Big Beefy Cigars Are "In"
By Gary Korb
First it was skinny Lanceros that offered more wrapper flavor. Now it's long, wide-ring cigars that offer more filler flavors. (Coincidentally, I'm currently working on an article for CigarAdvisor.com about how this 60-ring trend has come about.)
The 6" x 60 format is called a "Double Toro" or "Grand Toro" due to their mostly six-inch length and extra wide diameter. Looking at this month's sampler, the largest ring cigar is a 66 - that's just over an inch wide. If you think that's big, you should have seen the Galaxia from Perdomo's original Cuban Parejo series. Rolled to 10" x 100 ring, Perdomo was also one of the first brands to market an all extra-wide-ring edition. Wide ring cigars would rear their chubby heads occasionally as manufacturers like Rocky Patel, Oliva, and CAO began adding Grand Toros to some of their lines. Then, in 2006, Alec Bradley Cigars launched their MAXX line which had two Grand Toros: "The Freak" at 6 3/8" x 60 and "The Vice" at 6 1/2" x 62. More recently, Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real has added a 6 x 60 "Magnum," and E.P.C. Cigars has the "El Decano" in their New Wave Connecticut series.
One of the reasons for this big fat cigar trend is, extra-large cigars provide more tobacco and smoking time for the money. Plus, some cigar smokers believe big cigars are stronger, though this is not necessarily the case; for as one manufacturer told me, "Large ring cigars offer a large volume of smoke, thus increasing the flavor profile." If there's any one advantage at all to smoking a Gran Toro, it's that the blenders are able to experiment with more types of filler tobaccos, which translates to producing more complex cigars.
Some wrapper attributes that make a difference in flavor
Cigars are sorted in the factory by color. The reason for this is so when you open the box, each cigar's wrapper is virtually the same shade, which makes the cigars more appealing to your eye. But there are a couple of other things about the wrapper you may find interesting: If the wrapper is darker, thicker, or has more noticeable seams, the cigar will be somewhat stronger in flavor.