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Dave's Take: Xikar's XO Double Guillotine Cutter Review http://www.xikar.com/products/cutters/xo/ Ritualistic Cutting As i've said before, part of the cigar smoking experience for me is the ritual. Not just during the smoke, but before as well. It really starts at the cigar shop, where selecting the perfect cigar adds to my anticipation for the smoking to come. The ritual then continues through the unwrapping of the cigar, the cutting of the end, the smelling of the fresh cut end (you should try this), the lighting of the cigar, and then finally the smoking. I suppose I see cigar smoking as a luxury activity with a luxury item, and I want to enjoy as much of the process as possible. A Thousand Ways to Cut a Cohiba That's not really a saying, but it is definitely a point of discussion when it comes to the â€œcorrectâ€� way to cut a cigar. About the only consensus that I have found among cigar smokers is that the cigar wrapper from the mouth end must be removed before smoking. Beyond that, the methods abound. If you are not sure of the possible options, then feel free to watch this video that I came across from Neptune Cigars showing the various cutting methods. How to Cut Cigars : Neptune Cigars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzBQSBUmjN0 Golfers would likely also add the poke with a tee and slice with divot tool methods to the list. Like everything else that we humans do, we likely going to discover that we have a favorite cigar opening method. For me, that's cutting. The Xikar XO Cutter Today, I bring you my take on the Xikar XO Double Guillotine cigar cutter. As soon as I saw the XO cutter, I knew that I had to try one out. As I said, I'm a cutter guy, and the Xikar Xi1 cutter is the welcomed workhorse in my cigar toolbox. At first glance, the Xikar XO seemed to push the already awesome double-bladed cutting of the Xi1 to a whole new level of fun. Yep, I just said fun. That's why I smoke cigars, for fun. Anything that can add to the enjoyment of the process will get a look from me. What could not be fun about a spring-loaded double guillotine cutter? Just typing that sentence was fun. How could using the cutter not be fun too? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-9ofK2901A Specifications: Xikar XO Double Guillotine Cutter Double Guillotine style cutter Aluminum body Stainless steel blades Planetary geared cutting system with five internal gears Spring-loaded blade release button 2.38" diameter 64 RG (cuts the cap of 70RG cigars) Colors: 8 (Gunmetal Honeycomb tested) MSRP: $99.99-$119.99 The XO is a cutting machine, inspired by timeless design principles. The dual stainless steel blades operate on a patent pending planetary gear system, ensuring the blades open and close in perfect harmony, providing a guided and clean cut every time. The distinct, round aluminum body of the XO is built for relentless durability and exceptional performance. Engineered to simplify the standard double guillotine style cut. Using the XO is definitely not like using your teeth. According to the Neptune video, you are never without a cutter because you can always go Eastwood and bite the end off of your gran panetela. Cutting with the Xikar XO cutter lives at the opposite end of the cigar-cutting spectrum. The only thing that you'll be doing with your teeth when you cut with the XO is showing them between your retracted lips when you smile. Those Gears are Planetary Raise your hands if you know what a planetary gear system is? My hand is not up, but thanks to Google, I was able to find out a bit about them. Basically, think about the solar system. You have the sun, and then the planets moving around it. That's a huge oversimplification about how these gear systems work, but you get the idea. There are multiple gears all connected together in system, and the turning of one gear is influenced by, and dependent upon the movement of the other gears. You can get really smart if you follow this link to a YouTube explanation of the planetary gear system. While I can't really hope to understand how the gears in the Xikar XO cutter all work together, I do understand the overall result. The blades always move together, even if you only press from one side. What this means for you is that you should be able to get an even cut with minimal effort. As a brilliant bonus, Xikar included openings in the body of the XO, allowing you to see the gears turn while you use it. Dinner and a show. Sometimes getting an even cut can be a challenge with the cheap, single blade cutters. Think cutting a tomato with a knife. Unless that knife is really sharp, and your pressure just right, the initial tomato penetration could involve squishing rather than cutting. Nobody enjoys squishing the tomato, or the cigar. The gear-driven double blades in the XO will not squish your tomato cigar. Cutting to the Chase Cutting cigars with the Xikar XO cutter is as fun as I expected. Glee generates immediately when you press the button on the top that releases the spring-loaded blades. It reminds me of the first time I popped open a switchblade knife. You hit the button, and the blades extend, ready for business. Probably did this twenty times in a row when I opened up the XO box that first time. After that, maybe only five times each time I used the cutter. Full disclosure: I also had delusions of Batman when using the XO. At some point I may have equated popping open the blades with extending the wings on a spring-loaded Batarang. I'm not in charge of where the brain takes me, and for a second, I WAS BATMAN! As for the cutting, the XO is exactly what I expected from the company that brought me my beloved Xi1. The blades are sharp, and with the gearing, they deliver the honed steel with precision. Time and time again, you can deliver the cigar-opening cut exactly where you want it, with wrapper-shearing precision. Even on a probably too dry to smoke cigar, the cut was clean. I actually cut up that dry cigar from stem to stern with the XO, just to be able to make more cuts with the cutter. Again, it's fun to use. From a practical side, if you smoke big ring cigars, the XO is definitely worth checking out. 64 ring gauges can fit inside, and you can take the cap off of a 70 RG stick. I don't know if I've ever had a 70 RG cigar before. That seems huge, and yet the XO can handle it. For reference, the cigar in the photo above is 54 RG. I feel like the XO could take just about anything you throw at it. This cutter could even help you dice carrots for dinner! Not that I cut a carrot with it. Who would do that? Smaller gauges are also a breeze to cut with the XO because of the synced blades. You can easily bring the blades to the edges of the smaller cigar with just a bit of a press, then once in contact, press more firmly to sever. Since the blades move together, it really takes effort to cut incorrectly. As a size reference, you can see how the overall size profile, and the cutting diameter of the XO compares to the Xi1 above. I was pleasantly surprised at how similar the two were as far as space usage in the travel humidor. Both snug into the corner quite nicely. I'd give both the full portability nod, and the fact that they both have spring-loaded blades made the gamer selection very challenging. The XO is XtraOrdinary! I don't think that it's a stretch to say that the Xikar XO double guillotine cutter is the coolest cigar cutter on the market. It is just so interesting to look at, and fun to use. Right now, I'm not currently smoking a cigar at all, yet I keep taking breaks from typing to click the XO open and closed. As for the Xi1 vs XO battle, the XO is in the travel humidor. The XO definitely adds to my cigar while golfing enjoyment, and it always draws interested attention when I pop it open, allowing me to share it's coolness with others. I think that there may also be some golf crosstraining potential in the XO. It's definitely an awesome ball marker, and I think that there may be a way to use it to draw a line on my ball. Regardless, I'm totally geared up to use the XO to cut my next stick.
Dave's Take: Xikar's Turrim Single Lighter http://www.xikar.com/products/lighters/turrim%2Dsingle/ The Turrim Single is XIKAR's newest family addition. Built on the same principles as the 5x64 Turrim, the Turrim Single is a thinner, shorter 4.5x50 version in a single jet flame. The oversized fuel tank is elongated, providing ample butane capacity and the EZ-Viewâ„¢ Red Fuel window makes it easy to visibly detect when it's time to refill with butane. Welcome to the first of three Xikar product reviews that I'll be sharing with you over the next couple of weeks. Previously, I've written about two other Xikar products, the Xikar 5-cigar travel humidor and the 19th Hole gift set, and both of those products have been firmly in my golf bag's cigar arsenal ever since. The more I use their products, the more I'm convinced that Xikar is the company to beat in the cigar accessory marketplace. Today I have for you the Xikar Turrim Single jet torch. Did Xikar keep the awesomeness rolling, and add another must have item to my bag? Features Durable metal body with sleek look and feel Ergonomic pull-down pivot action for easy lighting Oversized, ratcheting fuel adjustment system allows for easy flame height adjustments Fits into one cigar slot in a travel case Elongated fuel tank maximizes fuel capacity EZ-Viewâ„¢ Red Fuel Window to easily detect remaining butane levels 4.5â€� x 50 RG Four available colors MSRP: $49.99 Ergonomics and Functionality The Xikar Turrim Single jet torch is basically cigar shaped. Even the dimensions for it are listed with a ring gauge for diameter. The great thing about this shape is that it allows the lighter to fit into cigar shaped spaces. It's ideal for most travel humidors and cases. The lighter also has a nice weight and texture. The cylindrical body fits well in my hand, and the added texture keeps it in place as you flip the igniter. Your thumb just ends up being where it should be when you go to light it. Solid ergonomics. The only thing that I would caution you about with this lighter, and all other sliding top ignition lighters, is to make sure that you are putting your thumb on the switch, and then sliding it away from the now exposed burning jet. Buddy wanted to push the ignition switch with his thumb, rather than pull it, and he almost had a hot thumb surprise. Seems like and obvious thing, but it's not for all. The flame adjustment knob is huge, and very easy to adjust. I hate torches where you need a screwdriver to change the flame height. That's often times a three-handed operation, when I currently have only two. With the Xikar Turrim Single jet torch you can ignite it, and then adjust the flame height while it burns. No other small torch that I own allows for this to happen. The butane window is also a nice feature, removing all questions about whether or not the lighter is full. This definitely helps to prevent the click and hope flame delivery system that can happen with other torches. You know exactly how much butane remains. Dave's 10 Click Challenge My new measurable metric for lighter performance is Dave's Ten Click Challenge. Basically, I will fill the lighter, and see how many ignitions occur with ten consecutive lighting attempts. I know that I want the torch to light more often than it doesn't, and so this seemed a valuable bit of data. For the Xikar Turrim Single jet torch, the score was 9/10, with the only failure coming on click 10. (It also lit on try 11; I was curious...) 90% ignition rate is a damn fine score in my book. Golfability So the lighter performs like a champ, but does it work well on the course? You bet it does. There are two main reasons why the Xikar Turrim Single jet torch may be just the torch that the golfer is looking for. First, the shape is perfect. The torch is just the right size to fit in one of the cigar slots in your travel humidor. Sure, this means that you are down one cigar for the round, but I can't imagine when I'd have a five cigar round. For me, four sticks and a lighter still means that I have extra sticks to share with my friends should they want one too. The Xikar Turrim Single jet torch just fits right in. The other thing that I like about this design is that the butane tank is huge. You can fill this up, and then let it ride for a couple of rounds. You'll have the flame when you need it, without packing a can of butane in your bag like my buddy does. This torch will definitely avoid the 10th hole fill-ups. Overall: It's in the Bag! The Xikar Turrim Single jet torch is a great lighter for the cigar-smoking golfer. It has the shape, capacity, and dependability that will keep your cigars ablaze as you traverse the links. Once again, I am truly impressed with what Xikar has to offer. I think that the $49.99 price tag on this lighter is pretty solid as well. Sure, there are cheaper lighter options out there, but how many $15 torches have you bought, and then thrown away when they break? This torch is backed with Xikar's lifetime warranty, so you are basically buying a forever torch. I feel that the investment in something nice adds to the experience as well. A cigar on the course has a bit of ritual for me. I like to pick the cigar from my selection, cut it with a nice cutter, and then light it with a fun to use torch. Maybe you are different, but like lots of the stuff in my bag, using something that is more than utilitarian adds to the experience. Tune in for more Xikar products soon.
Avoiding The Rough in the Drink Cart I truly believe that improvements in golf equipment have increased my enjoyment of the game. I love that my clubs are forgiving. Better gear has truly translated to better golf for me over the years, or at least less complaining about my equipment. One place where golf technology still lags though is in the beverage cart. Maybe it's not so much a technology lag as a lag in market awareness. For seemingly forever, the beer "choice" on the beverage cart was whether you wanted a small can, or a large can from a big three brewery. Thankfully, there has been some craft brewery penetration at my home course, but the options in the drink cart definitely do not reflect the amazing beer options here in NorCal. Small breweries have exploded into existence in the past decade, and with their emergence, the beer drinker has more libation choices than ever before. You can check my New Brew Thursday beer thread for some great beer options, discovered by both myself, and our hop head MGS forum members. Lots of good beer in that thread. As I said, you are not likely finding a ton of beer diversity at the golf course. This means that if you want to enjoy a (good) beer while you play, you need to bring it with you. Now stuffing a few cans into one's golf bag is not a new thing. I'd be willing to bet that has been going on as long as we have had canned beer and golf bags. The issue for some of our small favorite breweries is that they are not large enough to can or bottle their beers. What if you want to take one of these fine establishments' beers to the course? You've basically have one option, the glass growler. Glass + Grass = Pass There was a time when I collected growlers. Each brewery had their own logoed glass growler, and I thought that they made great souvenirs. Plus, there was a time when breweries could only fill their own growlers with beer. Thankfully, that's no longer the case here in California. Now you can fill just about anything with beer. The question now becomes, what is the best growler for bringing beer to the course? On the cheap end, you have the traditional glass growlers. Unfortunately, they are very breakable, and being non-insulated, they also necessitate some kind of cooler coming to the course as well. Insulated, metal growlers are definitely the better way to go. Luckily, there are a ton of insulated bottle choices out there today. Options range from those with simple screw tops, to growlers equipped with CO2 fueled tap systems. There are even growlers that can survive being shot out of an air cannon! I'm not kidding. Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTEMYkKV6Kg And that's the growler that I have for you today. The new Yeti Â½ Gallon Ramber Jug. The RamblerÂ® Half Gallon Jug is built to take on the wild, whether that's rough tumbles from the truck cab or fishing the Texas flats in August. Like the rest of the Rambler series, it's constructed from 18/8 stainless steel, has double-wall vacuum insulation, and comes ready with our No Sweatâ„¢ Design. But this Rambler Jug is also outfitted with our MagCapâ„¢ and dock, so your cap is never out of reach while you grab a drink. The one-inch of lid insulation locks in your drink's temperature unlike any other water jug out there. If you want to take your cold (or hot) drinks further for longer, the Rambler Half Gallon Jug has you covered. The Yeti Rambler Jug is like no other beer vessel that I have in my growler arsenal. About all it shares with the others is an ability to transport beer. We have ventured into next level territory here. Survive the Apocalypse Construction The Yeti Rambler Jug is a beast. It weighs just under four pounds empty. That's a lot, putting it about two pounds heavier empty than my same volume (64oz) Hydroflask. If I was to pinpoint the location of the extra weight, I'd place some of it in the jug's husky handle, and the remainder in the insulated lid and body. The lid is crazy thick, helping to keep the liquid inside cold. For other vacuum bottles, the lid is the one place where you don't have that double-walled construction. Because of this thickness, the Yeti Rambler Jug's small lid is physically pretty far away from the main chilled volume, likely preventing much environmental heat exchange. In addition to improving insulation, the huge removable top makes the jug easier to clean than any other narrow-necked container. No longer do you need to wonder if you left a little bit of the last fill in the bottom of the container. So easy to take apart and clean. Transporting Beer Getting back on track, the main goal here is to transport beer from the brewery to the course, keeping it cold and carbonated for maximal enjoyment during play. For purely scientific purposes, I took the Rambler Jug to one of my favorite breweries, Device Brewing, here in Sacramento. The staff at the brewery see a ton of growlers, and yet they were definitely interested in the Yeti Rambler Jug. They took it all apart, asked a ton of questions about it, and seemed ready to buy one after we finished the fill. It definitely caught the eye of the beer-filling professionals. [For the curious, I filled the jug with their Pincushion Pilsner that had been dry-hopped with Mosaic hops. Delicious, and only 5.1% ABV and so it's very golf friendly.] After filling, I threw the jug in my fridge overnight, and took it to the course the next morning. The bulk of the Rambler Jug does make it a bit of a challenge to pack in the golf bag. It may fit in a big cart bag pocket, but was too large for my carry bag, and also too large for the mesh section in the Clicgear console. Had we not had someone in our group riding, I probably would have needed to rig up a carry system for it on the pushcart. Carabiner off a cart tube or something. It does fit nicely in the power cart storage basket though, and you could bring a clip and secure the handle to the basket if you are worried about it moving around while you motor. It was shot out of a cannon though so it will probably be fine... Our round started off a bit congested, so we decided to help with pace of play by cracking open the Rambler Jug on the second tee box. Nothing better than a cold beer at 8:30 am on a Sunday. Probably didn't speed up the groups in front of us, but we cared a little less. The beer was still cold and carbonated 20 hours after it was filled. Obviously it would be cold since it had been in my fridge, but carbonation could be lost should there be any air leakage. Four nice pours later and we were on the way. The small lid attaches to the larger lid magnetically so you can't lose it during pouring, or chugging. Great insight from Yeti by including this feature. We finished the round about four and a half hours later. Though it was 102 Â°F, the remaining beer in the jug was still cold and carbonated. Full disclosure, a couple of us had a refills during the round. The beer had warmed a bit, but not much. I'd still call it cold. In contrast, beer in a glass growler would likely have boiled away at that point. I dig this jug a bunch. My only real critique for the course is that it does get heavy when filled, and that its bulk makes it tough to pack when walking. One way that you could get around this is by purchasing one of the Rambler Jug Mounts that Yeti is offering. I think that there is a way to mount the jug holder on my Clicgear. If that can be figured out, it's a 100% go for me. If I owned my own power cart, there would be a jug mount attached to it for sure. At $99.99 for the Â½ gallon jug, and $129.99 for the gallon version, the Yeti Rambler Jug is no small investment, but it does seem like it will last forever. If it survived a cannon shot into a wall, I'm not sure how I could do something worse to it on the course. Yeti's 5-Year Warranty probably covers you pretty well regardless. Bonus Coverage: Yeti 20oz Rambler Tumbler You may have noticed the sweet Yeti Rambler 20 tumblers in the jug photos. In my mind, this was the best way to enjoy beer on the course. Bring it in the Rambler Jug, and then share it in the Rambler Tumblers. When I talked with a Yeti rep a few months ago at a golf show, she suggested the 20oz model as the ideal size. Both the 10oz and the 30oz Ramblers are just a bit wider at the base, and so they don't fit that well into the cup holders. The 20oz fits great in the power cart. And also pretty well in the larger Clicgear cup holder. These cups do a great job of keeping beer, and I assume other beverages, cold and contained. The new Yeti DuraCoat Color finishes are bright, and provide a little nicer tactile interaction than the classic smooth stainless. The blue finish is especially awesome, matching my blue wedges nicely. Double Bonus Coverage: Yeti MagSlider Lid Yeti's new Yeti MagSlider lid is now included with the Rambler 20 tumblers, and available ala carte if you already have a tumbler. It is the show stealer for me. The problem with the tumbler for me has always been lid hole slosh. Beer squirts out the lid hole when I push the cart over various terrains. This new lid ends that issue immediately. How it works is that there is a black plastic rectangle that attaches to the lid via magnets. Once on, it slides back and forth to cover, or reveal the opening. It doesn't seal the lid 100%. It will drip if you invert the cup, but it blocks all course slosh. Plus, the sliding piece can be easily popped off for cleaning. No longer will you accidentally grow bacterial cultures in your tumbler. This thing is just brilliant. Even if you currently have a Yeti clone tumbler, you should get one of these lids. I tried it (covertly) in the 20oz Walmart version and the MagSlider lid fits perfectly. It'll be a satisfying $10 purchase. If I was Oprah, the MagSlider lid would be a favorite thing for sure. With the Rambler Jug and Tumblers, Yeti has set the standard for fresh beer transport and enjoyment on the course. Cheers!