The New Year is coming. Why not ring it in with that perfect cigar? The most common way of categorizing cigars is by their shape and size. Sounds simple, right? It’s actually trickier than you may think. This is because manufacturers use terms that correspond to the approximate width and length of the cigar, but the actual size of cigars vary according to different manufacturers.


(Pixabay / fetcaldu)

To simplify matters, many manufacturers stick to classifying cigars based on length (measured in inches) and width (measured by ring gauge, which is expressed in 64ths of an inch).

Names of Cigars Based on Shapes

Most cigars have straight sides and rounded heads. These cigars are referred to as having a parejo shape. A cigar that has any shape other than this is called a figurado. Vitola is the term referring to a cigar’s respective measurements. For example, a “Julieta” vitola refers to a cigar that is 7 inches long and has a ring size of 47. You might compare cigars by saying that they have similar or different vitolas.

Names of Cigar Sizes

The most common names of cigars based on their sizes are as follows:

  • Corona –5 ½ to 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 42 to 45.
  • Panatela –5 ½ to 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 34 to 38.
  • Lonsdale –6 to 6 ½ inches long with a ring gauge of 42 to 44.
  • Lancero –7 to 7 ½ inches long with a ring gauge of 38 to 40.
  • Churchill –6 ½ to 7 inches long with a ring gauge of 46 to 48.
  • Robusto –4 ½ to 5 inches long with a ring gauge of 48 to 50.
  • Toro –6 to 6 ½ inches long with a ring gauge of 48 to 50.
  • Presidente –7 to 8 ½ inches long with a ring gauge of 52 to 60.
  • Gigante –6 inches long with a ring gauge of over 60.

Cigar Ratings

The Cigar Aficionado Magazine is one of the world’s leading cigar-rating authorities. The publication uses a set standard in rating cigars using the following criteria:

  • Appearance and construction – Cigars are rated based on the smoothness of the wrapper and the absence of discernible flaws. Cigars must also have consistent color and shape. There are 15 maximum allowable points in this category.
  • Smoking characteristics – This rating is based on smoke quality. The cigar must burn evenly and allow for easy drawing of smoke. There are 25 maximum allowable points.
  • Flavor – A cigar can max out in this category (worth 25 points) if it has a smooth and rich taste that is consistent throughout the smoke.
  • Overall impression – This last category is worth 35 points (maximum) and is based on the overall smoking experience that the cigar provides.

If you feel daunted by choosing cigars, start with some research on cigar ratings. Try several well-rated cigars to find the smokes that best fit your taste.