If you have shopped for cigar accessories, the name XIKAR should be a familiar one to you. The Kansas City, Mo. company makes a wide array of lighters, cutters, storage units and ashtrays and can be found in seemingly every quality cigar shop from coast to coast.
But how do you pick the perfect lighter? There are three major things that I think any consumer looks for in a lighter: does it work? does it last? does it reflect my personal style? XIKAR’s Trezo, a triple-torch lighter released in 2007, is one that offers a near resounding yes to all three questions.
The lighter offers three jet flames arranged in a straight line, with both of the outer jets angled inwards by eight degrees to create a focused, intense flame that will make quick work out of lighting any cigar. I have often debated the merits of the straight line arrangement of jets versus the triangle array found on the XIKAR Ellipse III and models from other companies and am not sure if I have found a definitive answer. Some of the time I find myself leaning towards the triangle arrangement as it seems to provide a bit wider base from which to toast a cigar, though I certainly can’t complain about the straight line’s efficiency and ability to focus the flame on specific spots.
The simple answer to does it work? is yes, and exceedingly well.
With a triple torch, it works almost too well at some points and becomes too much for the smaller ring gauge cigars that I prefer to smoke. While I am partial to the single action ignition option, the additional step of flipping open a lid before igniting the lighter is hardly enough for me to speak negatively about this product. It’s something that can be done with your thumb in an almost single motion, and the more you use it the more second nature it becomes.
One of the reasons I have come to favor the Trezo from other XIKAR models is that your thumb is nowhere near the flame when lighting a cigar. I previously owned the ELX and my biggest complaint about it was that my thumb would get warm from the flame, despite the barrier created by the lid. It came to a point where I almost dreaded using it simply because of that fact.
Between the three jets and the fact that the outer jets are angled in, the XIKAR Trezo creates a fairly intense flame that seems better suited for bigger ring gauges and thicker leaves. I’ve been guilty of over torching a cigar or two because the Trezo puts out so much heat, and it’s one I pretty much won’t use on Cuban cigars because I feel it is just too much firepower for them.
That said, you do have to exercise a bit of caution around the Trezo, especially in daylight when the flame isn’t as visible as it will warm your fingers and any other body part up rather quickly, with an added warning when lighting a cigar while it’s in your mouth.
Take advantage of the large flame adjustment wheel at the bottom of the unit and only turn it about a third of a turn from its absolute minimum and you should be fine. You don’t need any tools to adjust the flame, just your fingers, another win for the Trezo. For some, the Trezo and any triple flame lighter could be seen as a bit of overkill, a point I will certainly not dispute but one that should not stop you from considering this as your everyday lighter.
The other reality with triple-flame lighters is that they consume fuel at a higher rate than their single and double flame counterparts, though I would never complain that the Trezo is a butane guzzler. I’ve never counted the exact number of cigars I can light per fill up, but it’s certainly a good number. Just like with cars, if you want the performance that a triple flame offers, you have to be willing to pay the price of fuel. Want to drive a Ferrari? Don’t bark about the price of gas. The side window shows you exactly how much fuel you have left, and refilling is a breeze.
In regards to its durability, I’ve had my Trezo for more than two years and finally had to send it in for a bit of service this past winter, a fairly simple and quick repair of cleaning out the air lines and with which XIKAR sent me a note saying how I could remedy the issue should I ever run into it in the future, as well as an invitation to send it back if need be.
Which brings me to my second, albeit very minor gripe with the Trezo, one that I have with pretty much every lighter on the market: given the importance of bleeding your lighter of the air that accumulates through normal use, I’ve always been a bit surprised that the process isn’t a bit easier. While it is fairly easy as it is, especially since XIKAR’s MTX Multi-tool has become my go-to cutter and the unit has a built-in tool to make bleeding as easy as possible, I will offer my most heartfelt applause to the company who can produce a lighter that can be bled without the use of a tool. I think it will offer both better performance and fewer service problems, and take away that one small excuse that some customers have for not bleeding their lighters on a more regular basis.
As for personal style, that is one that I will leave up to you. For me, the Trezo—and pretty much every lighter—is about function more than form, though I have no problem with the latter. It has a good bit of weight to it though it doesn’t feel overly heavy in the hand or pocket, and its sturdy nature offers confidence in its durability. Over the two and a half years that I have had mine it has taken it share of bumps, bruises and falls and other than a few cosmetic damages seems none the worse for it. Do I think the Trezo is a lighter that stops people in their tracks? No, but that’s not my goal.
The Trezo is currently available in four colors, the most recent addition being the G2, or gunmetal-on-gunmetal finish released at the 2013 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, and the other three being variations on a common silver base, with chrome polish, black and gold highlights as the choices. I was gifted the silver and black version, which would have been my top choice of the four, followed by the chrome polish or G2. If you order directly from XIKAR, you can also have your Trezo laser engraved with your name or other message, an added way to personalize your lighter.
The fact that XIKAR stands by their lighters with a lifetime warranty is an incredible bonus and almost icing on the cake; as long as I don’t lose it, I have a feeling the Trezo will be in my regular rotation of lighters, which right now includes the soft-flame XIKAR EXII, a lighter I use on more delicate wrappers. Even if I did lose my Trezo, I imagine I’d be fairly quick to buy another one.
With an MSRP of $99.99, the Trezo is certainly not the least expensive lighter on the market, but when you factor in the lifetime guarantee and performance that is at the top of its class, it becomes a bit harder to argue with the price.
While there are a lot of very good lighters on the market, the XIKAR Trezo is one I keep coming back to and recommending to other people and one that I see myself using for the foreseeable future. Between its functionality, attractive form, durability and the confidence that I have in it thanks to XIKAR’s lifetime warranty, I just don’t see why I would ever replace it.