Three Main Cigar Components
While there can be an overwhelming amount of information to know about cigars, any good cigar education begins with understanding the three main components of any cigar:
Binder: The leaf that is rolled around the filler to hold it together
Wrapper: The outside layer of tobacco leaf that is rolled around the binder and that determines the color of the cigar
The color of a cigar refers to the wrapper, which is the outermost leaf rolled around the cigar. The variations in wrappers give unique flavor to each cigar. The following is a list of some of the most common cigar colors:
Colorado: A medium-brown wrapper that is typically more robust and aromatic
Maduro: Having an extremely dark wrapper, the maduro typically has a strong flavor
Oscuro: The darkest wrapper available
Cigar Sizes & Shapes
Before discussing the various sizes and shapes, it’s necessary to cover the basic measurements used to determine the sizeof a cigar:
Inches: The unit of measurement used to determine the length of a cigar.
Ring gauge: The measurement used to determine the diameter, which is measured in 64ths of an inch.
Cigar sizes are broken into two main categories: parejos and figurados.
Parejos: Standard cylindrical cigars that have straight sides and a rounded head. The following is a list of the most common parejos:
- Corona: The most common shape of cigar, the corona has an open foot and a closed, rounded head. A Cuban corona is typically 5 5/8 inches long, with a 42 ring gauge.
- Churchill: This is the large version of the corona, measuring 7 inches long with a 47 ring gauge.
- Double Corona: Even larger than the Churchill, the double corona measures 7 ½ to 8 inches long, with a ring gauge between 49 and 52.
- Gran Corona: The mack daddy of the coronas, this cigar is 9 ¼ inches long, with a 47 ring gauge.
- Panetela: A long, thin cigar that is between 5 and 7 ½ inches, with a 34 to 38 ring gauge.
- Robusto: The most popular cigar size, the robusto is only 5 ½ inches long, but has a wide 50 ring gauge.
Figurados: Standard cylindrical cigars that have straight sides and a rounded head. The following is a list of the most common parejos:
- Pyramid: Like the name suggests, this cigar is thickest at the foot and tapers the entire length of the cigar to the head, giving it a pyramid-like appearance.
- Torpedo: The torpedo is similar to the pyramid, however, it only tapers off the head, and not through the length of the cigar.
- Belicoso: The belicoso is extremely similar to the torpedo, but the tip tapers off more quickly than the torpedo.
- Perfecto: This classic cigar shape is tapered on both ends with a bulge in the middle and a rounded head.
- Diadema: This is a type of perfecto-shaped cigar that is longer and thinner, often 8 inches or longer.
Elements of a Cigar
Barrel: The main body of the cigar.
Blend: The combination of all tobacco in a cigar, including the filler leaves, binder leaf, and wrapper.
Bunch: Even larger than the Churchill, the double corona measures 7 ½ to 8 inches long, with a ring gauge between 49 and 52.
Cap: The mack daddy of the coronas, this cigar is 9 ¼ inches long, with a 47 ring gauge.
Foot: A long, thin cigar that is between 5 and 7 ½ inches, with a 34 to 38 ring gauge.
Head: The most popular cigar size, the robusto is only 5 ½ inches long, but has a wide 50 ring gauge.
Shoulder: The most popular cigar size, the robusto is only 5 ½ inches long, but has a wide 50 ring gauge.
Types of Cigars
Handmade/Hand-rolled: A high-quality cigar that is completely bunched and rolled by hand, made from high-quality wrappers and long filler. All premium cigars are handmade.
Machine-made/Mass Market: A lower-priced, entirely machine-made cigar that typically uses short filler tobacco.
Puro: A cigar in which the tobacco used for the filler, binder, and wrapper comes from the same country.
Premium Cigar: A hand-made cigar made with long filler tobacco.
Long Filler: Used in premium cigars, long-filler tobacco is made of whole leaves that run the length of the cigar rather than chopped leaves (short filler).
Short Filler: Consists of chopped tobacco leaves that are often made from pieces of leaf discarded during the rolling of long filler.