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As the cigar industry changes, and as the tastes and desires of the cigar smoker expands and changes, new "standards" of shape and size are being adopted. The most obvious of these changes is the TORO size, original of 5 1/2" to 6 1/2" long and around 50 ring gauge. Now it is common for the toro to be a ring gauge of 60 or even more while maintaining the same length.
But, no matter the changes or differences from the typical or standard, innovation and expansion to new ideas in shape and size are as welcome as the changes and enhancements to the overall blends of tobaccos being put into cigars of today, and , of course, to the new and more exotic wrapper tobaccos being used to enhance flavors to places never experienced before.
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Sizes and Shapes
One of the most common ways to categorize cigars is by their shape and size. Although this sounds simple, it can be very confusing. For many years, the cigar industry has been using terms such as Corona and Panatela, which correspond to the approximate length and width of the cigar, not the manufacturer or brand. Although most manufacturers use commonly accepted size names to describe their cigars, the actual size of a particularly named cigar can vary among manufacturers. In addition, cigars are now available in many more dimensions that were available in the past, and many manufacturers have created their own names for certain sizes. It is not too uncommon to find 2 cigars of the same size, made by different companies, that have different names to describe the size.
Are Numbers Better Than Names? To avoid confusion, it is easier to refer to a cigars length and width to describe its size. The length is measured in inches, while the width is measured by ring gauge, which is the diameter expressed in 64ths of an inch. Despite all the inconsistencies with cigar names, it is still more interesting (and colorful) to describe the different sizes and shapes of cigars with names rather than with numbers. This is all part of the cigar mystique.
Names For Cigar Shapes. You may never have to use the terms that refer to the shape of a cigar, since most of the common names for cigars are usually associated with their size. This is because most cigars are shaped like a cylinder, and are considered as having a parejo shape. A cigar with an irregular shape (e.g. having a cone shaped head) is considered to be a figurado . The technical term to encompass both size and shape is vitola .
Common Names For Cigar Sizes There are many names for the various sizes (and shapes) of cigars, but here are just a few of the more common terms that you may encounter, and the approximate range of their dimensions. The ranges listed can be even wider, despite any overlapping.
Name Length Ring Gauge
Corona 5 ½ to 6 42 to 45
Panatela 5 ½ to 6 ½ 34 to 38
Lonsdale 6 to 6 ½ 42 to 44
Lancero 7 to 7 ½ 38 to 40
Churchill 6 ½ to 7 46 to 48
Robusto 4 ½ to 5 48 to 50
Toro 6 to 6 ½ 48 to 50
Presidente 7 to 8 52 to 60
Gigante 6 to 9 60 and above
Torpedo (Cone Shaped Head) 5 ½ to 6 46 to 52