Cigar Smoking for Dummies

Cigar Smoking for Dummies

One of our goals of TheCigarStore is to demystify and share our love of cigars.  Let’s be honest; the multitude of cigar shapes, sizes and wrappers can be overwhelming to a first-time buyer. As a result, we receive hundreds of calls each month with questions about the various options available from novice smokers and connoisseurs alike.  With that in mind, we’ve put together a compilation of some of the most asked subjects we receive questions on to try to educate you and share our love of “all things cigar”.

Cigar Shapes and Sizes

Cigars are rolled in many lengths and ring sizes.  To make it easier, cigars are given a name based on their size.  The two characteristics used to describe a cigar are the length (measured in inches) and the ring size (a description of the cigar’s diameter or thickness).  The ring size is broken down by 64ths of an inch, so when you say a cigar has a ring size of 50, you are really saying it is 50/64 of an inch thick.

Furthermore, describing a cigar is based on the way it is rolled.  A typical cigar where the end is rolled open and the cap end requires cutting is known as a Parejo. Parejos are either rolled as a round cigar or can be square in shape, also known as box-pressed.  Lastly, the final description of a cigar includes its strength.  A full bodied cigar will be strong vs. a mild cigar. As a result, of the incredible variety of tobaccos available that can be used, strengths can vary between manufacturers.  Think of a fine single malt whiskey for example.  Many varieties come from Scotland, but due to the variances in the ingredients used, no two taste exactly the same. Importantly, the same is true for cigars.

  The Most Common Cigar Shapes:

Shape Length Ring Size Popular Examples
Corona 5 ½ – 6 inches 42-44 Ashton Corona
Petite Corona 4 – 5 inches 40-42 Acid Blondie
Churchill 7 inches 47-50 Montecristo Platinum Churchill
Robusto 5 48-52 Rocky Patel Decade Robusto
Corona Gorda (Toro) 5 5/8 – 6 ¼ inches 46-50 Romeo y Julieta Vintage No. II
Double Corona 7 ½ – 8 ½ 49-52 CAO Gold Label Double Corona
Panatela 5 – 7 ½ inches 34-38 Punch London Club
Lonsdale 6 ½ inches 42 Montecristo No. 1

Even though the vast majority of cigars manufactured are Parejos, many companies have begun to differentiate themselves through new innovative shapes known as Figurados.  A Figurado can broadly be described as a cigar that is not round (cylindrical).  There are many variations of Figurado shapes and sizes.

The majority fall into one of the following four shapes:

Shape Length Ring Size Popular Examples
Pyramid 6 – 7 inches 40-54 Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Pyramid
Belicoso 5 – 5 ½ inches 50 Baccarat Belicoso Natural
Torpedo 5 – 7 inches 50-54 Tatuaje Miami Unicos
Perfecto 4 ½ – 9 inches 38-48 Punch Champion Double Maduro

Cigar Wrapper Colors

Cigar wrappers come in a host of colors.  Depending on where in the world the tobacco crop was grown, wrappers colors can vary from pale green to dark black.  Therefore, each of these wrappers provide a different taste for the cigar smoker and is therefore left to individual preference.  There are five basic cigar wrapper colors but many variations within each wrapper color.  The variations are caused by the type of seed used, the amount of sunlight during growth and the aging process used to dry the plant.

The Five Most Commonly Used Wrapper Colors:

Wrapper Description Popular Examples
Double Claro aka Candela Light green in color caused by quick-drying technique which locks in the plants chlorophyll. La Flor Dominicana Double Claro No. 48
Claro Light tan in color caused by being grown in the shade under cheesecloth tents. Antonio y Cleopatra Grenadier Light
Colorado Medium-brown to brownish-red, this wrapper is full flavored yet emits a subtle some. Casa Magna Colorado
Maduro Varies from a deep reddish-brown to almost black. Maduro means “mature” in Spanish, which refers to the increased time required to cure the wrapper. Kristoff Maduro Robusto
Oscuro This black-as-night wrapper is accomplished by leaving the leaves on the plant as long as possible, by using only the leaves from the top of the plant, and by fermenting them for an especially long time. Most often Brazilian or Mexican in origin. This category is sometimes referred to as “black,” “negro” or “double maduro.” PDR 1878 Reserva Dominicana Habana Robusto

What Cigar is Right for You?

  • Do you prefer a Parejo or Figurado shape
  • Do you typically enjoy a cigar for an hour or more (longer cigar) or is your time limited (smaller length
  • What ring size feels best in your hand
  • After you’ve nailed the size and shape you prefer, the rest comes down to taste. Strong or mild or somewhere in between, the choices are endless.
  • Save yourself a few bucks and help narrow these choices down by purchasing single cigars, 5-Packs or Sampler Packs