Most people probably don’t realize that they have it pretty easy when it comes to picking out a cigar lighter, you pick one, adjust the flame to where you like it, and use it. It’s a different tale for us here in the Mile High City. When you live at a mile above sea level, it is usually a crap chute if a given lighter will even light at all… seriously. There is a very narrow sweet spot in the adjustment wheel that you must hit, and sometimes (especially with cheaper lighters) that sweet spot isn’t within the adjustment, or the ignition is too far away from the gas. Other times, if you do hit the sweet spot, it will change as the lighter has more or less fuel in it and you will have to adjust it to get it to light.
This is where Xikar comes in. Over the years I’ve been smoking I’ve had a LOT of different lighters, like at least 30. Overall, Xikar has been the most consistent at performing at altitude, but not 100%. A few years ago Xikar released the Stratosphere, which was specifically designed for use at high altitude. I, of course, went out and bought one immediately. While it did light consistently at altitude, its plastic body would cause it to get hot… really hot, so that made it tough to use because I take my time lighting my cigar, and then it would need to cool down before someone else could use it. Also, I felt like the flame would never get quite big enough, I felt like I was sticking my cigar into the lighter. I found myself not using it very much, only in emergencies, or trips up into the mountains (12,000 ft). Then, last year Xikar announced the Cirro, here, and my hopes again were lifted. This is my review of the Cirro.
The Cirro is made of all metal, a key upgrade from the Stratosphere, and looks very attractive. Everything feels quality and durable, as you would expect from most Xikar products. The lighter itself is pretty compact, which is nice as I find myself using this lighter mostly outside and on the go so it fits into a pocket nicely. The adjustment wheel is nice and big and the fuel level is quite visible. The click mechanism of the lighter is a solid-feeling single-action light that has a good amount of resistance.
Performance-wise at high-altitude, this lighter is king. It lights every time, even in the mountains. The flame adjustment allows it to get nice and big, much bigger than the Stratosphere, so I’m able to hold it a good ways away from the cigar even in a breeze. Speaking of breeze, this thing is wind PROOF, not resistant. You can literally blow it out with your mouth and watch it relight instantly because of the heated coil inside the top. You could light your cigar in a hurricane if you wanted to. It’s fuel consumption is not any more than any other lighter, even when turned up fairly high, the tank is still good for 9 or 10 lights.
Others may not find as much value in this as I do, living at high altitude, but even if I didn’t I would still get one of these for how wind-proof it is. It would be perfect for those windy BBQ’s, sporting events or hikes. It’s size and performance make this a no-brainer. It’s MSRP is a modest $49, and you can find it a little cheaper with some digging around. You can buy it here from the Xikar website and even have it engraved.