What determines a cigar size?
Cigar sizes are pretty simple. 50 ring gauge is bigger than 40, 60 is bigger than 50. Similarly, 5 inches is bigger than 4 inches, and 6 inches is bigger than 5. Anyone on earth could have told you that or at least figured that little nugget of wisdom out all on his lonesome. But cigar size is a lot more important than you might imagine. Here we'll explain what is cigar size and how it affects your cigar smoking experience. Sure, we all have our favorite sizes. Mine is anywhere between Robusto and Toro sized cigars. It has the perfect time of burn for me and has a better mouth feel than most other cigars. This allows me to become relaxed and at peace while typing away at these fine articles I write every day. But to be quite honest, Robusto and Toro sized cigars are not the ONLY size I go to for every cigar. With each cigar comes different blends and flavors that can be amplified or reduced based on what size you get. Not only that, but the ring gauge can also alter the flavor of the smoke as well, thus completely changing your cigar smoking experience.
Now you may not think it’s that big of a deal going from a Corona to a Robusto or a Toro to a Gordo. In fact, the only thing that might change for you is the burn time in your opinion, but I’m about to shatter your world. Ring size has a lot to do with the flavor of your cigar. Somewhere along your journey to becoming a regular cigar smoker, someone probably told you some ridiculous claim that 60 percent of the flavor of your cigar comes from the wrapper alone while 40 percent comes from the filler and binder. Well, to quote our dear Vice President, “that’s a load of Malarkey.” Flavor is determined by blend and the size of the cigar. I wrote an article about a year ago titled “Is Bigger Better,” which touches upon my theory here. When you get a massive ring gauge cigar, what are you paying for? A ton of filler and binder with very little wrapper. Similarly, when you buy a Corona sized cigar, you get very little filler and binder with a lot of wrapper by proportion.
So what does this mean in terms of flavor? In the old days in Cuba, cigars were blended in the Corona size. You were taking most of your flavor from the wrapper and diminishing the flavor profile of the filler and binder, making wrapper king of all tobaccos. Nowadays, most cigars are blended in the Robusto and Toro sizes to allow for a blend that takes flavors from all three sections. Going to a massive ring size will only leave you with more flavors from the binder and filler whereas going smaller will give you more wrapper flavor. This is why I’m a big fan of our Test Flight samplers. It gives the customer a few different sizes to sample to find the best one for him. That is, in fact, why we make them. We realize the differences in flavor from shape to shape. Your job is to simply pick the size you like best!
Never think all cigars sizes are the same. You’re never going to get the same flavor out of a Corona that you would from a Torpedo or Gordo. In fact, they aren’t supposed to have the same flavor profiles by design. Each size is supposed to dissect the blend in interesting and new ways so you can experience each different section of tobacco differently from one cigar size to the next. The smoker who is more heavily concentrated on what wrapper type they receive should be more open to trying out Corona sized cigars since you will get the most wrapper flavor out of it. Smokers who like bigger cigars will want to look for quality fillers and binders with a lot of flavor so they can enjoy a blast of flavor from those sections while smoking and to diminish the flavor effect the wrapper might have. In any case, the most important thing to do is find the size that suits you, so make sure you try every size you can and find your go-to!
My job here is pretty simple - I write stuff, I post stuff to Facebook, and I take it to the house consistently at the weekly slam drunk contest. I do it all while sipping on a fine glass of cognac at my desk (don’t tell my boss), and wearing cashmere slippers. Let’s just say "The Hef" has nothing on me.Show all Jonathan DeTore's Articles