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Updated February 28, 2023
There are many different cigar sizes and shapes that exist in the marketplace. This can certainly be a bit overwhelming, whether you are just starting out, or if you are a seasoned aficionado. Understanding the different cigar shapes and vitolas is very helpful since the shape can vary depending on the size and brand. Join us as we take you through them all one-by-one to easily decide which cigars you want to add to your collection.
A cigar’s size is measured via two different dimensions. It is measured in length (in inches), and ring gauge, which is the diameter of the cigar broken into 64ths of an inch.
For example, let’s look at the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Robusto cigar, since Robusto is one of the most popular sizes of cigars sold. This cigar measures 5.0” x 52, which translates to 5 inches long and 52/64ths of an inch in diameter.
Most cigar shapes can be broken down into two categories: parejo or figurados. While we can explain the most popular sizes and shapes of cigars, many brands utilize unique naming conventions to set their portfolio apart from the competition. Nonetheless, our reference guide will set you up for success as you dive deeper into your cigar journey.
A straight-sided shaped cigar, parejo cigars mostly have an open foot that needs to be cut before smoking. They can be either round or box-pressed.
This is the size against which all other traditional cigars are measured. Dimensions are 5 ½ to 6 inches with a 42 or 44 ring gauge.
This mini corona measures at 4 ½ inches with a 40 to 42 ring gauge.
A larger corona-format cigar, traditionally 7 inches by a 47-ring gauge.
The most popular size in America, the Robusto is a shorter cigar measuring at 4 ¾ to 5 ½ inches by a 48 to 52-ring gauge.
Probably the most classic and highly traditional size, measuring 5 ⅝ inches by a 46-ring gauge.
Standard dimensions are 7 ½ to 8 ½ inches by a 49 to 52 ring gauge.
Elegantly long and thin, the Panetela comes in a wide variation in length from 5 to 7 ½ inches with a ring gauge of 34 to 38.
Longer than a corona but thicker than a panatela, Lonsdale measures in at 6 ½ inches by a 42-ring gauge.
With cigar makers trying to stay modern and innovative, many brands have broadened their portfolios with figurado-shaped cigars. These creatively shaped premiums include any cigar that isn’t a straight-sided cylinder.
These cigars have cut feet like parejos but have heads tapered to a point. Usually measuring 6 to 7 inches with ring gauges of 40 at the head and 52 to 54 at the foot. The unique tapered head of the Pyramid allow complex flavors from the cigar to linger on the palate.
The traditional belicoso is a short pyramid but with a slightly rounded head. Usually measuring from 5 ½ inches with ring gauges between 50 and 52. This shape is noted for its tapered head.
Torpedos are often pyramids, and a true torpedo features a closed foot, a tapered head, and a bulge in the middle.
A perfecto, like a torpedo, has a closed foot and a bulge in the middle, but unlike torpedos, perfectos have a rounded head similar to a Parejo. Varying in length, perfecto measures at 4 ½ to 9 inches with ring gauges from 38 to 48.
One of the most exotic-looking cigars available. Three panetelas braided together and tied with a string, a culebra is sold as one cigar. The three panetelas are then unbraided and enjoyed separately. Each culebra is usually 5 to 6 inches long, often with a 38-ring gauge. Rare to come by and easily enjoyable with company.
The Diadema size is huge usually 8 ½ inches or longer. The head is tapered but not to a complete point and generally comes in a 40-ring gauge. Tapering down to a foot that can be open like a parejo or closed like a perfecto, the foot of the Diadema is usually a 52-ring gauge or larger.
As a beginner, it is best to start with a medium-sized cigar like a Robusto or Toro. This ensures that the experience provides an appropriate amount of smoke, while never overwhelming the palate, allowing the beginner to truly taste the premium tobaccos and get an idea of what they enjoy.
Go forth with this newfound knowledge and continue your cigar journey. Enjoyed the information in this article? We welcome you to venture further into the Study with additional topics covering cigar storage, the rich history of cigars, and more!
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