David Bowie’s nickname was the “Thin White Duke” for a reason. Like David Bowie, Lancero cigars are also thin and noble in stature and deserve the recognition of every serious cigar smoker. The trend towards large, brawny ring gauges continues to be embraced by cigar makers. However, Lanceros remain the distinguished smoker’s cigar of choice.
What is a Lancero?
The Spanish word “Lanceros” translates to “lancers,” and is evocative of the lances that horse-mounted knights used. Long and slender, the official Cuban cigar factory dimensions are a ring gauge of 38 and 7 ½ inches long. Cigarillos are small but not thin cigars. Panatelas, according to classification, encompass ALL thin cigars, which include Lanceros. However, only a gran (long) panatela is considered a Lancero.
When Did Lancero Cigars Become Popular?
Lancero cigars are somewhat similar in proportions to a cigarette. However, they have not been around as long. Lanceros are relatively new and were a creation specifically made for Fidel Castro in 1960. In fact, these El Laguito Number 1 cigars came into being shortly after the Cohiba brand became established. Such was their demand that Castro commissioned the Cohiba Trinidad. The Lanceros then became a much sought-after trophy cigar only used for diplomatic gifting.
Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery.
Cigar giant Davidoff was the first major producer to follow in Cohiba’s footsteps and continue to make Lanceros after moving from Cuba to the Dominican Republic. For decades, they were the only non-Cuban producer to continue with Lanceros in their portfolio. Today, as tastes continue to favor the larger ring gauges of big smokes, only a few elite brands offer the traditional Lancero.
How Do Lancero Cigars Smoke?
Size does make the difference, and Lanceros are the polar opposites of their big gauged brethren such as Torpedoes and Churchills. With the larger cigars, the flavor is produced by a significant amount of filler. Therefore, producers must pay careful attention to the tobacco blend. With Lanceros, the wrapper is the most important component, since there is little filler to overpower it.
You Get What You Pay For
The one complaint with Lanceros is they often become “plugged” or hard to draw because of their construction. This is why most lounges or retail outlets only carry the best producers who pay careful attention to build and proper storage. It also means that Lanceros can be expensive.
Taste Says it All
True connoisseurs want to taste the tobacco and know about the farm or Finca from where it came. And, that’s who you’ll find enjoying the Lanceros most often. The wrapper’s taste is the tobacco leaf in its purest form. Some of the newer, top producers like Alec Bradley and Oliva have offered Lanceros as an expression of the quality and purity of their tobacco and wrapper combinations. Carlos Fuente Jr. says the Lanceros offers the best size of cigars that Fuente makes. Additionally, he favors the Opus X Lancero, primarily due to the purity of its flavor.
True Aficionados Love Lancero Cigars
For many cigar makers and smokers with distinguished palates, the Lancero is the cigar of choice. Some feel the size tends toward “effeminate”– they have been the occasional cigar of choice by Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna. However, you can also spot country singer Brad Paisley with them, and claiming their size doesn’t affect his singing as much. Even though celebrities may make certain cigars seem trendy, one thing is certain – the classics are here to stay, and Lanceros are true classics.
Photo credit: Fox Cigar/foxcigar.com