There are so many styles and sizes of cigars that sometimes selecting a cigar seems like a daunting task. Prior to selecting a cigar it is a good idea to think about the desired flavor, time allotted to smoke and the cigar budget. Since these considerations are constantly changing based on circumstances it is good to know the basic cigar styles and sizes. Each brand of cigar, like Cohiba, comes in different varieties and sizes.
Length and Diameter (Ring Gauge)
These two dimensions effect the flavor of the cigar. In countries that do not use the metric system, the length of the cigar is specified in inches. If a cigar is shown as being 6 ½ x 38, six and one half refers to the length.
The diameter of the cigar is measured in 64ths of an inch and is called ring gauge and it is the second number listed in cigar size dimensions. There are 15 Havana ring gauge sizes ranging from 52, the widest, to 26 the most narrow.
A lighter smoke is a smaller ring gauge. A cigar with a larger ring gauge is more full bodied, flavorful, robust and burns cooler. When a smoker short on time craves full bodied flavor a shorter cigar with a wider ring gauge meets the need. Cigars don’t taste the same when re-lit so a smoker wants to smoke the whole cigar at one sitting to get the best from the cigar.
Whether inches or metrics, dimensions and names are not uniform so it is helpful to choose a cigar based on the shape or type. Regardless of ring gauge and length there are two basic cigar types, cigars with straight sides “parejos” and cigars with irregular shapes called “figuardos”.
Generally the straight sided cigars fall into seven different categories, corona, Churchill, Double Corona, Petit Corona, Panatela, Lonsdale, and Rothschild. The figuardos have different open and closed sections of the cigar and are pointed and rounded. These variations change the way the cigar tastes. The irregularly shaped cigar categories are Perfecto, Torpedo, Pyramid, Diadema, Culebra, and Bellicose.
The Corona is easily smoked in forty-five minutes and is the size benchmark. The Churchill is full-bodied. A Double Corona shaped cigar is full flavored well blended tobacco. The Petit Corona is a small fast smoke versus the Lonsdale. A Panatela burns hotter and is less blended and a Rothschild is considered a substantial cigar.