Love them or hate them, there’s no denying it: Fat cigars have gone mainstream. Though once dismissed as a fad, nearly every major producer of premium cigars now includes at least one 60-ring-gauge smoke in their portfolio—but the change didn’t happen overnight. If you’re wondering how we got here, this timeline shows the major market milestones of fat cigars and how they went from novelty to trendy to standard. A version of this timeline first appeared in the print edition of an article called “Supersize My Cigar,” and has since been updated to better reflect the current market.
Honduran brand Cuba Aliados releases a novelty cigar called The General, an 18 inch long, 66-ring gauge cigar.
Puros Indios, a new brand from the makers of Cuba Aliados, creates The Chief, which is the same size as The General. It’s still largely a novelty cigar but develops a following.
Stanford M. Newman, then the patriarch of J.C. Newman Cigar Co., celebrates the company’s 100th anniversary with a regular-production brand called Diamond Crown, made in the Dominican Republic by Arturo Fuente. Every size in the line has a ring gauge of at least 54, which was quite thick for the time.
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo rolls the La Gloria Cubana Serie R, a two-size line with cigars in 52 and 54 ring gauges.
La Gloria Cubana Serie R becomes the first major, nationally distributed premium cigar brand to release a 6-by-60 ring gauge cigar, the No. 6. This marks the normalization of the 6-by-60 format.
Puros Indios begins to produce non-novelty cigars that reach or exceed 60 ring gauge.
Boutique brand Tatuaje adds the Gran Cojonu (6 1/2 by 60) to its small line of Miami-made cigars.
A curiously named brand called XL For Men by Oliveros is dedicated to large ring gauges: 52, 55 and 60. The line is the brainchild of Rafael Nodal, who would later go on to make the acclaimed Aging Room brand.
Seeing the growing interest for thick cigars, Altadis U.S.A. releases the Honduran Saint Luis Rey Serie G, a three-size line with ring gauges of 56, 58 and 60. The G stands for Gigante, Gordo, Grande or any other G-word signifying prodigious girth.
Cuba wants in on the thick cigar trend and Habanos puts two of the fattest smokes it’s ever made into regular production: The Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill, with a 55 ring gauge, and the Cohiba Behike BHK 56.
Drew Estate makes an entire line of 60 ring-gauge cigars called MUWAT, an acronym for My Uzi Weighs A Ton.
Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana throws his Panama hat into the fat cigar ring with The Digger, an 8 by 60 behemoth that looks more like a cudgel than a cigar.
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo brings thickness to the industry once again with a brand called Inch that features a 64-ring-gauge cigar. Because ring gauges are measured in 64ths of an inch, this cigar is one full inch in diameter. The brand goes up to 70 ring gauge in case 64 is too slender.
Due to the proliferation of 60 ring gauge (and fatter) smokes, Cigar Aficionado magazine creates a new category in its tasting section called Grandes, made especially for cigars that outgrew the Toro section.
The Asylum 13 brand pushes the fat-cigar trend further by releasing a 7 by 70, and then an 8 by 80.
The Big Payback by Room101 Cigars follows the growing trend with 7 by 70 and 8 by 80 cigars in its repertoire.
For the first time in history, Cuba produces its first (and only) commercially available 60 ring gauge smoke, the Cohiba 50 Aniversario. It’s a limited-edition cigar packaged in a commemorative humidor.
With two decades of the millennium behind us, most major brands, both traditional and modern, include a 60-ring-gauge cigar within its portfolios. Consumers often cite value as the reason for preferring thick cigars, and manufacturers have responded to the growing demand. Hefty sizes are now standard.