They might be called Gigante, Gordo or Grande, and they measure six inches long by 60 ring gauge. Whatever they are called, they are the hottest new size in the cigar world. Six by 60s have taken the cigar world by storm. An increasing number of non-Cuban cigarmakers have come out with six inch long, 60 ring gauge smokes, and they were among the hottest new releases at last week's International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show in New Orleans.
In last week's Cigar Insider survey of top tobacconists around the United States, the six-by-60 size climbed into third place among the best-selling cigar sizes in America. (Longstanding champions toros and robustos ranked first and second, respectively.) These ultra-fat six by 60s, packed with tobacco, are appealing to consumers, many of whom see them as providing more bang for the buck than slimmer cigars.
"Six by 60s are off the hook—it's the new wave," said Jeff Schwab of Schwab's Pipes N Stuff in Lexington, Kentucky. "If they make it in a 60 ring, I'm buying it."
Several companies released six by 60s at the trade show. General Cigar Co. included a 6 by 60 called the Gigante in its new Macanudo Crü Royale line. Xikar added a six by 60 size (which it calls the Grande) in each of its three lines, while removing two of its thinner lonsdales. EPC Cigar Co., which just debuted its E.P. Carrillo core line, has a size known as the Golosos, which measures 6 1/4 by 60. Miami Cigar & Co. has a 6 by 60 called the Gran Toro in its new Nestor Miranda Art Deco line. In the spring, Philadelphia's Ashton Distributors Inc. came out with the San Cristobal Papagayo XXL (pictured) started shipping to American smokeshops. The 6 by 60 smoke is a half inch longer and five ring gauges thicker than the original Papagayo. "It's a monster," said Ashton Distributors vice president Sathya Levin.
The Reyes family has been a pioneer in thick sizes, and has long had a Puros Indios Gordo (6 by 60). Many trade the emergence of the fat cigar trend back to 1995, when J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced a brand of all-54-ring-gauge cigars to the market called Diamond Crown. At the time, 54 was considered very fat.
While Cuban cigars are also getting thicker, the six-by-60 trend remains, for now, an American phenomenon. Thick cigars in the Cuban world tend to top out around in the mid 50s, such as the Montecristo Sublimes Edición Limitada (54 ring gauge), the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill (55 ring) and the Cohiba BHK 56 (56 ring.)
For complete results of the survey, see the current Cigar Insider.