FrontRunner: Primitive Refinement
The latest creation from Xikar (888.266.1193, www.xikar.com) would seem equally at home in either the Museum of Modern Art or the American Museum of Natural History. Cigar cognoscenti already considered the company’s Xi3 cutter a classic, perhaps the finest ever built, but now Xikar has added a prehistoric accent to its contemporary design: handles crafted from 10,000-year-old mammoth ivory bark by scrimshaw artist Rick Hutchings. The patina of the fossilized material varies considerably, giving each ivory-handled Xi3 ($300) its own look and feel, but all of the cutters produce a flawless clip with their precisely engineered curved blades. If the blades begin to dull with age, Xikar will sharpen them free of charge.