Cigar Aficionado

Old School Cigar Sizes

My brother Carey walked into my smoking room on Sunday, sat down on one of the couches and opened up a beer. I handed him a Four Kicks Corona Gorda and we lit up, ready to watch the Super Bowl with a great group of friends.

“Nice cigar,” he said, a few puffs in. “I especially like how thin it is.”

For those of you who haven’t smoked one yet, the Four Kicks Corona Gorda isn’t all that thin—but it seems small compared to the fat cigars gaining popularity today. The smoke measures 5 5/8-inches-long with a 46 ring gauge. Made for Crowned Heads LLC by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza S.A., the Corona Gorda scored 91 points in the December 6 Cigar Insider.

So why does a 46 seem thin? It’s because cigar smokers like my brother are getting used to looking at 60 ring gauge cigars. The Four Kicks he was smoking shares its dimensions with all Cuban corona gordas, which include such well-known smokes as the H. Upmann Magnum 46, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 1, the Cohiba Siglo IV and the Punch Punch, long considered the benchmark size for the category.

“Gorda” is Spanish for fat, and when these sizes were created they were considered fat indeed, plumper than many other vitolas, or sizes, in the Cuban cigar portfolio. Ever pick up an antique cigar cutter and try to use it on a modern day cigar, like a 6 by 60? It won’t fit. Cigars, like just about everything around us (including ourselves) used to be smaller generations ago.

Kudos to the guys at Crowned Heads for using some old school sizes to make their new brand, and for taking the bold move of not including a 60 ring in their lineup.

So take another look at those 46 ring gauge smokes in your humidor—while they might seem skinny to you today, at one time, they were considered pleasantly plump.

"46 RG is perfect. Anything greater than 52 is garbage, I don't care if we're talking BHK 56 it's getting ridiculous. I'll never ever smoke a dog rocket 60 RG TURD. I don't care what rating your giving it or it's buying from CA. Heh..." —February 19, 2012 02:52 AM
"I have been in love with the Lancero size since I was gifted a My Father two years ago. Thinner smokes are just as complex and enjoyable as a heftier cigar, as I'm sure you'd agree. Unfortunately, the resurection of cigar manufacturing has created a market preference for 'Show Smoking,' no where more apparent than college campuses. I admit, I will challenge myself with Salomon now and then, but I prefer the crispness, the succinctness of a thinner size. " —February 14, 2012 18:04 PM
"Taylor, I agree. " —February 13, 2012 15:46 PM
"Christian, thanks for catching my typo. No coaches in the basement, only couches. " —February 13, 2012 15:45 PM
"I've had a few ring-gauge 64's. Awful to light, did not burn very well, and my jaw was seized-up afterwards. Massive ring gauges really only work in a Torpedo Perfecto where the head is a comfortable size. " —February 12, 2012 22:03 PM
"I agree I try the 60s from time to time but I find them a lot more harsh and I find all you taste is the filler tobacca not to mention your jaw just doesn't comftorably hold a 60 gauge cigar well." —February 11, 2012 18:19 PM
"David you have sports personnel in your home? Not only that you seem to treat them poorly by having your brother sit on one of the "Coaches". I gotta ask which coach was it?" —February 10, 2012 17:01 PM
"I agree, David. Bigger isn't always better. I started smoking cigars about 20 years ago, long before the big ring gauges became popular. About the largest size I'm comfortable with is a robusto, but prefer cigars in the corona/corona gorda range, with occasional lancero thrown in there. " —February 10, 2012 16:34 PM
"Hey David! I love the Four Kicks. It is arguably the best new cigar line that came out in 2011 in my opinion. I love what I call the traditional Cuban corona gorda size with the 46 inch ring gauge. This size really does well to show off both the filler and the wrapper. The robusto size in the Four Kicks is also fantastic and maybe the best of the bunch. " —February 10, 2012 14:54 PM
"I think you're right on with this, DS. I'm more of a robusto or corona (and variants) kind of guy. I very rarely reach for the bigger rings that are so popular these days. I will sometimes try one to see if how a blend fares in that size, but the vast majority of what I put away into my humidors falls into what is today the smaller end of the spectrum." —February 10, 2012 14:53 PM