Written by Puff Staff

Saturday, 11 May 2013

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Cigars are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so as a newbie, you should make it your mission to try all of them at least once! This week, we look at the delightful selection of smokes on the market as well as the terms for how tobacco is grown and cigars are made.




First, a little Cigar 101: Cigars are measured by length as well as diameter, and the standard for measuring thickness is called ring gauge. Diameter is measured in 64ths of an inch, meaning a 40-ring gauge cigar is 40/64ths of an inch thick. Finding your favorite cigar size and brand is a very personal process that requires lots of experimentation. Bigger is not necessarily better!

The Foot is the end of the cigar that you light before smoking. Except in the case of perfectos and torpedos, the foot is usually pre-cut. The Head is the closed end that you smoke.

The very smallest cigar is known as a Cigarillo. Just 28 x 3 1/8”, these tiny cigars are generally machine made and scorned by many devoted aficionados, but very popular in Europe.

Next is the Petite cigar, a bit larger at 32 x 4”. The same length but thicker is the Petite Figurado at 32 x 4”. A Bullet is short and very thick at 60 x 4.5”. A Robusto is 50 x 5”, while a Campana is 60 x 5”.


A Toro is 52 x 6”, a Gorda is 60 x 6” and a Perfecto is 50 x 6.5”. A Corona is 44 x 6.5”, a Culebra 42 x 6.5” and a Torpedo is 52 x 6.5”. The Panatela is ultra thin at 38 x 7”.

The Figurado is 42-48 x 7”, the Churchill is 48 x 7”, the Pyramide is 44-54 x 7” and the Toro Grande is 52 x 7”.

A cigar is also categorized by shape. The most familiar size and shape for premium cigars is the Corona, which is usually straight-sided with an open foot and rounded, closed head.

The Belicoso is a short, pyramid-shaped cigar 5” or 5.5” inches in length with a ring gauge of 50 or less and a shorter, more rounded taper at the head. The term is also used to describe other cigars with a tapered head like Coronas or Corona Gordas.

A Diadema is a large cigar with a tapered and closed head. The Diadema is usually about 8” long and can have a foot that is either open or closed.

A Double Corona or Prominente is a big cigar, 7.5”-8” long with a ring gauge of 49-52. A Gran Corona is a really big cigar, 9.5” in length with a 47 ring gauge.

Gorda is Spanish for “fat,” so a Corona Gorda is a fat Corona. The size is generally 5 5/8” by 46.

Culebras are cigars crafted from three panatelas braided and banded together. They’re generally 5”-6” long with a ring gauge of 38. The term is Spanish for “snake.”

A few miscellaneous terms:

A Piercer is a gadget used to open the closed head of a cigar before you smoke it. This device makes a circular opening that resembles a target or bull’s eye. The cutter used to do this is also called a Lance.

The Cap is a circular piece of wrapper leaf positioned at the head of the cigar to secure the wrapper. The wrapper is also called a Capa. Flag Leaves are an extension of the wrapper leaf shaped to finish off the head of the cigar rather than a cap. They’re sometimes tied off into a curly head or pigtail. Gum is a vegetable adhesive that is used to secure the head of the wrapper leaf around the finished bunch.

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