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Quick guide to types of cigar for the newbie

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Style of Cigars


Each Cigar has a distinct style and taste. They are the epitome of class for some people who purchase them and a sign of their success. In the industry, cigars are classified according to their size and shape. For years, names such as Corona, Panatela and Robusto, both names derived from the length and width of the cigar were commonplace in the Cigar industry. Nowadays the name of the cigar size may vary amongst manufacturers.


Manufacturers have added to the list of dimensions of cigars, in addition to including more names in the industry. A key example of this in recent years must be the NUB cigar. Although two cigars may be of the same size, as they have been produced by different companies, they may have different names.


Here I will attempt to explain things so it is easy for fellow enthusiasts to identify cigars by their shapes and sizes.


The United States, UK and Cuba measures length in inches and the diameter is taken as a ring gauge-an amount divided into 64ths of an inch. For example, a cigar with a ring gauge of 42 will be calculated as having a diameter of 42/64ths of an inch. Other countries determine length in centimeters and diameter in millimeters. Except to check for quality in the factories, cigars are not usually weighed and weight doesn't tend to play any role in the classification of a cigar.


The notion that the intensity of the cigar is related to its size is false. There are large cigars infused with mild tobaccos that are mellow and small cigars suffused with highly flavoured tobacco, making them very strong. The variety in brands also ensures that each cigar has a distinct taste; one company’s Corona will taste different from another company.


Most cigars have a cylinder shape so they are termed as Parejo, while cigars having a cone shaped head are called Figurado. The technical term that includes both size and shape is vitola.



Parejos


Coronas: They usually have an open “foot” which is set alight and a round, closed “head” to cut before you begin smoking.


Petit Corona: Typically only 4 1/2 inches, with a ring gauge of 40 to 42.

Corona: 5 1/2 to 6 inches with a ring gauge of 42 to 44.

Churchill: It has a large corona design with a size of 7 inches and a 48 ring gauge.

Robusto: It is similar to the Churchill Cigar but shorter. It is 5 to 5 1/2 inches with a 50 ring gauge.

Corona Gorda: An imitation of the robusto design but longer and more popular. It measures 5 5/8 inches with a 46 ring gauge.

Double Corona: It has dimensions of 7 1/2 to 8 inches with a 49 to 52 ring gauge.

Panetela: A longer and thinner corona format that varies in the range of 5 to 7 1/2 inches in length. It has a ring gauge of 34 to 38.

Lonsdale: Thicker than panetela, it is 6 3/4 inches in length with a 42 to 44 ring gauge.




Figurados


Most cigars resemble straight-sided cylinders with one rounded end. Different manufacturers have produced their own version of the figurado. Figurados are available in a variety of shapes.


Pyramid: A close-headed and sharply tapered cigar, endowed with a wider open foot. The cigars are in the range of 6 to 7 inches in length with a ring gauge of approximately 40 at the head that broadens to 52 to 54 at the foot.

Belicoso: They are often referred to as coronas or corona gordas, having a tapered head.

Torpedo: In the shape of a military torpedo, fitted with a pointed head and bulging middle.

Perfecto: Similar to a torpedo, it has a round head, a bulge in the middle and ends in a closed foot. The length may differ from 4 1/2 to 9 inches, with the ring gauge measuring 38 and 48.

Culebra: Three panetelas are braided together as one cigar. Aficionados know to unbraid the three cigars to smoke each separately. If you find a culebra, it is best to make an event out of smoking it.

Diademas: It is a large cigar about 8 inches or longer in length. It has a closed and tapered head while the foot can be either opened or closed like a perfecto. The head has a ring gauge of 40 whereas the foot is a 52 ring gauge or more.



It used to be that cigars were identified according to their country of origins. Manufacturers used to make cigars from the tobacco leaves that were grown in their country.



The industry has changed and the place of origin often does not define the cigar. Many manufacturers are using a variety of tobaccos in their blend, some even exported from other countries. Places like Ecuador Brazil, Peru, and Colombia are prime locations for collecting good tobacco leaves. Aficionados are more concerned with quality of the leaves and the flavour so place of origins is not one of the defining factors for selecting cigars. There are cigars manufactured in Honduras from the Nicaraguan-grown leaves. The place of origins, however, does contribute to the style of the cigar. For example, the style of Cuban cigars made from Cuban-grown cigars has a unique flavour.


Dominican tobacco is similar to the Cuban tobacco seeds in terms of creaminess. Thus, Dominican tobacco is often used in cigar blends to add a special vitality to the flavour.


The countries of Honduras and Nicaragua are known for cultivating savory and full-bodied tastes in their tobacco leaves. However, the Hondura cigar is viewed to be mild. Mexican cigars have a little spice in their blend which gives them their appeal. Additionally, Mexican tobacco can withstand the curing process without losing its desirable qualities; hence it is sometimes used as a maduro wrapper.


Peru is notable for a rich, full-bodied and complex flavour of tobacco that adds to the cigar blend. Some think it better than Mexican tobacco as it has smoothly spicy, lacking most of the harshness.




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Updated 14-06-2011 at 08:42 PM by Watkins

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