Cigar 101

Enjoy Your Cigar:

Number ratings don't make the cigar: number ratings can be misleading; you may try a cigar rated "91" but

find that it is not YOUR 91; stick to reviews describing flavors, strengths, and characteristics.

Stay with what you like: ask your tobacconist for recommendations, but first you should describe the flavors

you enjoy and stay with cigars of similar charactristics.

The country of origin is important: like all plants, tobacco gets its flavor from the soil and climate in which it

is grown; cigars from the same country of origin will have more in common.

Size is a factor: the bigger the ring gauge the cigar, the cooler it will smoke; the longer the cigar, the cleaner

the flavor, tobacco will act as its own filter.

Popular Cigar Makers: Arturo Fuente, Ashton, Macanudo, Montecristo, Partagas, Punch, Oliva, Nub, Romeo y

Julieta, and Padron.


Building a Cigar:

If you open up a cigar, you will see three basic parts: the wrapper, the filler, and the binder.

Wrapper: The cigar leaf that is the outer covering of a cigar that determines the over all flavor of the cigar, a

good wrapper is smooth, thick, and oily to the touch; the best come from Connecticut, Cameroon, Cuba, and

Domincan Republic.

Filler: Composes the majority of the cigar and is found in the center, these leaves often come from different

fields, regions, and countries.

Binder: A strong, flexible tobacco leaf, found between the wrapper and the filler, which holds the form of the

cigar true to its shape; if your cigar burns unevenly, the binder is the problem.


Cigar Types:

Parejos ( Straight-Sided): They generally have an open "foot" for lighting and a closed rounded "head"; cut

before smoking.

Petit Corona: This short corona is usually 41/2", with a ring gauge of 40 to 42.

Corona: The traditional dimensions are 51/2" to 6", with a ring gauge of 42 to 44. Coronas are the

traditional size that other cigar formats are most commonly compared against.

Churchill: A large corona format with the traditional dimensions of 7", with a ring gauge of 48.

Robusto: A short churchill format with a traditional size of 5" to 51/2" and a shout 50-ring gauge.

Corona Gorda: This long robusto format could be called  a robusto extra, although its popularity preceded

that of robustos, the traditional measurements are 55/8 ", with a ring gauge of 46.

Double Corona: The standard dimensions are 71/2" to 8", with a ring gauge of 49 to 52.

Panetela: Shaped like a longer, thinner corona. Panetelas were more popular in years past than they are

today; this format varies in length from 5" to 71/2", with a ring gauge of 34 to 38.

Lonsdale: A lonsdale is generally thicker than a panetelas, but longer than a typical corona, the classic size is

61/2", with a ring gauge of 42 to 44.


Useful Terms:

Aroma: The overall smell of the smoke.

Blend: Refers to the combination of tobaccos used in a cigar, the wrapper, binder, and fillers.

Body: The strenght of the ciagar (not to be confused with flavor strengeth). More or less the

physical affect the cigar has on you. Most commonly referred to as mild, medium, and full.

Burn: Reflects part of the cigars construction. A cigar should burn evenly at the foot so the

blend of tobaccos taste the way they should. The burn has a big impact on the overall smoking experience.

Character: An overall impression, or personality of how the cigar smokes.

Complex: The characteristic of the smoke. A cigar is complex when the flavors and body change

throughout the smoking experience.

Constrcution: The physical makeup of the cigar. How well it draws, burn, and appears.

Dense: A full, or heavy feeling to the smoke.

Development: The progress of how a cigar smokes in regards to the flavor and body.

Draw: The resistance on feels while trying to pull smoke thrugh the head of a cigar.

Dry Draw: A draw on an unlit cigar. Usually done to taste the tobaccos before the cigar is lit.

Finish: The lingering flavors and body that the smoke leaves on your palate. Can refer to the end

of a cigar, or the flavors and body as it is smoked.

Flavor: The taste of smoke.

Foot: The end of the cigar that is lit.

Head: The part of the cigar that is clipped, and smoked from.

Marbelized: A wrapper that has a marble-like appearance. The term is usually used to describe the

look of the wrapper.

Mouth Feel: How the smoke feels on the palate. The sensation that the smoke provides.

Nose: The smell of the end of the foot.

Oily: The essential oils of the wrapper leaf.

Vitola: Is the size and the shape of the cigar.

Palate: The senses that are used to taste, or smell a cigar.

Seamless: Where the seams of the wrapper leaf on a cigar are not visible.

Shade Grown: Means that the wrapper tobacco was grown under a canopy, usually from cheesecloth.

Shoulder: The part of the cigar next to where the head begins.

Splotchy: A wrapper with inconsistent coloration.

Sun Grown: Literally means that the wrapper tobacco was grown under direct sunlight.

Toothy: The small bumps that cover the wrapper on a cigar. Can sometimes be visible on the ash.

Well-rounded: Stimulates the senses on all areas of the tongue and palate.

Cuban Sandwich Cigar: Is a cigar that is made with mixed fillers short and long fillers.