A way to categorize a cigar is by its shape and size. Because there are many different shapes and sizes, the sticks are even named by them from people in the industry. Different brands of cigar makers will categorize their sticks differently than others. The same size cigar can have a different sized name depending on which manufacturer produced it. The industry has come a long way, and manufacturers have had to make up their own sizing and shaping names because they are now offered in more shapes than the original hand rolled ones from years ago.
The shape and size are often called the vitola by aficionados. There are two dimensions to a stick, besides the flavor and aroma, which is length and ring gauge. The length and width are both measured in inches, however the ring gauge is on a scale of one sixty-fourth of an inch. The most common shape and size is the corona which is also called a parejo. They have straight sides, a cylinder shaped body, an open end, and a leaf wrapped end. Sticks with an unusual or irregular shape are called figurados. Cigarillos, or little cigars, are very small and weigh less than a usual stick.
Parejos and figurados have their own categories of sticks. Parejos range in length from four and a half to nine and a quarter inches. The width or ring gauge ranges from 33 to 60 sixty-fourths of an inch. The sticks that fall under the parejo category are: robusto, rothschild, corona, petit corona, corona gorda, corona grande, double corona, gran corona, presidente, churchill, toro, panatela, carlota, and lonsdale. Some of these names are quite noticeable, and are named after Sir Winston Churchill and the Rothschild family. The categories of figurados are: tuscanian, torpedo, perfecto, presidente, pyramid, and culebras.
The shape and size of a stick will not affect the quality of it. It is a personal preference as to which shape and size you like to smoke. Some manufacturers are known for making a certain type of figurado or parejo. For fun occasions, you can even find cigars shaped in the form of baseball bats, golf clubs, or pipes. If you are new to the culture of smoking, naming a stick by its shape rather than asking for a five inch cigar will make you sound more like an aficionado. It is part of the culture and industry to use names rather than numbers. This is what makes smoking them so unique and fascinating. The traditions are long lasting and rich in history.