A proper hand-rolled cigar is an art form; each one a unique smoking experience. However, many popular cigars today are made by machine with high quality control standards in place. Cigars unlike cigarettes are to be enjoyed during a longer single sitting and savored instead of inhaled. There are over twenty individual styles of cigars according to their dimensions. Each distinctive size having its own characteristic shape, length and ring size. When choosing a size, one must consider the length of time they want to smoke as well as the venue. The largest cigars are meant to be enjoyed for several hours.
Cigar lengths are measured in inches while its diameter is measured by ring sizes. Each ring size is 1/64th of an inch. For example, a cigar with a ring size of 44 is 44/64ths inches thick. Cigar length and ring size should be chosen according to the amount of time you have to smoke as the larger both are, the longer the cigar will last. Since quality cigars are often hand-rolled, ring sizes and lengths may vary by up to an inch in length and 7/64ths of an inch in ring size. The smaller the ring size, the hotter and faster the cigar will burn.
The cigar industry uses many different Spanish inspired names to describe the style of a cigar. For example, some of the longest cigars are Double Coronas, Toro Grande and Pyramids. These are seven to eight inches long with an approximate ring size of 52. While these might appear to be the largest, they are in fact not. The Gordo style cigar has a ring size of 60 and is only 6 inches long. Some of the more common styles from smallest to largest are Robusto, Corona, Torpedo, Toro, Churchill, Presidente, Gigante.
Most cigars have a cylindrical shape with a closed rounded tip for freshness and comfort. Some however have tapered ends like the Torpedo, Perfecto and Campana styles. These all require the end to be cut for lighting and a hole punched into them for smoking. The Culebra is a unique style that has three smaller cigars twisted together and tied at the ends. These can be pulled apart and smoked individual or smoked together.
The smallest cigars are Cigarillos. They’re slightly larger than cigarettes and are often sold in packs. These are often very popular amongst experienced and inexperienced smokers alike. Because they smoke very quickly they’re great for short smoke breaks or for smoking outside during colder months. They’re easy to light and generally have the same flavor over the length of the cigar.
Larger cigars are made to savor for a long time. A Churchill or large Torpedo can take two hours to smoke. As the cigar gets shorter, the flavors change due to the temperature of the smoke. What can start as a mild cigar, full of vanilla flavors can finish with strong flavors of chocolate or even walnut at the end. Lighting a large cigar is also different from a small one. Because of the large ring size a smoker must make sure they evenly start the cigar and rotate throughout the smoking session to prevent “canoeing,” where one side of the cigar burns faster than another.
There are many well-known brands of cigars, each with their own strengths. 5 Vegas produces some of the best hand-rolled varieties. ACID has some of the best-selling flavor infused cigars. Gurkha is known for bold blends of the highest quality tobaccos. Rocky Patel is a boutique brand. CAO is a well-established cigar maker beloved for its pipe tobacco. Macanudo is one of the best-known premium cigar brands. And La Perla Habana is one of the best values among cigars.
There’s nothing hurried about a cigar, from seed to smoke, each one has its own style and purpose. Choosing a style is a matter of preference and commitment to the time necessary to enjoy it.