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Developing a diverse cigar collection is exciting for new and experienced cigar smokers alike. Having a selection of cigars to choose from allows you to satisfy whatever cigar mood you're in; you’ll also want to keep some celebration cigars on hand for those special occasions: a wedding day, a big promotion, or a new baby. Use these great tips to quickly and easily build yourself a cigar collection with lots of variety.

Collect Cigars that Cover a Variety of Tastes

Part of the joy of being a brother or sister of the leaf is having a great cigar on hand for every occasion. That includes a mix of your every-day favorites, special cigars reserved for celebrations or special occasions, as well as cigars that others prefer for one reason or another. However, your collection should mostly reflect “you” – your preferred aromas, flavors and shapes.

  • Expensive is not always better

    Just because a cigar is expensive doesn’t mean you’ll love it. Be open-minded about moderately-priced or less popular cigars, because if you know what you like and dig a little deeper, you’ll find there are a lot of affordable discoveries to be had; and in many cases, are as good or better than upmarket cigars.

  • Try a variety of Cigars with Sampler Packs

    A great way to try a variety of cigars is with a sampler pack. Depending on the pack, you can try 10 to 15 best-of cigars from leading brands without ponying up for an entire box of each. Famous Smoke Shop has an impressive line-up of Cigar Samplers for sale.

  • Keep exploring and trying

    Once you have settled on a favorite flavor profile, it can be tempting to stick only with cigars that match it, preventing you from discovering other flavor nuances and aromas. Plus, your palate evolves the more you smoke. That cigar you may not like today, could well become one of your favorites over time.

    So, be adventurous! By trying many different types of cigars you’ll develop your palate even further on your way to finding the “perfect cigar.” To help you better identify the flavors you discover on your journey, click here to download or printout the “Cigar Flavor Wheel.”

Cigars Come in Many Sizes and Shapes

When it comes to cigars, size does not equal strength – The tobaccos used to make the cigar determine its strength. The different sizes and shapes will influence how long a cigar will last when smoking it, and how the flavors meld in your mouth. Different brands will vary the shape and sizes of their cigars.

Cigar Shapes

Hover over the cigars below for more info

Parejo

1

Chisel

2

Torpedo

3

Presidente

4

Perfecto

5

Pyramid

6

Culebra

7

Salomon

8

1 - Parejo

Most common shape - straight sided, either round or box-pressed, with an open foot (the end you light). Includes Corona, Churchill, Robusto, Panatela and Lonsdale.

2 - Chisel

Head is shaped like a woodwind instrument or chisel.

3 - Torpedo

Closed foot, head tapers to a point with a straight body, like an actual torpedo.

4 - Presidente

Large, long, straight sided, with a closed head.

5 - Perfecto

Closed, nipple-like foot, with a rounded head that appears bulged in the middle.

6 - Pyramid

Open foot narrowing to a point at the head like a pyramid, but much more subtle.

7 - Culebra

Three panatela cigars (thin parejos) braided together, tied with string; usually unbraided to smoke each strand individually.

8 - Salomon

Tapered at both ends, the head is similar to a belicoso; the foot often narrows to a nipple shape.

Cigar Sizes

The length of a cigar is expressed in inches while the diameter – the ring gauge – is expressed in 64ths of an inch. For example, a 6 x 52 cigar is six inches long with a ring gauge of 52/64ths of an inch.

Name

 

Length

Gauge

Smoke Time*

Cigarillo

Length: 4"

Gauge: 26

Smoke Time*: 15-20 min

Rothchild

Length: 4 1/2”

Gauge: 50

Smoke Time*: 45-60 min

Robusto

Length: 5"

Gauge: 50

Smoke Time*: 60 min

Petite Corona

Length: 5"

Gauge: 40

Smoke Time*: 30-45 min

Corona

Length: 5 1/2”

Gauge: 42

Smoke Time*: 30-45 min

Toro

Length: 6"

Gauge: 50

Smoke Time*: 1.5 hrs

Lonsdale

Length: 6 1/2"

Gauge: 44

Smoke Time*: 1 hour

Churchill

Length: 7"

Gauge: 50

Smoke Time*: 1.5-2 hours

Lancero

Length: 7"

Gauge: 38

Smoke Time*: 45-60 min

Double Corona

Length: 7 3/4”

Gauge: 49

Smoke Time*: 2 hours

*approximate

Cigar Wrappers

The wrapper is the outermost part of a cigar holding the filler and binder tobaccos together. It is usually made from the larger, lower leaves of the plant. The best wrappers are blemish-free and have a slight sheen of oil from the curing process. The color of the wrapper may give some indication of the flavor and strength of a cigar, but it is the sum of all the tobaccos in the blend that gives a cigar its particular body and strength.

Click on the cigar wrappers below to learn more

Candela

Claro

Colorado Claro

Colorado

Colorado Maduro

Maduro

Oscuro

Candela

  • Light green
  • Color achieved by quick-drying process that uses heat to trap the chlorophyll in the leaf
  • Could have grassy, cedar and peppery flavors with a bit of sweetness; leafy aromas

Claro

  • Light tan
  • Color achieved by growing under cheesecloth tents under the shade, harvesting early and air-drying leaves
  • Could have a dry taste with flavors of cream, butter, pepper, coffee or cedar; spicy, slightly ammonia aromas

Colorado Claro

  • Light reddish-brown
  • Color achieved by growing in direct sun and maturing longer before harvest
  • Could have cedar, leather, toffee and wood flavors

Colorado

  • Medium brown to brownish-red
  • Color achieved by growing in shade from natural cloud cover, cheesecloth, etc.
  • Full-flavored with soft, subtle aromas

Colorado Maduro

  • Darker brown
  • Color achieved by fermenting the leaves longer at a higher temperature
  • Rich, medium to full-bodied flavor

Maduro

  • Deep reddish-brown to almost black
  • Color achieved by longer curing times and either toasting leaves in a pressure chamber or fermenting longer at above-average heat
  • Robust, almost sweet, caramel flavors with tasting notes of dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, brown sugar and dried fruit; mild aromas

Oscuro

  • Black
  • Color achieved by using the leaves near the top of the plant, kept on the stalk as long as possible and fermented for a longer period of time.
  • Deep sweetness and strong, rich flavor

Infused Cigars

Some cigar enthusiasts prefer more aromatic flavors and tastes outside of what traditional premium tobaccos can offer. Infused cigars make a great option for these smokers, and there are many excellent infused cigar picks to choose from. Methods for infusing cigars vary from exposing the leaves to specific aromas to spraying the flavor on the leaves. They’re worth a try if you like to explore different kinds of cigars – and while some traditionalists might dismiss them, an infused cigar can deliver a unique, intense and palate-pleasing smoke.

Infused Cigars - Botanical/herbs

Botanical/herbs

With endless combinations of herbs, spices, essential oils and botanicals, these infusions add dimension to the cigar’s flavor. Cloves, cinnamon, anise/licorice, grass, wood and occasional florals are just a few of the tastes you’ll experience.

Infused Cigars - Fruit

Fruit

Cherry, as you might expect, along with other delicious nectars such as peach, grape, berry and citrus give a cigar a brighter, lighter note.

Infused Cigars - Coffee

Coffee

Tobacco and coffee pair naturally. Mocha, coffee bean and dark roast are some of the flavors that show up in these infusions. The aromatics of a coffee-infused cigar can be the perfect marriage of a high-end coffee shop and the best tobacconist.

Infused Cigars - Alcohol/spirits

Alcohol/spirits

Cognac, rum, Amaretto, whiskey, bourbon and wine are some of the infusions available.

Understanding Cigar Reviews and Ratings

Reviews help you sort through the wide array of cigar choices to find selections you enjoy. A good review will give you blending and background information about the cigar – this information is key to helping you discover certain tobaccos and/or blends that you prefer.

Among the various rating criteria, look for information about construction, how evenly the cigar burns and the color and consistency of the ash, pre-light flavors, aroma, flavors on each third and retrohale notes. Those details will tell you what kind of smoke to expect.

Pictured is an example of the rating criteria found in a 100 point cigar rating system.

In many cases you will find that a small write-up explaining personal experiences from individuals or consumers who are reviewing the cigar is also included.

Pay attention to any discussions about core or main flavors versus the more subtle sensations or notes. The core notes of a cigar are those remaining steady throughout the smoking, whereas the subtle notes tend to be those that come and go. You may not agree with the reviews and you may detect other flavors than what the reviewer listed. Ultimately, your experience is about your palate and your preferences.

Most premium hand-rolled cigars are rated using a 100-point system, while other reviewers will use 4 or 5 stars. In both cases, the higher the number or the more stars, respectively, the higher the rating.