When it comes to buying cigar accessories, most cigar smokers are presented with two standard questions: what kind of lighter would you like, and what kind of cutter would you like? However, some companies have aimed to consolidate that into one question: what kind of lighter with an integrated cutter would you like?
For The Lotus Group/Integral Logistics, the company attempted to answer this question by upgrading one of its core lighters, the Duke, to include an integrated serrated blade v-cutter, and thus giving birth to the Lotus Duke V, which was released last summer at the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
WHAT IS IT?
The Duke V ($69.99) is the follow-up to the company’s Duke model, with the most notable addition being the serrated v-cutter that is attached to the back of the lighter to provide an all-in-one, pocket-friendly cutter and lighter. The Duke V keeps the three jets of the original, with the two outer jets angled inward to create a pinpoint, wind-resistant torch flame that is fired by way of a single action ignition. The company also claims that the Duke V will work at elevations of up to 8,000 feet. It is offered in three colors: black matte, antique pewter and antique copper.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
The biggest feature is the one that doesn’t involve lighting your cigar, as the integrated serrated V-Cut cutter is likely to be what tips the scale for this otherwise standard triple-flame torch. It can handle cigars up to a 60-ring gauge, with the serrated blades helping provide a clean cut that won’t destroy the head of the cigar.
- The triple-flame torch is fast-working and effective on getting cigars lit, especially those of larger ring gauges.
- The integration of the cutter is one of the better ones I have seen, and mastering a successful and clean cut is not hard whatsoever.
- The build quality is solid; it feels substantial in the hand and has held up quite well.
- The blue-tinted fuel window is one of the best out there, large and very helpful in seeing how much butane is remaining.
- There is no doubt of the convenience of carrying one accessory as opposed to two. If you like v-cuts, this is a fantastic integration of the two items, and with the capability of handling up to 60-ring gauge cigars, pretty much any cigar smoker will be set with the Duke V in their pocket.
- I had several issues finding a consistent setting for the flame, and it would seem to change on its own regularly. I’d fill up the tank, light up a cigar in the morning on one setting, then have to adjust it when I lit another cigar in the afternoon.
- This would seem to tie into the above point, but there were a number of times where ignitions were unsuccessful, providing just a quick but unusable flash of flame.
- To keep harping on this point, the flame adjustment wheel requires a small screwdriver or similar tool, though a sturdy fingernail will also suffice, more so than on other lighters. Between the oversized wheels or the flip-out mechanism to make adjustment easier, the standard design is quickly getting lost in the dust.
- And one more gripe: the setting that seemed to provide the most consistent lighting experience was much too high for my liking, forcing me to light the cigar from six inches away to avoid scorching the sides of a cigar.
- If you’re not a fan of v-cutters, or simply prefer not to have one built into your lighter, you’re ultimately paying for something you don’t need.
While I wouldn’t say that the market has become saturated with lighters offering integrated cutters, there are a growing number of options out there for cigar smokers who want something beyond the more commonly found integrated punch cutter.
- Colibri Quantum ($175) — Seemingly the most direct competitor to the Lotus Duke V, the Colibri Quantum is also a triple flame torch lighter that comes with an integrated serrated v-cutter, though with a price tag that is $115 more than the Duke V. Other than seeing it at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, I haven’t used it on a daily basis, so I don’t have a strong opinion on it.
- Colibri Astoria ($150) — A triple-flame that comes with a single guillotine cutter as well as the company’s signature Quasar design on the sides, it’s more than double the price of the Lotus Duke V but is well-built and one I enjoyed using quite a bit. The way the cutter folds out is similar to that of the Lotus Duke V.
- Colibri Boss II ($150) — This triple-flame features a double guillotine cutter instead of a v-cut, and folds out to one side of the lighter as opposed to how the cutters on the Lotus Duke V and Colibri Quantum are hinged. While I liked the lighter, the cutter didn’t feel quite as comfortable or effective.
- JetLine V-6 ($129) — If you want to go into overkill mode on the lighter portion, this six-flame beast is one to consider. It features a single blade guillotine on the front that does not fold out, and while functional, the overall size can be a bit unwieldy and is far from pocket- or humidor-friendly.
- XIKAR Trezo ($99.99) — When I received the Lotus Duke V-Cut, my first thought was wow, that looks like a Trezo with a cutter on the back. The Trezo doesn’t have a cutter and it is priced $30 higher than the Duke V-Cut, but from a visual and design aesthetic, the two overlap. XIKAR has also released the Tactical Triple ($99.99) and HP3 Triple ($99.99) into the segment, though neither feature an integrated cutter.
- XIKAR Ultra Mag ($99.99) — XIKAR’s lone entry into the integrated cutter segment, the guillotine cutter isn’t really integrated into the single flame torch, but rather is held on via magnets. The cutter is one of the slimmest on the market and is probably the biggest detractor from its otherwise good performance. Given the magnetic component, it’s not a guarantee you won’t lose the cutter, but it is another option worth considering if you want two accessories in one unit.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
No. While the cutter works just fine, I found there to be too many issues with the consistency of the flame for the Lotus Duke V to earn my recommendation as a lighter. It’s a usable accessory if you’re willing to accept that, and certainly resolving this issue would change my opinion on it, but I’m just not willing to deal with the amount of inconsistency that the Lotus Duke V showed, even with a price that is well below that of any serious competitor.
The lighter used for this review was purchased by halfwheel.