Cigar Shapes and Sizes: What They Mean and How to Choose
If you’ve ever perused the humidor at your local cigar lounge, you may have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of cigars and all of their different shapes, sizes, and colors. All of these factors tie into the experience that you get when you select and smoke a cigar, and there are a few questions that you should ask yourself before you choose. How long do I have to enjoy this cigar? Am I in the mood for a stronger cigar, or something a bit more mild? What kind of draw am I looking for? All of these factors play into your decision when choosing your next cigar from the humidor.
The Shape of your Cigar
Cigars are really broken out into two different shapes: you have your ‘Parejos’ and your ‘Figurados.’ Really, the meaning of those is simple: ‘Parejos’ feature a straight side with a cap at one end and an open end to light at the other, while ‘Figurados’ are the rest – think Torpedos, Piramides, Perfectos, and the like. Why does this matter? Well, it’s really simply education – the shape of the cigar you smoke is really personal preference and doesn’t much affect taste. If you’re the kind of person who likes a big draw on their cigar, a Parejo is probably a good bet – you can get a nice, large cut where the shoulder meets the cap for a big draw while smoking it. Figurados, on the other hand, allow a bit more flexibility in cut, and you can really tailor your draw to your liking.
Choosing the Right Size
Within every cigar shape, there’s also a measurement for size: length and ring gauge. Length obviously refers to how long the cigar is, while ring gauge refers to a cigar’s thickness and how wide it is (literally, like a ring you’d put on your finger). These factors will play into your cigar smoking experience.
The length of a cigar and ring size go hand in hand. A longer cigar that has a larger (read: wider) ring gauge will take a big longer to smoke and finish. This is your “celebration” cigar – you’re not rushed into a quick 30-minute cigar smoking session, you’re in it for the long haul – these will typically smoke for over an hour. Grab your Churchill for this one. If you only have a few minutes to spare, stick with a shorter cigar with a slighter ring gauge – something like a Petite Corona.
In general, a larger ring size will burn a bit cooler and slower, resulting in a milder flavor. A slighter ring size, on the other hand, can burn faster and hotter than a larger cigar, even of the same variety. The combination of size and shape go into the taste of a cigar, as well as the wrapper and the filler.
Bringing It All Together
As with most things, practice makes perfect, and the more cigars you try, the more you’ll have experience with. Our recommendation? Try out a bunch of different cigars with a variety of different lengths, ring gauges, and shapes- you’ll start to define your tastes, and will help you to select that perfect cigar on your next trip to the humidor.