While the most widely recognized shape for a cigar is cylindrical, most cigars come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The three most common sizes are:
- Petit Corona, which is 4-5 inches long
- Corona, which is 5-6 inches long
- Churchill, which is 7-9 inches long
A petit corona is usually about two thirds the length of a corona cigar. The length of a petit corona is mainly determined by the length of the cigar’s filler leaf … which refers to the actual tobacco.
The rule of thumb is that the filler leaf is two thirds as long as the final length of a cigar, however, since this is just a rule of thumb, there are lots of ways that the final length can be determined. For example, the filler leaf on a petit corona may be significantly shorter than two thirds of the cigar’s overall length.
A petit corona is sometimes called a short robusto cigar or a half coronas. The petit corona is a popular lightweight option for people who want the taste of a longer, fuller smoke without the full length or strength of a larger cigar.
If you’re relatively new to the world of cigars, you may not know the difference between a robusto, a gordo, and a toro. The word robusto resembles the word robust. This connotes strength and vigor with cigars, and this is the main difference between this size of cigars and its counterparts.
In general, robusto and robustos are not only harder and longer than gordo and gordos but also tend to have fuller body characteristics. A robusto is typically a 5 to 7 inch long cigar. Also, the gordo size is often used to describe a half robusto. A half robusto is half the size of a full robusto. Half robustos tend to have fuller body characteristics and are as long as five and a half to six inches long.
Regarding the toro size, which is a few inches longer than a robusto, all you need to remember is that the cigar has a tapered shape. You may want to draw more from your cigarillos and have your cigar fillers equal to the cigar’s length and not its circumference.
These little cigars are about two inches long, perfect for a quick smoke when you’re on the go. They also come in a wide range of flavors.
At four to five inches long, these are bro-friendly cigars. They’re short, easy to smoke, and you can get through a couple of them in one night.
Sometimes referred to as churchills, these 5 to 7 inch long cigars are the most popular type of cigar. Some describe churchills as being the best cigar for a beginner.
It’s a little more difficult to light, but the torpedo shape means you get to savor a large amount of cigar as you smoke.
Belicoso or Diadema
At 6 inches long, the belicoso is identified by the point at the end of the foot and is a medium body cigar.
Churchillos or Petit Corona
These cigars are shorter than the standard churchillos. Their shape is similar to the torpedo, but their size is closer to the robusto.
Gigantes or Maximo
These are rare because they’re so strong and have very high tar content. They’re also very large – maxing out at about 10 inches in length.
The lancero is quite a recent addition to the cigar family, originating in the 1990’s. The point of origin is not Brazilian, as you may think. The inspiration for the first lancero was called the Panetela, which was popular in Cuba many years ago.
For the lancero, tobacco leaves are plucked and fermented, then rolled into a small C-sized cigar. From tip to tip, it’s 7 inches to a few inches, depending on manufacturer. The tobacco used for these cigars is generally top-quality, the wrapper is toothy, and the tobacco filler is comprised of long filler tobacco.
Where these cigars differ from other Habanos is that a lancero is not pressed. This generally means a lot of leaves go into the cigar, making it much more expensive than other smokes. It’s due to this density of tobacco that the burn is forgiving on the palate, but is also a bit slow.
The slow burn, the finer quality, and the intense flavor content of the lancero make it a favorite among Cuban and Nicaraguan cigars. This cigar is so highly valued among the elite that some collectors will buy a box of the same type of cigar then let the finish for 10, 20, or 30 years. They seem to get better with time.
If you’re familiar with the newest trends in cigar design and manufacturing, you’ve probably heard of the “torpedo” shape. This shape, which is extremely popular today, is formed by folding each of the wrapper leaves inward and back on themselves.
However, the history of the “torpedo” cigar dates back to a century ago when you could order a box of “torpedo” cigars at your local cigar shop. Those cigars were shaped differently, somewhat resembling a tubular espresso cup … hence the more modern name, “pyramid.” Up until a few decades ago, the pyramid shape was the most common shape for cigars, and many cigars today are still produced in this shape.
The most common and widely available cigar size is the Churchill, which is 7 inches long and 47 or 48 ring gauge. This cigar size was named after Sir Winston Churchill. It comes in two forms “ No. 1 and No. 2.
A figuardo is a variation of the traditional torpedo or toro. This shape was designed to create a larger surface area for smoking, which would result in a smoother and slower burn of the filler tobacco. In order to create this unusual wrapper shape, the wrapper is blended from different types of tobacco leaf, typically an oscuro abajo and ligero arriba.
This blend is then rolled on the diagonal, using 3 leaves to create the cigar. This results in a longer cigar and makes the wrapper appear thicker because of the different shades of tobacco.
Certain figuardo cigars require greater care when the cigar is being lit. The fatty nature of the ligero leaves can cause the cigar to burn more slowly than desired. Because of the shape of the leaves at the foot, the cigar may appear to burn significantly slower than you anticipate.
The most common types of figuardo cigars are figurados. It’s possible to find a toro figuardo cigar and a lonsdale figuardo cigar, but those are much less common than the panetela, siglo, and piramide figuardo cigars. These cigars tend to have more flavor due to the additional tobacco leaves blended into the blend. However, the thick wrapper of the cigar is also likely to dominate the flavor.
The Torpedo is a very specialized cigar shape. Much like its namesake, it was designed to move through the water rapid-like. Although it looks similar to a traditional parejo shape, the Torpedo is much shorter. It’s also thicker in girth than a parejo, and is a connoisseur’s delight! This shape works well with some of the thicker filler tobaccos, which often make for great smokes. It also smokes well with thinner filler tobaccos as well as long filler.
Because the Torpedo is so squat and thick, it also produces impressive flavor. Some cigars that would normally come in parejo shapes are made in the Torpedo shape as well. An example of this is the Arturo Fuente Magnum R. A longer Torpedo is also known as a Salomon.
Corona and Corona Gorda.
The most popular cigar sizes are Toro, Churchill, Double Corona and Corona Gorda, and Robusto. These are the standard formats that are easy to find on cigar shop shelves and online. These are also the sizes that are associated with the popular cigar shape — the pyramid. However, there are other cigar formats that are less common; they can be hard to find in stores and online, but there’s a reason for their existence. Here are a few of the popular cigar shapes and sizes that you may find on the market:
Perfecto: A cigar in this shape is the literal opposite of a typical pyramid cigar. The cigars are thicker at the ends and taper down to a point at the centre. Most of the burning of the cigar occurs at the end as smokers try to keep the cigar burning as long as possible.
Corona and Corona Gorda: These are two of the most popular cigar sizes, so naturally, they are similar in terms of shape. Corona is a little thinner than Corona Gorda, but both are a type of torpedo. The threads that make up the cigar wrapper form a circle around the cigar, giving it its name. These are generally a slightly longer, thinner cigar with a closed foot.
Belicosos are ring gauge cigars with a curved head and a rounded foot. Belicoso cigars were invented in Jamaica in the mid 1850s by cigar maker and blender Constantino ‖ more commonly known as “Don ” Pepe ‖ Allones.
Generally, these cigars weigh over 54 ring gauge and measure between 6 and 7¾ inches in length, but there is some variation. Still, Belicosos are usually shorter than Churchill and Toro cigars.
The Belicoso shape was further refined by the H. Upmann cigar factory– all of whose cigars are Belicosos — when they released their Don Carlos line in 1907.
The sizes are in inches: length x girth x height, with the latter being the hard draw; i.e., a cigar that doesn’t give its smoke off easily, and is generally more complex in all ways than those of softer body. If that sounds a bit unfamiliar, consider that ring gauge acts as a proxy for all other aspects of a cigar’s make-up, other than flavor (for that we have flavor wheel).
The Basalto Pyramid
First paragraph is a quick scan summary for speed readers.
Cigar-shaped, rectangular, and oval all have their devotees, and any configuration can work. The shape does not change the smoking experience in any significant way. Basalto’s Pyramid is unique in the rectangular cigar world for a few reasons.
First, it is a traditionalist’s cigar with its pyramid shape being based on a pre-Castro Havana Club.
The difference between the Pyramid and the Havana Club is the Basalto’s broad, 49 ring-gauge foot. The Pyramid is a slow, luxurious smoke, commanding your attention and coaxing your palate slowly up its pyramid-like smoking gradient, rather than overwhelming you from the start as might a more traditional pyramid.
The size and shape of a cigar refers to the dimensions of the cigar’s vitola (fruit of the tobacco plant). Cigar shape is based on how the cigar is rolled. While size can vary based on the maker, shape refers to the diameter and length of the cigar and it typically doesn’t vary. You can take advantage of cigar shapes to further personalize your cigar and tell a story about it.
For instance, a fatter cigar shape often refers to a fuller-bodied cigar. If you have someone who enjoys a stronger cigar in your life, a cigar in a larger or fatter shape is a great gift. And it will definitely stand out amongst the sea of classic cigars in your humidor. The size and shape of a cigar reacts with the smoke. The best cigars to try are a very square box-pressed cigar like the Montecristo Crafted by AJ Fernandez
How Do You Cut a Figurado Cigar?
Figurados are cut differently from other cigars. The most popular way to cut a Figurado is to take a straight cut. Cut about half an inch from the end of the cigar, perpendicular to the cigar’s surface. From this point, cut the same length from the edge of the foot, towards the cap, slicing upward. This way you get a straight cut and a wedge shape.
Another cut you can try is the “pencil cut.” Take a straight cut from the end of the cigar, as before, and then light up the end you just cut. After puffing until the end of the cigar burns, blow out the flame and hold it while you poke out the front bit of tobacco with a pencil. This should produce a piece that looks like the –tip” of a pencil after the eraser has been cut off.
In the end, you want to create a narrow opening so you draw less smoke and enjoy a milder Figurado as the heat is less intense towards the end of the stick.
Does the Size of a Cigar Affect Taste?
Think you know everything there is to know about cigars? The size of a cigar plays a huge part in its flavor, aroma, and the way it tastes. And to make it even more complicated, there are different categories for cigar sizes.
Sizes can be overwhelming for the new cigar smoker but it doesn’t have to be. As you dive deeper into the cigar world you’ll find there’s a beautiful simplicity to it. And the more often you smoke them the easier it will be to distinguish the differences.
In a previous post we discussed cigar shapes. There are a handful of cigars that stand out among the rest. They include:
- Torpedo Shaped Cigars
- Perfecto Shaped Cigars
- Super Toro Shaped Cigars
- Corona Shaped Cigars
- Churchill Shaped Cigars
Any cigar that says Robusto on the box is typically referring to the size. Cigars that say Toro and Belicoso are referring to the shape. A Robusto looks like a torpedo or rocket and is a perfect example of the balance between shape and size.
Size also indicates not only the length of the cigar, but the diameter. Some cigars are also tapered meaning the diameter gets smaller closer to the head of the cigar.