Xikar Meridian - The best thing since sliced wood?
I recently got my hands on a Xikar Meridian Soft Flame Cigar Lighter thanks to the good folk at Canteros and I thought it would be a good time to discuss soft flame lighters for Cigars!
Firstly, Soft vs Torch.
For many years torch lighters have been the go-to for cigar smokers, mostly because they lite a cigar fast and in almost any conditions. But most aficionados will tell you it's not the best way to light a cigar, and in ideal conditions will generally opt to use a spill instead.
Torch lighters burn at roughly 2400 degrees, almost twice the temperature of a soft flame. The biggest mistake most cigar smokers make with a torch lighter is holding the flame too close to the foot of the cigar and for too long when they’re lighting up. Because the top of the flame on a torch is invisible, you want to hold your lighter back from the foot of the cigar to avoid incinerating it or making it taste bad with an aggressive blast of butane.
Toast, don't Roast.
Because soft flame lighters burn closer to 1300 degrees, the flame is less intense than a torch. You’re less likely to 'roast' your cigars and impart the unwanted taste of butane into the blend. It takes a little longer to light a cigar with a soft flame, but a cooler and slower light preserves the natural flavour of the premium tobaccos. Most cigar-makers swear by soft flame lighters for this reason.
The single biggest drawback to a soft flame lighter however, is the wind. If you’re lighting a cigar outside, the slightest breeze can blow the flame out.
So how does the Xikar Meridian Soft Flame Cigar Lighter stand up?
It's damn amazing!
Unlike a BIC or other generic soft flame lighters, this flame is HUGE, it's equivalent to that of a good spill, maybe even larger when on the full setting.
The form factor is great, no bizarre hand positions just to get it to work like some of them... and the butane LASTS FOR AGES!
It really is like using a spill!
Ok, if spills are the king, and this is just trying to be like a spill.. then why not just use a spill right?
Well there are a few cons with spills... Firstly they are single use, so you need to carry a bunch of them if you want to light more than one stick. But! you don't want to store them with your cigars either as they can draw all the good moisture from your Boveda packs that you want for your sticks. Also with a spill, you still need a lighter to light the spill itself.
And then after all that, they can make quite a mess and be a bit of a fire hazard in dry conditions haha.
So, overall? I have nothing negative to say about this lighter and plenty of good things! If you are looking for a new way to light your cigars then this should very much be on your radar. (I'm pretty sure Grant has a few more left... just email him and ask as they are not on the site.)