There is a relevant quote from the cult classic “The Princess Bride” when it comes to Torpedo cigars; “You keep using that word… I don’t think it means what you think it means.” Retail stores and cigar lounges often refer to cigars as Torpedoes when they are something else. In fact, one of the most beloved Torpedoes and best-selling Cuban cigars, the Montecristo Number 2, is NOT a Torpedo. It’s a Piramide.
What are Torpedo cigars?
Most smokers see a cigar with a tapered end and assume it is a Torpedo cigar. More often than not, it is a Belicoso or a Piramide. According to technical specifications, a true Torpedo should have a closed foot, a slight bulge in the middle, and taper to a rounded point at the head. The length should be 6 1/8” with a gauge of 52. Because of these specifications, true Torpedo cigars are hard to find, even in some of the best-stocked cigar lounges.
But How Do They Smoke?
The genius behind the Torpedo’s shape is the channel that concentrates the cigar’s flavor towards the narrow tip. The typically larger ring gauge allows the blender to experiment with a more broad range of tobaccos. The result? A trophy cigar that packs the flavor of a large cigar, but smokes like a much smaller one. True aficionados will notice that the unique draw can result in a different smoking experience, even among cigars from the same line.
Measure twice; cut once.
The point which draws all the flavor requires a very delicate cut. Some folks cut too deeply, essentially destroying the purpose of the cigar’s design. A guillotine cut taking off the very tip is the most preferred method for a proper smoking experience. A punch cut, the preferred method for box-pressed cigars, can be very tricky and runs the risk of damaging the cap and causing excessive peeling. One popular method is a guillotine cut done at a 45 degree, downward angle. The idea is to take the already concentrated draw and channel it downward towards the palate.
Torpedo Cigars Rate Highly
Cigar critics love Torpedoes. The 2019 Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year was the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Maestro, a box-pressed Torpedo. In 2017, half of the Top fifteen cigars were Torpedoes. Ratings aside, they still don’t always find their way into humidors. Because of the difficulty in properly rolling, boxing, and transporting Torpedoes, they tend to be more expensive. The selling point of having the flavor concentrated in a longer smoke often leads to the quandary of too much of a good thing is exactly that!
Torpedoes Are Starting to Surface
While they have been slow to be embraced within Cuban factories, distinguished brands like Oliva, Rocky Patel, and My Father’s Cigars have created Torpedo cigars with a significant appeal. LeBron James has posted numerous Instagram images of him smoking Torpedoes, favoring the Yaxel Ortiz Y.O. Robert Downey Jr. has been photographed enjoying a My Father’s Le Bijou 1922 while filming on the Avengers set. Cigar lover Rihanna provided the seed capital for her brother’s cigar company Legado, which prominently features both a traditional and a box-pressed Torpedo. There is no denying the link between celebrity enjoyment of Torpedo cigars, and their inevitable inclusion in home collections.
Photo credit: Cigar.com