The cigar world can seem an expansive and rather daunting place, with so many different cigars form which to choose. Yet with a few tips, you can enjoy every step of your cigar journey with confidence and the greatest of ease.
Cigars come in a vast array of sizes and shapes or “vitolas” to accommodate the varying preferences of cigar enthusiasts. With each different type of cigar comes a uniquely different cigar smoking experience. This guide will help you sort through the various sizes and shapes to discover the perfect cigar for you.
WHY CIGAR SIZE AND TYPE MATTERS
Size plays a role in the amount of time it takes to smoke a cigar, but also in the level of taste a cigar offers. To best select the right cigar, it helps to understand just how cigars are measured.
The length is a simple lengthwise measurement of a cigar from its head to its foot. A cigar’s diameter is measured in 64ths of an inch to arrive at its Ring Gauge. Each 1/64th equals one ring size, so a cigar with a diameter of 52/64ths of an inch, for example, is said to have a ring gauge of 52.
Cigar makers often blend cigars within a particular line differently, depending on the size of the cigar to maintain consistency in body and taste throughout all the sizes. Each size will offer a different smoking experience, even though composed of the same tobacco. A larger diameter cigar, for example, has more filler tobacco and might deliver a more complex and flavorful smoke than a smaller cigar of the same blend. So, size indeed matters when determining just how a cigar will fit your needs.
Learning cigar sizes will make it easier for you to experiment, as you can buy similar cigars to those you already like.
While length is indeed an important consideration, the ring gauge is a deciding factor for many cigar enthusiasts when choosing a cigar of a particular blend. Many cigar aficionados eventually settle on a favorite ring gauge, yet it can take some trial and error to find that magic number. So, when selecting a size, it helps to consider just how the ring gauge might affect the smoke.
Generally, the larger the diameter, the slower and cooler it will burn. And the smaller the ring gauge, the faster and hotter it tends to burn. This gives each size of cigar unique properties, which the cigar maker attempts to optimize to deliver you the finest smoke possible.
How often you draw through the cigar will also affect the smoke. So, remember, the more you puff, the faster and hotter cigars will become no matter the size.
Typical cigars will range from small 20-ring gauge cigars to 60 ring gauge giants. With the more demanding palates of today’s cigar enthusiasts, bigger sizes are becoming more frequent. Cigars with a 64-ring gauge, or a full inch in diameter, are not out of the ordinary. There are even cigars as big as a 140-ring gauge!
There is a size for just about any occasion or taste, so further exploring ring gauges will help you better choose cigars to fit your preferences.