Go into any Cuban cigar shop, make your way over to the humidor, and it hits you – a dizzying variety of shapes and sizes, and colours. If you’re a novice (and even some of us who aren’t novices), that can be intimidating. And, if in my case, the store clerk was absolutely no help at all (actually quietly following me around the store like I was going to rip something off), you’re likely on your own.
Related: Cuban cigars: Three signs you’re smoking a fake
So we’re here to help. To start, what are the different shapes and sizes of Cuban cigars (called vitolas)?
Cuban cigars: Know your stuff
Corona is a classic shape, measuring around 42-44 mm in length a ring gauge of 42-44. A Robusto is a shorter, thicker cigar, around 50 mm in length and a ring gauge of 50. A Churchill is a larger Cuban cigar, around 47-48 mm in length, and a ring gauge of 47-48.
Then there is a Toro – medium-sized, around 55-58 mm in length and a ring gauge of 55-58. The Double Corona is another large cigar, around 49-50 mm in length with a 49-50 ring gauge.
Also on the list
• Pyramid: A tapered cigar, with a wide base and a narrow head, measuring around 52-54 mm in length and a ring gauge of 52-54
• Belicoso: A tapered cigar, similar to a pyramid but with a rounded head, 52-54 mm in length and a ring gauge of 52-54
• Lancero: A long, thin cigar, 38-40 mm in length and a ring gauge of 38-40
• Panetela: A thin, long cigar, around 38-40 mm in length and a ring gauge of 27-38
• Short: A short cigar, measuring around 90-110 mm in length and a ring gauge of 30-38
• Cigarillos: A small cigar, measuring around 70-90 mm in length and a ring gauge of 20-26
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Habano Festival puts Cuban cigars back in the spotlight
Cuban cigars are renowned around the world, the capital of premium cigar production. This week, running to March 3, the Habano Festival, in Havana, is welcoming aficionados, cigar professionals and experts. So Cuban cigars are very much front and centre. They’re known for their unique tobacco blends, their complex flavours, plus the fact they are handcrafted. That’s what’s on display in Havana this week.
So when choosing a cigar, it’s important to consider not only the shape and size, but also the blend of tobacco used. And the brand of course – Cohiba, Montecristo, Partagas, Romeo y Julieta, Hoyo de Monterrey. Each brand and blend will have its own unique flavor profile and smoking characteristics. It’s also worth trying different vitolas to find the one that best suits your personal preferences.
Parejos vs. Figurados
Parejos are a specific type of vitola when it comes to Cuban cigars. The term “parejo” in Spanish means “even” or “regular”, and it refers to cigars that have a straight, cylindrical shape. Parejos are the most traditional and common type of vitola, and they include the Coronas, Robustos, Churchill, Toro, Double Corona. These cigars are characterized by their straight sides and closed heads, which are typically round or slightly tapered. Parejos typically have a larger ring gauge than figurado cigars.
And what are those? Figurados means “shaped” in Spanish and refers to cigars that have a non-cylindrical shape, like the parejos. These cigars are known for their unique and distinctive shapes, which can include tapered, pointed, or bulging heads.
What are the popular figurados?
- Pyramid: A tapered cigar, with a wide base and a narrow head, measuring around 52-54mm in length and a ring gauge of 52-54.
- Belicoso: A tapered cigar, similar to a pyramid but with a rounded head, around 52-54mm in length and a ring gauge of 52-54.
- Perfecto: A cigar with a bulging center and tapered ends, around 48-54mm in length, ring gauge of 48-54.
- Culebras: A cigar made up of three smaller cigars braided together, around 40mm in length, ring gauge of 40.
- Torpedo: A cigar with a pointed head, measuring around 52-54mm in length and a ring gauge of 52-54.
Figurados are often considered to be more complex and flavorful cigars than parejos, due to the unique shape of the cigar, the way the smoke is channeled, and the construction of the cigar. They are also more difficult to make, and therefore, more expensive. Some of the most popular figurados include: Bolivar Belicosos Finos, Partagas Serie P No. 2 and the Montecristo Petit No. 2 Cuban.
Read more about Cuban cigars and other topics of leisure.