Cigar Shapes, Sizes and Colors
A primer on cigar shapes, sizes and colors.
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Costner, Nov/Dec 00
One of the missions of Cigar Aficionado has always been to bring cigar lovers together. Between the Big Smokes across the nation and our Internet chat rooms, we've done our best to help foster a community of connoisseurs. Through our events, our Web site and sections such as "Cigar Adviser" in our magazine, we've tried to provide aficionados with opportunities to meet others who share their passion, and forums for providing you access to the best, most accurate cigar information possible.
But that's not enough. Many people read our magazine who may never have thought about smoking a cigar. But the cigar coverage in our pages piques their curiosity, and some of these new readers may become new smokers. For these novice smokers, and for those who may not have yet discovered cigars, we offer Cigar 101, a crash course in the basics of cigar smoking. This primer will be continued over the course of the next several issues and will highlight a range of cigar topics, from shapes and colors to the proper cutting, lighting and storage for your smokes.
SHAPES AND SIZES
A cigar shape can vary greatly in size from brand to brand, so describing a cigar by its size as well as shape is important. Cigars are measured by two factors: length, which is given in inches, and "ring gauge," a designation of a cigar's diameter broken into 64ths of an inch. A cigar with a 42 ring gauge, for example, is 42/64 of an inch in diameter. There is no correlation between the size of a cigar and its strength. An 8-inch cigar made with mild tobaccos will be mellow, while a thin, short cigar rolled with powerful tobaccos will be full bodied. While a cigar's strength is determined by the tobacco it is rolled with, thin cigars have a tendency to burn hotter than fatter ones. Also important to note is that there is no consistency of strength from brand to brand: one company's corona is likely to taste very different from another's.
Parejos are straight-sided cigars; most have an open foot for lighting and need to be cut before smoking. They may be either round or box-pressed, meaning that the sides of the cigar were pressed square prior to packing or, in some cases, by pressure in the box.
This is the benchmark size against which all other sizes are measured. The traditional dimensions are 5 1/2 to 6 inches with a ring gauge of 42 to 44. Example: Montecristo No. 3
2 Petit Corona
Basically a miniature corona, this cigar generally measures about 4 1/2 inches, with a ring gauge of 40 to 42. Example: Montecristo No. 4