Joel Galloway
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Phone: 214.402.5654 Mobile
Address: 922 Bridget Ln
Dallas, TX 75218

Cigars 101
  February 1, 2014
Basic Flavors In Cigar Tobacco

To a novice or new cigar smoker, the use of terms such as “100% tobacco” and “artificially flavored” to describe the natural tobacco flavors in premium cigars can be confusing, to say the least. A cigar is supposed to taste like a cigar, after all, and not a “leather wallet with a hint of chipotle.”

As a new cigar smoker, you will quickly discover that all cigar tobacco does not taste the same. Some cigars are fuller or stronger than others, which then becomes a matter of degree. These terms are used not only to describe the intensity of the flavors, but also the fullness of the smoke (body), and the amount of nicotine (strength).
  • mild
  • mild-to-medium
  • medium
  • medium-to-full
  • full
  • and even extra or super-full
As your palate develops, you will begin to detect or notice different flavors in some cigars, of which there are only four basic taste stimulations:
  1. Acid
  2. Bitter
  3. Salty
  4. and Sweet
Cigar tobaccos can be blended together in various proportions to achieve additional flavors, including sweetness, bitterness, pepper and spice. However, describing all those subtle flavors down to the nth degree is not an exact science.

Cigar Shapes and Sizes

One of the most common ways to categorize cigars is by their shape and size. To avoid confusion, it is easier to refer to a cigar’s length and width to describe its size. The length is measured in inches, while the width is measured by ring gauge, which is the diameter expressed in 64ths of an inch.

Most of the common names for cigars are usually associated with their size, so you may never have to use the terms that refer to the shape of a cigar. Parejo cigars are shaped like a cylinder (most cigars) and all other cigars with an irregular shape (e.g. having a cone-shaped head) is considered to be a figurado. That’s really all you need ot know. Easy, right?

A few of the more common naming terms that you may encounter, and the approximate range of their dimensions, are as follows:

Name Length (inches) Ring Guage
Corona 5-1/2 to 6 42 to 45
Panatela 5-1/2 to 6 34 to 38
Lonsdale 6 to 6-1/2 42 to 44
Lancero 7 to 7-1/2 38 to 40
Churchill 6-1/2 to 7 46 to 48
Robusto 4-1/2 to 5 48 to 50
Toro 6 to 6-1/2 48 to 50
Presidenta 7 to 8-1/2 52 to 60
Gigante > 6 > 60
Torpedo 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 46 to 52

Ultimately, all that matters is how much you enjoy the cigar or not.

If your can reach the point where you know that you prefer “mild-to-medium Robusto cigar having a little sweetness with just a hint of spice,” then you know enough about cigars to try, buy and avoid.