This article is part of the Bespoke Guide to Cigars.
The real pleasure is in smoking them, but you can appreciate certain aspects of a cigar with just a glance. The size, shape, and shade are all clues as to your pick’s country of origin, flavor, and how it’ll burn.
There are all kinds of shapes and sizes out there, but they’re generally divided into two categories:
The basic cylindrical shape that’s by far the most common. One end is flat, and the other is rounded with a “cap” that holds the cigar together.
This is any kind of stylized shape that deviates from the parejo. There’s a pointed-cap “torpedo,” a bulged “perfecto,” and a few more similar variations, but they’re not seen nearly as often as the more simple cylindrical style.
Whatever the shape, parejo cigars are given different names based on their size – a combination of length and diameter. The size, though, isn’t indicative of quality or enjoyment potential – an expertly made Corona can be an exponentially better smoking experience than a harsh Presidente, especially if you’re not used to such an oversized hit of tobacco.
|Name||Length(in inches)||Ring Gauge(in 64ths of an inch)|
|Petit Corona||4 1/2||40 to 42|
|Corona||5 1/2 to 6||42 to 44|
|Panatela||5 1/2 to 6 1/2||34 to 38|
|Lonsdale||6 1/2||40 to 42|
|Lancero||7 to 7 1/2||38 to 40|
|Churchill||6 1/2 to 7||46 to 48|
|Robusto||4 1/2 to 5 1/2||48 to 52|
|Toro||6 to 6 1/2||48 to 50|
|Presidente||7 to 8 1/2||52 to 60|
The outermost leaves that wrap the cigar aren’t just for looks. The wrapper drastically alters a cigar’s flavor and value, and can come in a range of shades from light to dark. There are over 100 manufacturer-identified shades, but there are a few common classifications, seen above.
The shade hints at the cigar’s flavor: generally (but not always), a darker wrapper will be sweeter while a light one will be less rich.