Those new to cigars will find themselves introduced to a lot of unfamiliar terminology. Learning the meanings of some of these terms and also the basic construction of a cigar can help a new smoker select a first cigar and smoke that first cigar.
Cigars are usually the same basic shape although some variations exist (such as Torpedos). The standard cigar shape is called “parejo.” Cigars come in a variety of sizes which are measured with a combination of length and diameter. Diameters are measured in units of 64 (each unit of 64 is equivalent to an inch). This is known as “ring gauge.”
The main parts of a cigar are the cap (also called the tip), the head, the body of the cigar and the foot. The cap has to be cut off before you can smoke the cigar; the part you smoke from is the head. The foot is the part of the cigar which you light.
The main parts of the body are the filler, binder and wrapper. The filler is the innermost tobacco stuffing. Low end cigars contain “short-filler” – this is just scraps of tobacco leaf. High end cigars, on the other hand, are hand made and filled with rolled tobacco leaves.
The binder is made from a tough leaf from the base of a tobacco plant. It is wrapped around the filler to hold it in place. The very top-most layer of a cigar is the wrapper. This is the part you see on the outside. All of the leaves in a cigar impact its taste – the filler, the binder and the wrapper – but the wrapper is probably the greatest determining factor in both taste and smell.
Hopefully now you feel better equipped to shop for cigars and to smoke them too. Enjoy your new foray into cigars!