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David Savona

Ultra-Fat Smokes—Love ‘Em Or Hate ‘Em?

Posted: Oct 28, 2010 12:00am ET

Sixty ring gauge smokes have been on my mind lately. They're everywhere you look, and they're the hot new thing in cigar shops.

Most premium cigar companies now offer something (or many things) in a 60 ring gauge, a size that was once unheard of in the cigar world. Back in 1992, when Cigar Aficionado was created, 50 ring gauges were about the maximum you could find in most cigars. Sure, there was the occasional oddity, such as the Casa Blanca Half Jeroboam (I believe Robert DeNiro smoked one to great effect in the remake of Cape Fear) and Cuba Aliados always had a few incredibly fat figurados, but most cigar brands were no thicker than 50 ring. Diamond Crown pushed the boundary by launching an all 54-ring gauge line in the 1990s, but today 54s seem downright slim compared to a 60.

The preferred length for these 60 ring gauge smokes is six inches. There isn't a standard name for a six by 60, but many cigar companies call them grandes, gigantes, or gordos. Gordo, Spanish for "fat," certainly fits. Ring gauges are measured in 64ths of an inch, so 60 ring is close to one inch thick. Cigar smokers seem to love them, because they're buying them up in droves.

As we reported in our summer survey of tobacconists across the United States in Cigar Insider, the six by 60 has emerged as a top seller. The six-by-60 size climbed into third place among the best-selling cigar sizes in America, behind longstanding winners toros and robustos, which ranked first and second, respectively.

I'm not a huge fan of the format myself. I find that 60 ring gauge smokes take a very, very long time to light, don't feel terribly comfortable in the mouth and seldom offer the flavor I enjoy in other formats. But cigar smokers certainly like them. So I used my Twitter account the other day to ask what other people think. The results were mixed.

"I LOVE the bigger ring gauges," wrote Michael Forry. Another called the six by sixty his "my favorite size when I have the time. Perfect at barbecue."

Others were less enamored. "I think people who smoke the 60 don't understand the nuances of the flavors," wrote cigar blogger NYIsles. He compared puffing on a 60 ring to "drinking Johnny [Walker] Blue with soda." (Not a recommended practice, by the way.) Jeta Kaziu of Cigar Masters in Boston went so far as to say "true cigar smokers don't smoke 6 by 60." Pete Johnson, who owns the Tautaje cigar brand, sells plenty of them but doesn't really enjoy smoking them. "I have had a 6 1/2 x 60 in my line since 2004," he wrote. "My best seller today, but I think 60 is a silly gauge. Fifty and under please."
 
Taking the middle ground was a Tweeter named Pablo, who said the addition of tobacco filler in such fat cigars led to more aroma, and not necessarily more strength. He seemed to like them "as long as the cigar is balanced."

So what's your take? Do you enjoy six by 60s? If so, why do you like them? And do you think they're here to stay?

 

You can follow David Savona on Twitter.

Comments   49 comment(s)

Alex Benes — Newbury Park, CA, USA,  —  October 28, 2010 6:08pm ET

Reedonkulous.


mikey Paint — kazoo, Michigan, USA,  —  October 28, 2010 6:23pm ET

Not a fan of the 60 Ring Gauge...50-54 ideal size 4 me.


Lee B. October 28, 2010 7:58pm ET

Yes, but real cigar smokers don't go to Cigar Masters either.


Lee B. October 28, 2010 8:53pm ET

rather, *true cigar smokers


Brad Perkins — Midlothian, VA, USA,  —  October 28, 2010 9:59pm ET

I've had a few good cigars with a 60 ring, notably a Joya De Nicaragua. I definitely prefer a smaller ring size though. You definitely use up a lot of butane on the 60's. Great blog, Dave.


Chris Kitchens October 29, 2010 8:49am ET

I smoked my first 6/60 last weekend at my local cigar bar. Have to say, that I wasn't really impressed. It was a Patel Brothers (big fan of the penn broadleaf) and I didn't find that it held the same flavors I have come to expect from smoking the robo, toro etc. It wasn't comfortable in my mouth and to top it off, as I was smoking it, the wrapper split on me when I was getting into the last 3rd. I think the 6/60 is a fad and will eventually die out.


Barry Stein October 29, 2010 11:45am ET

Thanks for quoting me... @nyisles

Barry
acigarsmoker.com


Nick Mueller October 29, 2010 1:00pm ET

7X50 'nuff said.


STEVE SAKA — MIAMI, FL, UNITED STATES,  —  October 29, 2010 1:20pm ET

I also NOT a fan. Three reasons: 1) It is difficult to create a blend that tastes good (imo), 2) Almost impossible to get this format to burn properly - the size just burns too cooly for most air cured leaf, and 3) I find the size uncomfortable in my mouth.

That being said, there is definitely a demand for the product and consumer who DO ENJOY the size and therefore, manufacturers will continue to produce 6 x 60s.

Case in point, I am a corona fiend myself, but most of the market rejects this vitola these days. So while I harbor my own likes and dislikes, it would be a mistake to deny those that enjoy their 60 ring cigars of choice.


Alex Diaz October 29, 2010 3:59pm ET

I think Steve Saka hit the nail on the head.


EARL BAUM — KENNESAW, GA, UNITED STATES,  —  October 29, 2010 4:25pm ET

I prefer smaller smokes - 50 and under, with the 44-guage Corona as my favorite.

My experience is that the wrapper plays a larger role in smaller ging-guage cigars, giving the blender more of an opportunity to show off their talent - or lack thereof.

Hmmm... Maybe that's why so many manufacturers are so eager to showcase their biggest smokes!!


gary hwa October 29, 2010 7:15pm ET

I have tried smoking a couple of the short and really fat 66-ring cigars that are part of a popular line with a well-known maker. I was overwhelmed by the size, there was just too much smoke. Somebody aimed a fire extinguisher at me, thinking I was spontaneously combusting.

There is probably also something negatively symbolic about about putting the replica of a large caliber cannon projectile business-end first into one's mouth. Robustos, Hermosos No. 4 and some prized Genios are as big as I need to go.


Jack Linos October 30, 2010 2:04am ET

Their is a cigar that negates my preconceived notions when it comes to size bias. For instance, I hardly think there us a better constructed, performer, and flavor bomb than the LP #9 Flying Pig. It is uniquely beautiful, a pleasure to hold and smoke, and it is no GIMMICK!

The thing is a masterpiece! 4x60

Not much of a corona fan, till the Dirty Rat.

Lancero, not for me...till the Cubao 3 and El Triunfador.

Don't miss a great stick due to a bias towards size.


David Savona October 30, 2010 9:29am ET

This is obviously a hot topic. Thanks to all of you cigar smokers and (in the case of Steve Saka, president of Drew Estate) cigarmakers for your feedback. I agree with Gary's comment of being "overwhelmed by the size," and by that I mean it's just not a comfortable format to smoke in my opinion. Keep the comments coming please!


Gerry Snell — Pensacola, FL, USA,  —  October 30, 2010 6:58pm ET

I actually enjoy the 6 x 60 size. To me the fatter cigars seem to burn cooler and don't seem as harsh plus you get to enjoy your smoke a lot longer.


Heidi Feldman October 30, 2010 11:24pm ET

The largest ring gauge i'll go is a 50. However, I prefer the 42-48 ring gauge cigars the most. 60 seems a silly. People that rarely smoke cigars want to go for the biggest and baddest. Not for me and not for true connoisseurs.


Alan Kleinstub — ChagrinFalls, Ohio, USA,  —  October 31, 2010 8:22am ET

I find the size to big to hold comfortably in my mouth ,as well as the fact that I haven't had one that tastes good enough to have to smoke another therefore I don't smoke them .but I agree with Steve Saka "live and let live"!.


David Savona October 31, 2010 11:09am ET

Jack--very good observation that you shouldn't miss a great smoke due to bias about size. We have given some very high ratings to 60 ring gauge cigars.


Quentin Little — La Crosse, WI, USA,  —  October 31, 2010 3:57pm ET

I'd like to see the numbers for 60 guage sales. Willing to bet a large portion are in urban locations; they look bad-ass.


Michael H. — Highland Park, IL, USA,  —  October 31, 2010 7:19pm ET

I have only come across one of these massive smokes that I can even begin to enjoy: the Bucanero Canon Cubano! Great smoke, but for me it has been the exception. That being said, there are those who can't enjoy anything bigger than a Backwoods!


Alex Lahoz October 31, 2010 11:03pm ET

The only 60 ring gauge smokes I've enjoyed are that famous 4in. brand. It works really well in that size.

Otherwise, robustos for me.


stantine972 October 31, 2010 11:11pm ET

I think the 60 is so popular because most cigar smokers dont smoke every day. When they do smoke on that weekend night, they want something that says wow.... and a 60 does that. Sometimes size does matter???


Cigar Aficionado November 1, 2010 11:34am ET

The conversation on this blog is also going on in our forums:
http://forums.cigaraficionado.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9426054/m/4097095812


KYLE SCHRAGE — MURFREESBORO, TN, UNITED STATES,  —  November 1, 2010 12:34pm ET

I would not go as far to say that if you smoke these large sizes, that you are not a true cigar lover. It seems most people writing have their own favorites. Wow! Does that mean we are all individuals? If there is a market for it, the mfg'ers need to sell to it. If it does not work for their particular brand or mix of leaves, then they will move on to the next. For me, 5x50 is plenty. It fills the time I have to sit and smoke one, and I can ALWAYS find a stick I love in that size.


ANDY DAVIES — WORKINGTON, ENGLAND,  —  November 1, 2010 12:43pm ET

Tried a CAO Italia 6 x 60 - it wasn't bad but they do give you jaw ache! The makers of the Worlds best cigars do not have a 60 in their portfolio - but if Habanos ever produce one, then I would probably have to give it a go!!


mikesstogies.com November 1, 2010 4:00pm ET

David I agree with Mike Forry and I love the bigger ring gauge cigars, as far as not getting flavors thats untrue what you tend to not get is more of the wrapper flavor that you get with the smaller ring gauges.


Scott Spolverino November 1, 2010 9:40pm ET

Not my cup of tea. They're hard to hold in either my hand or my mouth, not a whole lot of cutters accept sizes that big, they typically are difficult to keep lit/light in the first place and, to top it all off, a lot of blends just don't work in a size that big. The only one that I've mostly enjoyed is the Flying Pig, even though it was awkward to smoke.


JESUS CALDERON — BAKERSFIELD, CA, UNITED STATES,  —  November 2, 2010 4:55am ET

The 60X6 cigars that I have smoked seem to be a bit of a hassle to smoke. They don't necessarily offer more taste, or even a higher output of smoke! They look cool but in terms of enjoying all the nuances of a fine cigar the robusto is king!


Craig Barnett November 2, 2010 5:09pm ET

I am in the minority (at least, the minority responding here), but I have enjoyed a number of the 6 x 60 cigars. My favorite shape is the Toro, I have found the flavors of some of the larger cigars to be full and there to be a bit more smoke, although admittedly not much more than a 50-54 ring gauge.

For me, I enjoy a larger ring gauge cigar because it takes a long time to smoke. I prefer that size to a double corona or churchill which can be so long that you feel like you're smoking a Louisville Slugger. It usually is part of my Friday night ritual -- after the kids go to bed and my wife is watching Food Network -- I can sit outside on the patio and enjoy a nice cigar.

Cigar manufacturers should continue to experiment with all different sizes from the return of the lanceros (not a favorite) to the NUB to some wonderful figurados.


ERIC & IZABEL HAUSER — CHICAGO, IL, UNITED STATES,  —  November 3, 2010 10:30am ET

Big fan of Lanceros here however I really enjoy the Padilla Cazadores Toro Gordo! Which is, I believe a 6 x 60 as well. Great topic Mr. Savona!

E & I


Hollywood Arizona November 4, 2010 8:23pm ET

I dislike the monster rings... but hey... if it brings a younger generation of smoker to the hobby, I'm for it! The industry can still use some help.


Cigar Blog November 6, 2010 1:04am ET

I have just started experimenting with the 60 ring gauge but I have yet to find one I love. I recently reviewed the Gran Habano #5 Imperiales on my blog after smoking several and found they burned unevenly.


Lucciano Lombardia — Not Telling, Not Telling, Not Telling,  —  November 6, 2010 7:54pm ET

Am accustomed to Cuban cigars, 52 at the biggest. I ordered a 60-gauge from the United States and agree is silly. A novelty cigar, not a real cigar.


Tom Oven November 7, 2010 4:38pm ET

Thank you to everyone for the great comments. I remember when the Zino Platinum was first released - LOVED the Grand Master yet when I smoked the Barrel, the subtle nuances of the gorgeous wrapper were overshadowed by all that filler and binder leaf. I have had similar experiences with every other "fat" cigar I've smoked. I"ll stick with 50 ring gauges and lower in the future.


gehrig97@yahoo.com November 9, 2010 6:51am ET

Other than the LP Flying Pig, I'm not a fan of the larger ring gauges (for all the reasons already articulated). I like a 46-50 RG for the most part (although I can go up to a 54 in the case of the Ashton VSG Spellbound, which for my money is the best cigar in the VSG line)


electronic cigarette November 12, 2010 2:33am ET

It's good to heard about aficionado cigar. It's really great.


Pete Noel November 13, 2010 8:53am ET

I'm not a big fan of the 60rg cigars. I have smoked a few of them and I find them hard to hold, not to mention a pain to smoke. It reminds me of a cigar for the person that's begging for attention, "Look at me while I smoke this realy big cigar!"


Marv Eleazer — Valdosta, GA, USA,  —  November 15, 2010 7:30am ET

I've been enjoying cigars for many years and have tried all sizes and hundreds of different brands but prefer the 6x60.

I'm currently enjoying RP Sun Grown and a couple of Don Tomas versions of this ring guage.

The greatest reason I like this size is the longevity of the smoke. I generally smoke 4 per day. I have a Collibri triple flamer torch as well as a few Vectors so lighting one is as easy a cigarette and my jaw doesn't hurt afterward.

To suggest that the larger sticks aren't a real cigar, they're silly or that one is not a connoisseur is merely an opinion just like this writer's comments. I have quite a few of the smaller guages that I partake of as well and feel no more relaxed when smoking one than I do when I enjoy a large smoke.

I do not smoke nor follow the industry for the enrichment of others, I do so because I enjoy the relaxation that a fine smoke affords me which is likely why most of us here enjoy their cigars.


Cigar Aficionado November 15, 2010 9:48am ET

Marv,
Thank you for your input. Smoke what you like, and smoke for yourself. Sound advice.

To all who have weighed in, I'm happy to see this blog has generated so many comments. Seems like a hot topic!


Marv Eleazer — Valdosta, GA, USA,  —  November 15, 2010 10:49am ET

Speaking of behaving like a connoisseur, what are we to say to the new wave of smokers who obviously are snapping up Drew Estates' Acid brand? Interesting pieve in this month's issue.

Seems the American public is quickly jumping on board to buy this "different" kind of cigar based on the latest stats. I don't really care for 'infused' smokes but the facts are what they are.

Spice of life and variety are among the dynamics that have rekindled a strong surge in cigar smoking once again.

I'm quite certain most cigar purist's wouldn't touch this candy stick but they're apparently selling the Hell outta them.


Taylor Franklin November 16, 2010 2:36am ET

Overall, I'm in accordance with Steve Saka.

That said, I have smoked a few hand rolled torpedo perfectos from the deft hands of Cueto Castelar Cairo that were in excess of 64 at their widest. At the head they were about a 48 and 14" to 15" long.

The cigars weighed quite a bit and smoked for a very long time 4 hours plus; savour and enjoyment.

After settling down and ageing, they were most memorable and tasty.


Albert Ross November 29, 2010 3:12pm ET

I think a 60 gauge is just fine. The fact that so many 'professional' cigar smokers don't like them lets me know I'm onto something.


stantine972 November 30, 2010 11:15am ET

In 5 years 60 will be standard. Everyone will be saying "I like the 60, I think the 70 is a little big".


yak buddah December 2, 2010 6:12am ET

I have to admit, I have enjoyed reading the diff blogs and actually has revealed my naivety in this arena, I just begun learning the nuances of cigars, like coffee and wine and a few others one needs to read blogs as these to help under stand. Anyway i walked into Nat Sherman cigar shop/ lounge on 42st and picked up a recommended oliva and my eyes got affixed to 60 ring quesada tributo....... So i bought the two for a little over 30 smacks.I have not smoked it yet.... I honestly do not know what to expect..... In fact as I mentioned earlier I am a true novice....I don't see a lot of young men smoking cigars as I do older "gentlemen"..... So if it takes a 60 ringer to get me to buy a cigar and light up, to puff smoke at those trying to kill the cigar smoking industry, btw I never smoked and do not smoke cigarettes... Nonetheless smoking is smoking, then maybe it should not be knocked as a fad, to be discontinued. I am looking forward to smoking it today..... I am hoping to enjoy the smoke session.


Eric Gawain — Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA,  —  December 5, 2010 4:23pm ET

I started out with Coronas, but my favorite size now is about 6x50 (Toro), although I don't mind Torpedos or Box Pressed a little larger (52 or 54 ring gauge). The current trend towards larger ring gauges and fuller more potent blends seems to be a natural evolution, so I think they will be around for a while. For me, the 60 (and larger) sizes are just not aesthetically pleasing, but to each his own, and as long as my favorite makers continue the traditional sizes, I am a happy camper!


Justin O'Brien — Windsor, Ontario, Canada,  —  December 6, 2010 12:47pm ET

I've only had the 60 ring Te-Amo Nicaraguan blend, loved it, bought a box last week to store. Lot's of smoke without much effort, nice 35-40 min smoke with some dark rum on a summer night.


Dwayne Brydie — Pontiac, MI,  —  December 7, 2010 10:45am ET

I love 6 x 60. I can smoke one and be done for the day. With smaller ring gauges, I have to smoke two.


Roger Metoxen — Greenbay, Wi., The Great U S A,  —  July 23, 2011 2:55am ET

Wow how come no one said anything about the Nubs by Oliva,I enjoy any and all shapes sizes etc...I aint choo-zzy or hard to please for the most part I tend to pick out what size I smoke by the mood I'm in. I tend to pick out what wrapper type too by what I'm feelin like. If I do light up a 60 it gets toasted (foot)just like the rest then I use a fire place sized match to finish the ritual there is more than enuff matchstick to finish the job.Darn I spozz I should stockpile this size befor the fad ends, I think there is a Cain Nub rite a round 60 (Mighty fine smoke too)


Kyle Sartin — Orange, Texas, United States,  —  September 5, 2011 9:55am ET

I've tried the 6x60's and I have to say I'm not the biggest fan. Hard to light and quiet frankly it's too much of a mouthful. It's also too big for my V-cutter so I have to find my bullet hole punch. Think I'll stay with the Toro's.



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