Follow consumer products and technology, and you’ll undoubtedly notice the ebb and flow between things getting bigger and things getting smaller. Desktop computers become laptops, which become netbooks and then tablets. Cell phones started big and clunky before slimming down considerably—anyone remember the Motorola RAZR?—before the era of the large-screen smart phones came along and brought about the phablet, the device with the five to six inch screen that still fit in your pocket.
Cigar accessories, while not generally considered as glamorous as other parts of technology, and certainly not as widespread, aren’t immune from this cycle either. Soft flames became torches, single jets grew to four and five jet versions, pocket lighters sat side by side with tabletops in retail cases.
In April 2015, the French accessories maker S.T. Dupont announced that it would be releasing the world’s slimmest luxury lighter, the Slim 7, which measures just seven millimeters thick, though it should be noted that Prometheus’s Retro lighter is also 7mm thick.
As most cigar smokers who have ever perused the lighter section of their local retailer know, S.T. Dupont already has a pair of fairly compact single flame lighters already, the Maxijet and Minijet, both of which are tremendously popular and highly regarded for their design and durability, but they clearly felt there was room for an even slimmer version.
The company hasn’t disclosed exactly how they slimmed down the lighter to its seven millimeter thickness and 45 gram weight, other than to say it is “packed with technological innovation.”
Immediately upon receiving the lighter and taking it out of its packaging, its design aesthetic is clear: light, sleek and stylish are the calling cards of the Slim 7. While it is certainly light in the hand, it doesn’t feel cheap at all, and in fact has a solid feel to it with a bit of weight thanks to its metal housing.
Upon closer inspection, the most noticeable feature of the Slim 7 for me is the flattened oval-shape opening for the flame. If you’ve seen a Black Label lighter from Integral-Style, you’ll be familiar with the kind of flame the Slim 7 produces. Instead of being long and pointed, it’s wide and almost cascading, spreading probably half-an-inch across just above its lowest setting, which I found worked perfectly fine for every cigar I lit with it.
Beyond that, a tilde-shaped vent on each side allows for air flow to the burner and shows a bit more of S.T. Dupont’s thought-out styling. On the underside is a standard if slightly smaller flame adjustment screw that requires a flathead screwdriver or similar object to adjust; your fingernail could work in a pinch though I wouldn’t advise it. Next to that is a standard fuel valve for bleeding and refilling the Slim 7.
If you’ve used the Maxijet or Minijet, the side squeeze action is immediately familiar; if you haven’t, it’s incredibly easy to use. I use the top of my thumb to push in the lever close to its top point, though you might find it works better to have it sit in the groove of your first knuckle or some other way that’s comfortable. The Slim 7 fits in the hand very comfortably, and you’ll quickly find the ignition method that works best for you.
It’s a firm but not stiff lever, and from what I recall of my use of the Maxijet and Minijet models, it feels a bit less firm than what those models offer. It’s not enough to concern me about keeping it in my pocket and having it accidentally ignite, though I probably wouldn’t do that without some sort of a protective pouch anyway as I wouldn’t want my keys or anything else to scratch the finish.
Once the ignition lever is squeezed, the Slim 7 puts out a flat, w-shaped flame that is distinctive and rarely seen from a premium cigar lighter. It’s probably between half-an-inch and an inch wide and immediately reminds me of the flat setting you might see on a garden hose sprayer. It still lights your cigar quickly and evenly, though I found that I didn’t run the risk of burning a small hole in the foot that I would have with a single jet torch lighter.
There’s no lid to it, so you won’t find the distinctive S.T. Dupont “ping” with the Slim 7 or any of S.T. Dupont’s torch lighters, and the ignition mechanism makes a sturdy but somewhat generic click when fully depressed.
It’s not completely windproof but held up well with a fan blowing on it and me doing my best to put it out. A sharp, direct gust of wind could certainly merit a relight, though I certainly don’t expect this or any lighter to stay lit in adverse conditions, since I wouldn’t likely be smoking outdoors on an overly windy night anyway.
Given its smaller size, it seems that the fuel tank is proportionately smaller as well, and I found I could easily make it through three or four cigars before the flame would sputter a bit and indicate that a refill was needed. It’s certainly capable of handling a night’s worth of cigars, though more than that and you’ll likely be reaching for a can of butane. If you’re heading out with a group of friends and are in charge of bringing the lighter, you’ll likely want to have something a bit bigger on hand.
With the Slim 7’s smaller design you give up having a visible fuel window, meaning you have no reliable way of telling how much fuel you have left. With the current standard being a fuel window, and in some cases a completely visible fuel tank, this is a bit of a drawback.
There weren’t any issues with the ignition mechanism or the durability of the lighter in the several weeks of use I put it through, until the very final week just before this review was published when it appears that something in the internals came loose and the flame began sputtering quite a bit, spewing out flames as I’m guessing the flow of fuel wasn’t being regulated properly. I don’t recall dropping the lighter, so I’m wondering if something happened during its most recent refueling that caused the issue. Either way, the lighter is currently headed to S.T. Dupont’s service center for a repair, but I’m confident they’ll have it back in working order in no time. I’ve had this happen with a few other lighters, and given the small and presumably delicate insides along with the amount of pressure and heat those systems are under, I’m not shocked when this happens from time to time.
That said, I certainly enjoyed the time I spent with the Slim 7, and I could see myself using this on a fairly regular basis, price notwithstanding. The S.T. Dupont Slim 7 comes in five color options: brushed chrome grey, black, white, yellow gold and pink copper, and each has a suggested retail price of $185. I had the pink copper version and it’s certainly a design that works for me as it’s different from the majority of the lighter color ways available, helping make it that much more distinct.
It’s also one of the more pocket and travel humidor friendly lighters I’ve seen, and as mentioned earlier I’d feel fine putting this in my pocket with some sort of protective sleeve to keep the finish unblemished.
The price does make it a bit harder for me to justify, as there are plenty of lighters under $100 that will light your cigar just as well, and a handful of lighters under $15 that I regularly use that seem to get the job done just fine. While this isn’t as much of a statement piece as some of S.T. Dupont’s other releases that can reach five figures, it is certainly a well-functioning luxury lighter that is bought as much for its design and the implied messages as it is for having the ability to toast your cigar.
The lighter for this review was purchased by halfwheel.
Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co. and STOGIES World Class Cigars (713.785.5100) have the Slim 7 in stock.