If you’ve ever wandered into a walk-in humidor, you’ll know that the types of cigars come in a virtually limitless number of different shapes and sizes. For people who are new to cigar smoking, this huge variety of formats can make choosing the right type of cigars difficult and even intimidating. Here’s everything you need to know about the most common cigars types you’ll find in the typical humidor and when you should choose a particular format.
One of the most common cigars on the market, the robusto format measures from 4.75 to 5.5 inches with a ring gauge between 48 and 52. The robusto is a perfect size for smoking when you have a bit of time but don’t feel like tackling a larger format. Robustos are also a good size to select when trying new cigars, since they will let you fully experience a blend’s flavor without carrying the same price tag as a toro or Churchill.
At approximately 5.5 inches with a ring gauge of 52, the belicoso is similar in many ways to the robusto format. The major difference, however, is that belicosos feature a pointed head, while a robusto’s head is more traditionally rounded. Belicosos are good for medium-length smoking sessions, and many smokers find that the tapering of the head makes for a better feel in the mouth.
One of the cigar types you’ll come across most often is the standard corona, which measures 5.25 to 6 inches in length with a ring gauge of 42 to 44. With their somewhat smaller ring gauge, coronas can be a bit more approachable than robustos while still giving a smoker ample opportunity to experience everything the tobacco blend has to offer in terms of flavor and complexity.
A long, thin cigar format, the typical lonsdale is 6.5 inches in overall length with a ring gauge of 42. Lonsdales are a great option if you’re looking for a smoke that will take a bit longer than a corona while still offering the advantages of a thinner format.
Panetela & Lanceros
The thinnest format among the most common cigars, the classic panetela’s ring gauge falls between 34 and 38. Lengths can vary much more widely, with anything from 5.5 to 7 inches being considered within this format’s range. Longer panetelas are widely smoked for their complex flavors, which can change noticeably as the cigar is smoked. While the term panetela is still widely used in Europe, you’ll predominantly find these cigars marketed as lanceros in the United States. American lanceros are typically 7 inches long with a 38 ring gauge.
Perhaps the most famous of all cigar formats is the classic Churchill, named for former British Prime Minister and avid cigar smoker Sir Winston Churchill. The classic Churchill cigar is 7 inches long with a 47 ring gauge, though some modern Churchills have ring gauges of 48 to 50. Perfect for a long and leisurely smoke, the Churchill is a format to reach for after dinner or whenever you have plenty of time to dedicate to a fine cigar.
A tapered format similar to the belicoso, a pyramid cigar measures between 6 and 7 inches and length and typically has a ring gauge of between 52 and 54 at the foot. The pyramid’s head is more pointed than a belicoso’s, and the taper continues throughout the length of the cigar. These cigars make an excellent choice for longer smoking sessions.
With lengths of up to 10 inches and ring gauges of 60 to 64, the presidente is the largest of the standard cigar types. These cigars are great for long smoking sessions and are often favored for days spent on the golf course or all-day fishing trips. This size is also commonly referred to as a gigante.
The culebra format is made by twisting together three standard panetelas into a braid-like formation. While some smokers choose to smoke all three of the individual cigars at once, the more common approach is to unbind the culebra and smoke the cigars that make it up individually. Culebras are relatively rare, but they’re a great option when you want something truly unique and a natural choice if you’re looking for something to share with a couple of cigar-loving friends.
Another irregular format, the perfecto features a tapered head similar to a pyramid or belicoso. Unlike these other cigar types, though, the perfecto has a pronounced bulge in its midsection and an unusual closed foot. Sizing varies widely, with perfectos ranging anywhere from 4.5 to 9 inches in length and typically featuring ring gauges of up to 48. Perfectos make a great choice when you’re looking for a cigar that’s a bit out of the ordinary.
A torpedo cigar is yet another type of cigar with a tapered head. In the case of this configuration, though, only the head is tapered, with the rest of the cigar remaining straight. Torpedos are quite similar to belicosos and can come in a very wide variety of sizes.