Cigar Reserve Cedar Spills Review & Giveaway

Cigar Reserve Cedar Spills

Today we’ve got another article from Nikki Glenn, a cigar aficionada from St. Louis and a violinist entertainer for private, corporate and special events worldwide. She loves learning about and smoking cigars as much as possible.

[Scroll down to the bottom of the article for a video review, and to see the cedar spills in action!]

One of the aspects I love best about cigar smoking is that it is an activity that can be supremely sophisticated, or extremely down to earth. Cigars go just as well with blue jeans as they do evening wear, and enhance the look of both. In my mind, the cigar spill is a throwback to another time, when everyone dressed for dinner; using one to light a cigar is, by its very nature, an exercise in elegance and enjoyment.

Cigar Reserve, located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, creates a very unique-looking cedar spill for aficionados. The spills are made from grade A Spanish cedar logs from Portugal, then shipped to North Carolina for cutting to the specified thickness, then cut into the striking saber shape. The spills can also be laser-engraved for customization. According to Cigar Reserve, using their spills is of great benefit to the smoking experience: a soft, clean, butane-free flame, and an increased enhancement of the cigar’s flavor.

When I was offered the opportunity to try the cedar spills offered by Cigar Reserve, I had a great deal of misgivings. I’d never actually used one to light a cigar, so I had visions of setting either my hair, my clothes, or my house on fire. (Please understand that I’m so paranoid about fire that when I first got an outdoor fire pit, I only burned teeny, tiny pieces of wood in it because I was afraid of a spark setting the house on fire). So, I decided it would be best to attempt this in the company of others (with a fire extinguisher at the ready in case things went terribly wrong). I also really wanted the opinions of other smokers, to get other perspectives than my own, so I took some to my usual hangout and shared them with a few of the veteran smokers.

It was unanimous that the design is eye-catching, and it was quite a conversation starter when I arrived with them. The most appealing aspects of the spills were the saber shape, and the smell of the cedar; it smelled great in the box, and also as it burned. Directions are very simple: to light, hold the spill with the curved tip down at a 45 degree angle, light the tip, then use it to light your cigar. Hold it upright like a candle to extinguish or place in an ashtray to burn out. In practice, it was somewhat different. I found that the most effective way to light it was not with the usual torch lighter, which burned the tip right up, but rather with a match – you don’t need a blowtorch to light these.

I liked that the flame was soft and even, and it allowed me to really toast the foot gently. I sometimes get my cigars a little more extra crispy than strictly necessary, I had a lot more control over the flame with the spill. One caveat is that you may want to be very gentle in your ignition puffs, and also if you’re planning to blow out the spill – I made it snow ash flakes more than once by blowing too hard. It’s very carefully engineered to create a consistent burn as it progresses, but you can make a flaky mess if you’re not careful. One thing to note: you may have had the experience of lighting a cigar and feeling the urge to spit after the first puff. Perhaps you were a philistine like me and used an inferior source of ignition? Maybe a Bic? I can’t be the only one. At any rate, the spill makes a very, very clean flame and I definitely tasted the difference from using a torch or other methods.

The spill produced an enjoyable smoke. I didn’t get much of the cedar-enhanced flavor when I was smoking a fairly strong cigar. However, I did get a small amount when I switched to a lighter-bodied cigar. What I really enjoyed was that it appeared to extend the smoking time for me – it seemed that my cigars burned slower and more evenly. I’m guessing this is due to my ability to control the flame when lighting so I didn’t char it quite so much. Even though the smoke seemed to be cooler than I get with a torch, it never had to be retouched.

However, there were some potential drawbacks mentioned by some smokers in using the spills. There were concerns about letting the spill burn out in an ashtray – if one was part of a large group of people, it might not be prudent for everyone to use them at the same time, because they do produce a substantial flame as they burn out; I strongly suggest having a large, deep ashtray as a safe place to let the spills burn out. Additionally, I think they’d be very challenging to use in an outdoor situation if it were windy – this is where the torch definitely has the advantage. There was also the reminder to take extra care when using the spills around liquor – I know this kind of goes without saying, but I’m saying it – just be safe.

My conclusion is that this is a very stylish and elegant solution for lighting your cigars. The clean flame and even burn are a great benefit, plus I have to admit there’s a cool, classy, old-school feel to using them. I felt SO cool using them! You may want to save this for special occasions or when you want to impress, but you could certainly use them all the time. The majority of the smokers who I shared the spills with saw them as more of a unique or novelty item, but I think that there is a large group of passionate smokers who this would appeal to. I really love the contrast between the high-tech jet engine lighters we have now, and the appeal of the gentle, open flame. I encourage you to give them a try!

Cigar Reserve cedar spills are available online at and in 50 stores nationwide. The 25-spill box retails for $12.95, and the 50-spill box retails for $19.95. Cigar Reserve is giving away two engraved boxes to readers, please comment on this post to enter (just let us know what you think about this concept) – the winner will be announced in one week. Happy smoking!

Cigar Reserve Cedar Spills: Video Review


92 Comments on “Cigar Reserve Cedar Spills Review & Giveaway”

  1. Jim Euritt says:

    I like the idea!

  2. Have used cedar splints from a gift box of cigars a couple of years back. Makes a difference, but be prepared- indoor lighting only!!

    Nice review.

  3. I love the smell of cedar so I think these would be a nice change from the torch i usually use.

  4. Texican8 says:

    Great idea!

  5. Kyriakos says:

    Nice review, thank you!

  6. Cool concept. Can’t beat that cedar smell…

  7. I love it the classic way to light a cigar. Can’t do it outdoors though.

  8. I think it is very silly, but I won’t say ‘no’ to free!

  9. WYMAN DAWSON says:


  10. This is a very cool product

  11. I am very interested in using a spill to light my cigar now!

  12. Very cool. What a great idea. Look forward to trying.

  13. Vlad Davidiuk says:

    I’ve used a cedar spill to light a cigar before (from cedar inserts in a box of cigars), but I wasn’t very successful – it took a couple of tries. I definitely could use much more practice!

  14. Hi Nikki,

    I enjoyed your review and will try these out. How long are the cedar spills?

    I’m thinking of making a lighter using an eye safe laser. I’m not sure how it will work but I will keep you posted on my adventure.

  15. I’ve used home made spills made of the cedar inserts you get in certain bodes. Unfortunately there are fewer people every year that get to enjoy this hobby with a roof over their heads… great post!

  16. Mitchell Smith says:

    I like the idea but not sure how practical it is.

  17. David G. says:

    Interesting. I’ve used cedar spills in the past, but I got away from them after other aficianados I know said they would never use cedar to light a cigar. What the heck, I’ll give it another shot.

  18. Great review!

  19. Looks interesting.

  20. If it was OK for Ernest Hemingway (who lit his cigars with a cedar spill) it’s OK for me!

  21. Interesting. Never heard of spills, will have to check it out.

  22. I think it’s classy and cool, always fun to add an extra element to the cigar-smoking ritual :)

  23. Very classy and distinctive. I’d love to get some of these!

  24. Gary Patterson says:

    The idea of using cedar to light my stick really calls out to the inner-caveman in me! I love the reliable flame I get from my Xikar lighter, especially when camping or hiking, but I would definitely give these a try when at home enjoying my favorite past-time.

  25. It would be nice to try, seems like a great idea

  26. Definitely like the idea of using cedar spills indoors. I have used long wooden cigar matches to toast the foot gently after the sulfur has completely burned off and think it adds to the experience. The cedar spills would be an improvement on that. In addition to using matches or spills, the practice of toasting the foot before cutting the cap will stop the chimney effect of the heat rising through the cigar which I find helps produce an evenly toasted foot. When the foot is nicely toasted, cut the cap and gently puff above the flame while rotating the cigar for a perfect light. IMHO

  27. Thanks again.

  28. I used to used the cedar dividers in my boxes to light cigars but there never was enough, thanks for the review!

  29. I love the smell of cedar and associate it with fine cigars, so I’m sure these would add another element to the whole cigar smoking experience!

  30. Edward Lewandowski says:

    These would be nice at an occassion like a bachelor party or wedding reception. They would add more style to an already stylish event.

  31. i think it would be a lot more fun when you run a contest ,there be a place to enter. just sayin.

  32. Great review! And, very cool product! Definitely, a must have for your cigars.

  33. I keep reading and reading and entering and entering but never winning or winning.

    How about a break, that way I could be smoking, reading and enjoying all at the same time.

  34. I love the opportunity to use cedar spills for lighting a cigar indoors, but have never used one engineered for the purpose. Thanks for the review and the contest!

  35. Since I only smoke cigars outside, these sound as though it might be challenging. I look forward to giving these a try though.

  36. Kevin Carlson says:

    Beautiful review by a beautiful woman. I have used cedar splints in the past by breaking up the cedar sheet from a box of cigars. This looks like a big improvement as they burn so much better and controlled. Very classy, especially engraved! Lovely video.

  37. Daniel A says:

    Curious to try these.

  38. I love these things!!

  39. Great way to light a cigar

  40. I’ve always wondered about cedar spills, but have been too chicken to pony up the dough to try them out. Thanks for the review!

  41. Good Review.

  42. I think its great

  43. Never seen this before, I will definitely have to try!

  44. Kenneth Thompson says:

    I’ve used the cedar divider from the inside of my Cuban boxes before with great success! Thank you.

  45. Steve D. says:

    Anything to enhance the smoking experience is a great thing. I like them a lot.
    Thanks for sharing.

  46. I’ve never used cedar spills before, but I would like to try something other than my normal butane lighter.

  47. Loved the article and plan on getting a box or two of the cedar spills from Cigar Reserve. However, please recall an article not too long ago on how to actually light a cigar properly. Recall that you never cut off the tip until after the cigar is hit by flame. This actually is a tremendous advantage and especially with delicate cigars allows all that was put in in terms of spice and flavor to come out. Also, on full bodied cigars, the last third is truly enhanced by this lighting method.

  48. these cedar spills would be great to light my cigars as well as to have on hand in case i am ever challenged to a mini-wooden sword fight

  49. Can’t wait to try this out, very cool!

  50. Christopher Turner says:

    I prefer splints of mesquite, pecan, pin oak, post oak or hickory when I can find it…. It’s a precursor to future events…

  51. Eric Lewis says:

    We have used the cedar wrapper from some cigars in this manner. Didn’t know someone actually produced them as a product. Thanks.

  52. Never used a spill before but I would love to try it out!

  53. Definitely a cool item and a conversation starter, even with seasoned cigar smokers.

  54. The idea of a purer flame to light a cigar is great, but it seems to be a good of work–lighting the spill, then the cigar. Can the spill be put out and re-lit? What if you burn, then cut the cap, and then light? Much here to consider.

  55. Erika Wong says:

    A delightful review with plenty of details and clear definitions. A great article.

  56. Charlie H. says:

    Great review, love the product…I would like to light my cigars more with cedar spills but I just dont have any LOL Like the article you wrote about that cigar aficionado who lights his cigars before he cuts them so that no heat gets down the cigar and burns up the oils in the leaf…I have been lighting my cigars like that since reading that post. I’d like some personalized spills to light my cigar now ;-D

  57. I’d be willing to try it

  58. Super review, Nikki! Loved the video :)

  59. Aaron Taubman says:

    I tried cedar straps as much as possible, I really like the clean burn & flame it produces. The nice sweet,fresh cedar hints on light up really makes for a fantastic start to a great cigar. Unfortunately cedar sheets are hard to come by, especially where I live. I never have tried the spills. I would love to try them.

  60. Joshua S says:

    I love cedar spills, they’re obviously not the cheapest option, but they’re a great addition to the experience. They make a great show and the flavor is so much more pure.

  61. Jonalyn G. says:

    I love the elegance of using a cedar spill to light a cigar it feels like going back in time like in the 50s or somewhere in that generation so it would be great to have a box of cedar spills and feel nostalgic light up my cigar lol great review !

  62. William Isaacs says:

    I, like many others, have used the cedar linings to light my cigar but have never had the privilege to use a spill. Always thought it was great that Cuban Cohiba tubos come with cedar lining in each one but the burn fast and uneven. Thanks for the review!

  63. Never heard about this but I’m going to place an order to do my testing. Thank you Nikki for you review

  64. stogiejoe says:

    I have a strong desire to try these, for flavor & ambiance, & am sure you could use a stick for more than one cigar

  65. Nikki Glenn says:

    Ed asked a good question, how long are the spills. I didn’t measure them but I’m estimating they are 9 or 10 inches. They do burn long enough to light a 60 gauge cigar well, if that helps.

    Zak asked if they could be reused; I actually did this with some smaller smokes and it worked fine. I think it depends on how skilled you get a efficiently lighting your stick quickly. I will say that they should be extinguished in the ashtray– I did have one reignite that I blew out. But if you have enough stick left I don’t see why you wouldn’t use it.

    I hope this helps — I’ll check this thread for more questions I might be able to answer. I’m glad so many of you enjoyed the review!

  66. Darren J says:

    I haven’t lit up with a spill in forever. Would definitely love the chance to try it again!

  67. Seems like a wonderful idea, but I have never tried it.

  68. What a great and fun way to torch a cigar. Good review. Nice contest!

  69. I like the idea of giving it a shape I have always used the splints from boxes I buy. But I also like to use fireplace matches.

  70. great idea!

  71. Very Cool Idea

  72. This is sounds great! I love to have an opportunity to try this :)
    This website is awesome!!!

  73. Great Idea, I need to try these.


  74. Great review Nikki. Quite a distinctive product that most likely presents an aura of days gone by. Looking forward to trying these.

  75. Thanks for the great review. I had heard about them before, and everything has been positive.

  76. Mucksiegooma says:

    Mint idea!

  77. Love using splinters, I make my own from the cedar when I buy boxes of cigars

  78. I tried them at a friends house and liked it! Great aroma!

  79. I make my one from left over cedar while making my humidor

  80. I have always be interested in the idea of cider splints, have even tried a few oak twigs from my yard though there flavor was less than subtle.

  81. Gene Colley says:

    I always use the cedar wrappers that come on my Opus X and I like how natural it feels. I will try these.

  82. Nice review – I’ll have to try the cedar tube around the R&J cedros no 3 currently sat in my humidor!

  83. I have seen these used but never tried it, this article makes me want to try it out to see about the taste difference.

  84. James Hanna says:

    Interesting article. I like using cedar matches or spills made from the thin cedar sheet found in many cigar boxes. At first I didn’t believe there would be a noticeable difference. I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. I find it requires more patience and more easily done when indoors,

  85. Love em, unique and perfect sense, great item

  86. Have been using cedar spills in Europe for a long time. Cigar shops in london have been splitting them for lighting for as long as i’ve been going to them.
    This is defintely a steal from Cuba. On a trip about 10 years ago, The cigar sommelier at the Parque Central pulled out the cedar wrap of a Romeo cedros no.3 so that it overhung the open end, then lit the cedar wrap and asked to inhale to light the foot. Was an amazing first experience that I regularly use to light my cigars

  87. What an interesting idea!
    Can’t wait to try it out.

  88. Leigh Max says:

    Definitely a nice touch!

  89. Steve B says:

    This sounds interesting I’ve never heard of it I usually use a butane light.

  90. Definitely takes practice.

  91. Never tried them looking forward to it.

  92. Nikki, thank you for the great write-up. Cedar spills seem like a great addition to the ritual. I’ve not yet used them, but would love to try them myself. Here’s to hoping!

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