The smoking of cigar tobacco is an ancient ritual, with roots dating back hundreds of years. From the ancient civilizations of Central and South America, to the European colonists and finally to the modern day, smoking a cigar has developed into both and art form and a science. Over the centuries, techniques have been developed in both the crafting and smoking of cigars to enhance the experience. While many few different cigar sizes as a simple visual esthetic, different shapes and sizes actually hold a deep significance to the smoking experience. When rolled into various shapes and sizes, cigar tobacco can burn differently which in turn can change the flavor profile, aroma, and smoke time. While in the modern industry, several companies have created unique names for their sizes , there are some staples that will always remain. Here is a comprehensive look at the various shapes and sizes of cigars, which can help you decide which one works best for you.
Individual sizes are first organized into two shape categories. The first is known as Parejo. For those of you who are new to the cigar community, a Parejo is your basic, rounded cigar shape. It retains a straight shape from the foot to the head, with the headed maintaining a rounded shape. This is the most common of cigar shapes and are instantly recognizable. Parejos vary in size and name, yet there are some common sizes that have been used for years.
The petite corona is an age-old size dating back to the classic Cuban glory days. It is the smaller version of the corona size and usually sits around 4.5 inches long and a 38 ring gauge. It is usually tightly packed, but remains loose enough for a good draw. A true petite corona will offer up an immense amount of smoke. Due to its more compact nature, it produces much more smoke than your average size. With the bigger ring gauge cigars becoming increasingly more popular, petite coronas are harder to come by. However, brands that continue to roll in the old Cubanesque ways still provide this size. Check out the Davidoff Millennium Petite Corona for the perfect example of the petite corona.
The Robusto is one of what we call the "Four Horseman". These are the staple sizes that nearly ever cigar line will be available in. The robusto pack a solid amount of flavor into a smaller size. It comes typically in a 5X50 size, but that may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. This is a great size to smoke to try out a new line. They usually have a smaller smoke time, but burn at a great pace and offer a lot of flavor and a lot of smoke. Two great examples of robustos are the Romeo by Romeo and the Liga Privada No.9. They both smoke beautifully and offer an amazing experience in a short amount of time.
The toro may be one of the most recognizable sizes in the cigar industry. It is a great middle ground cigar, not too long or too short. It is typically a 6X50 and is often called the double robusto. It offers the perfect amount of smoke time as well as a good amount of flavor. To many, they seem to burn the most evenly, due to its balanced length and gauge. A toro is also the most common size for today's cigar manufacturers and can be found in the new Todos Las Dias from Steve Saka and the new H.Upmann by AJ Fernandez.
This is in fact the only size on here that takes its name from a person. This iconic long smoke is named after legendary prime minister and cigar smoker Winston Churchill. Typically, a Churchill weighs in at about 7 inches long and a ring gauge between 48-50. This is a long, after dinner smoke. It will burn for a long time, which may cause a burn issue or two but again that depends on the brand. If you are looking for a cigar to last you 18 holes of golf, the Churchill is the one for you. Recently, we have been enjoying the My Father Le Bijou Churchill and the aptly named Davidoff Winston Churchill Churchill.
We decided to group these two sizes together because they are quite similar and often get confused. Lets start off by saying that these two sizes, especially the lancero, are exceedingly underrated and you will see why. Both are particularly long and thin, yet the lancero is typically longer and thinner. A lancer is usually a 6.5X38 while a Lonsdale is around a 6X42. These cigars will offer you the most flavor due to the ratio of wrapper to filler tobaccos. The issue is that due to the thinner size, you may experience some burn issues, however some manufacturers have it down to an art form. To experience a true example of these sizes try out the Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero or the Herrera Esteli Deluxe Lonsdale.
The second group concerning cigar shapes is known as figurados. The term figurados is quite generic, as it refers to any cigar with an irregular shape. Basically, anything not considered a Parejo is called a figurados. If a cigar does not have straight edges or a rounded head, place it in the figurados category.
This is by far the most popular size among the figurados. The torpedo size takes its name from, you guessed it, a naval torpedo. A torpedo can be rolled into almost any size, as most figurados can, but the average torpedo size is about a 6x52. The cigar stays straight until it begins to taper comes to an almost sharp point. Torpedo's can really focus the draw into one centered point, giving it a lot of smoke and a nice even burn. It is also one of the most recognizable shape other than a standard toro. For a great torpedo you should check out the Montecristo No.2 or the Oliva Serie V Torpedo.
A belicoso can easily be confused with a torpedo, but there are some slight differences. Too distinguish between a belicoso and a torpedo it is much more a visual thing. Where as the torpedo has a more gradual taper, the belicoso remains straight until just before the head, and does a short, quick taper. Belicosos are also typically smaller in overall size, with your average size around 5.5X50, although quite a few can be around 6 inches long. Some perfect examples of a Belicoso include the Ashton Symmetry Belicoso and the La Aroma de Cuba Belicoso.
A pyramid is much easier to distinguish from the previous two. From its name, you can surmise that is resembles a pyramid. It has a gradual taper, but it basically starts at the foot of the cigar and it gets smaller as it goes to the head. The pyramid is also typically the largest of the figurados, with a usual size of around 6X54. Two classic examples of a pyramid would be the Partagas Black Piramide and the Davidoff Yamasa Piramide.
Here we have another easily distinguishable shape, the perfecto. The Perfecto is a cigar where the taper is on the foot. When lighting a perfecto, the draw will initially be tight, but don't worry. Once it opens, it has a nice draw and typically burns very even due to its tapered foot. While some also have a tapered head, this is not necessary. Perfectos will vary in their size from thing almost Lonsdale size to big 60 ring gauge gordos. Some of my personal favorites would have to be the Arturo Fuente Hemingway and the Tatuaje 10th Anniversary.