Ahead of the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, The Lotus Group/Integral Logistics does what they and a number of cigar accessory companies do: begin announcing new products that light and cut a cigar.
It’s an interesting process to watch to see what new approaches are being taken to a problem that has long been solved, with the discussion having largely moved to form over function. That’s not entirely the case, as we have seen a number of flat flame lighters enter the market, but for the most part, the process seems to have evolved mixing and matching varying numbers of torch jets into varying shapes of bodies, then picking the materials, colors and price points.
Headlining the company’s new releases that year was the Tomahawk, a new offering for its Vertigo brand, which is designed to come in at a lower price point than the Lotus-branded accessories, while still offering high levels of performance and design.
WHAT IS IT?
The Tomahawk is a triple-flame torch lighter that features a very simple single-action ignition as well as a built-in punch cutter on the base. It measures 3 1/8 inches tall by 1 3/8 inches wide and 7/8 of an inch thick, making it pocket-friendly as well as small enough to generally fit in a travel humidor without issue, though that does depend on the size of the cigars you’re carrying. It’s priced at $29.99 and comes in three color options, black crackle, antique pewter and antique copper (pictured). As with all Vertigo lighters, it also comes with a lifetime warranty for U.S. and Canadian consumers.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
In addition to its ease of use, the lighter is notable for having a nearly complete metal housing, something not often found with lighters that skew towards the lower end of the price spectrum. Beyond that, it features a sizable translucent panel that allows you both see the fuel tank and how much butane remains, as well as the inner workings of the lighter. While it may be interesting to see, it’s not really that action-packed, however.
- The lighter is incredibly easy to use; simply retract the lid and almost without fail, the three torches do their thing. As with all such lighters, for best results, I suggest not rushing the ignition process as that gives the butane an adequate chance to start flowing and thus get ignited successfully.
- The antique finish seems to do a remarkable job hiding the wear and tear that this lighter may receive. Short of a gouge, I can’t see much that would make this lighter appear like it’s overly worn, and the finish has held up well over the several weeks I used it on a near daily basis.
- This lighter fits incredibly well in the hand thanks to the rounded side where the visible fuel tank is.
- Even though it is a nearly all-metal body, I rarely found the lighter getting hot after use. Certainly, it will pick up some heat, but I hardly ever felt like I needed to let the lighter cool down before using it again or putting back in my pocket or humidor.
- The lighter is guaranteed by the company to work at elevations up to 12,000 feet above sea level.
- Even for a triple-flame torch, it seems to sip fuel. While I had to refill it several times during usage, it never seemed like it was guzzling butane.
- For what’s billed as a visible fuel tank, the dark smoke gray on the Vertigo Tomahawk leaves a good bit to be desired. I found myself needing to hold it up to the light to get a glimpse of how much butane remained more times than I would have liked, though in good lighting it functions as intended.
- The punch cutter’s blade came off at some point during my testing of the Vertigo Tomahawk, something that I didn’t notice until probably a week after the fact as some friends said they saw it on the floor of a place where we had been smoking cigars but didn’t know what it was. As someone that doesn’t use a punch cutter, this isn’t a deal-breaker for me, and I’m sure that the company would have gladly repaired or replaced the lighter had I contacted them.
- The flame adjustment knob is one of the smaller, old styles, even though it is billed as being large in the company’s catalog. That means you’ll need a screwdriver or other such implement, though I rarely found myself needing to adjust it. While I prefer the larger style, they do seem to need more fine-tuning.
Many triple-flame torches skew closer to $100, or you have to sacrifice design and move to a plastic body, which generally gets you into the $10-$15 range. In fact, XIKAR and Colibri don’t currently offer anything within about $30 of the Tomahawk’s price point in a triple-flame option. What really makes it a challenge to find a competitor for the Tomahawk is the design, as there are hardly any models on the market that offer the large visible fuel tank as well as a punch cutter.
- JetLine Mongoose Triple Flame ($39.99) — The Mongoose debuted last year and offers a similar combination of body and clear fuel window, though the tank is on the bottom of the lighter as opposed to offering the clear side of the Tomahawk. It’s also available in a single flame option that came out this year, and comes with a built-in punch cutter.
- JetLine Hurricane II ($39.99) — While it lacks the large fuel window of the Tomahawk and Mongoose, the recently updated Hurricane may be one of the most popular lighters in the company’s portfolio that isn’t sold in the multi-pack trays, such as the Pocket Torch and New York. It also comes with a punch cutter.
- Vector Urbano ($29.99) — Vector offers a number of triple flame torches in the $30 range, with the Urbano is likely the closest to the Tomahawk. It’s a triple flame with punch cutter, but lacks the huge fuel window of the Tomahawk.
- JetLine Bugle Master ($49.99) — I’m a bit hesitant to put another JetLine on this list, but the fuel window of the Tomahawk reminds me a bit of the Bugle Master’s. It’s a quad flame lighter and doesn’t have a punch cutter, but if that huge fuel window is a thing for you, this is worth checking out.
- Visol Rhino Quad Flame Torch Cigar Lighter ($40) — While I haven’t used this lighter, it appears to be essentially the same lighter as the Bugle Master.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
Yes. I’ve definitely enjoyed using the Vertigo Tomahawk on a near-daily basis for several weeks, and other than the issue with the punch cutter—which couldn’t bother me less—I can’t find many issues with the lighter. Sure, the fuel window could be a bit more translucent, but it’s nothing I’m going to fault too badly. For a $30 triple torch—and often a few dollars less than that depending on where you shop—it’s about a solid of a unit as I have found.
The lighter used for this review was purchased by halfwheel.