design that you may recognize from another of S.T.Dupont’s slender lighters, the Slim 7, though it has been rotated 90 degrees in this unit.
|Name||Weight (Grams)||Weight (Ounces|
|Colibri Boss II||120||4.2|
|JetLine Super Torch Triple||50||1.7|
|S.T. Dupont MaxiJet||62||2.2|
|XIKAR HP4 Quad Lighter||132||4.7|
|S.T.Dupont miniJet 2.0||59||1.9|
In the hand, the lighter seems to simultaneously embrace and eschew its mini title, measuring 2 3/20 inches tall, 1 1/4 inches long, and a half inch wide, while weighing approximately 1.9-ounces (59g). It isn’t so small as to get lost in the hand—though it does seem to disappear into the pocket at times—while being light enough to not feel the least bit cumbersome. If anything, its solid build and dense core give the miniJet 2.0 some relative heft.
To get the S.T.Dupont miniJet 2.0 ignited, all that is required is a simple squeeze of the side ignition. It’s a firm lever that offers a bit of resistance, though I found it to be consistently smooth with never so much as a suggestion that there was anything other than its natural tension affecting the motion. Other than a poorly calibrated, second-rate ignition, it’s one of the firmer ignition mechanisms I can remember using.
The first cigar that I used the new miniJet to light was a 60-ring gauge gordito, and coming off using the XIKAR HP4 quad-jet for several weeks, the difference was readily apparent. While the miniJet was certainly up to task of lighting the cigar, it took a good bit longer as would be expected, and I was quickly reminded that this lighter occupies the other end of the firepower spectrum.
If you find yourself lighting a thicker cigar with the miniJet 2.0, you’ll likely find yourself with a warmed finger; I’m a righty and as mentioned above, the first cigar that I used this lighter on was a 60-ring gauge, and I could feel my right index finger getting quite hot as heat from the torch transferred from the flame to the metal case. It’s gradual enough so as not to be too much of a shock, but be prepared for it if you have a cigar that needs more than 10 or 12 seconds of continuous flame.
If anything, using the single torch is a good reminder to be a bit more patient with lighting a cigar; I’ve come to be a fan of limiting myself to no more than 10 seconds of flame at a time to help keep the tobacco from charring, which I find to in turn preserve the taste.
There’s a good bit of range in flame height, with a small screw on the base of the lighter used to fine tune the setting. The screw has a turning range of about 180 degrees; at its lowest the lighter will not ignite, and at its most open it puts out a strong flame that reaches about two inches in visible length. I found that my ideal setting was about 10 degrees more open than halfway, which resulted in a strong but manageable flame.
Speaking of the bottom of the lighter, that is where the fuel valve is located, and as with all S.T.Dupont lighters, the company requests you use its own brand of butane. In this case, it’s the black can, which retails for about $15 for 75 ml, though pricing can vary from store to store and if you’re purchasing in bulk. For reference, a 100ml can of XIKAR PuroFine fuel retails for $5, or about a quarter of the price.
One of the excluded things I’m a bit puzzled by is any sort of cover for the torch; while you can’t completely cover a torch while it’s being used—at least not in a way that anyone has figured out—it would seem that a retractable lid would make sense here, if nothing for less for some kind of show, but more importantly to keep debris out of the jet while not In use.
Similarly, there is no child-lock or anti-ignition mechanism until the lighter gets turned past 90 degrees; it’s a decent compromise, but bear in mind that if this is in your pocket and the flame pointed upward, it could be ignited accidentally.
Also of note is the absence of a fuel window, which means you are effectively flying blind on how much butane is left. Once you get used to using the lighter, a full tank will give you a decent baseline, but if you’re picking this up after some time away from it, you have no clue whether or not it needs to be topped up. If anything, having the window would be a benefit to show what a butane sipper this is; if there was one thing that consistently surprised me about the miniJet 2.0 was how infrequently I needed to refill it.
With its compact body, fuel capacity is certainly a concern for anyone looking to use this to light multiple cigars, though in my experience I found it largely up to the task. Even though it has a smaller tank, the single jet sips fuel, and if you are lighting thinner leaves that combust quicker than oily ligero ones, you can easily get through four or five cigars before needing a refill. This is one of the primary spots of compromise with the miniJet; the compact size is convenient, but it comes with a smaller tank that will need to be filled up more often.
While my list of favorite lighters is constantly evolving—something that seems to come with reviewing a new one every month—the S.T.Dupont miniJet 2.0 makes a solid case to join the top of the list. It’s simple, sturdy, and dependable, three things that I look for in a lighter and I think that most people would appreciate. It’s biggest drawback will be the one thing that most S.T.Dupont products get knocked for: its price. At $150 it certainly asks a premium, though after several weeks of fairly regular use, would say it at least makes a compelling case.
Davidoff of Geneva USA advertises on halfwheel.