Cigars: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Cigars: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

People have enjoyed cigars for hundreds of years, so the details could fill an encyclopedia. Once you’ve come to be a fan of fine cigars, you’ll doubtless learn more and develop tastes and opinions of your own. Until then, here’s the ultimate beginner’s guide to cigars.


The outer layer comes from the widest leaves on the tobacco plant. Most wrappers fall into seven categories, from lightest to darkest:

1. Double claro – very light and greenish
2. Claro – light tan
3. Colorado claro – medium brown color
4. Colorado – reddish brown, also called Rosados or Corojos
5. Colorado Maduro – darker brown
6. Maduro – dark brown or black, often with a rich, nutty flavor
7. Oscuro – very dark, oily

Binder and Filler
The binder, typically made from rejected wrappers, holds the filler together.

Filler is the blend of tobaccos that give unique flavor. Cuban cigars enjoy the best reputation, but comparable tobaccos are now grown elsewhere from Cuban seeds.
Filler type may also refer to the part of the plant the leaf comes from:
* Voldado – bottom (milder)
* Seco – middle (drier)
* Lingero – top (stronger)

Cigar sizes

Cigars are generally sold by size:
*Little cigars – resemble cigarettes in size, shape, and packaging
*Cigarillo – small machine-made cigars that are shorter and narrower than traditional cigars.

Traditional (also called coronas or parejos)
These typically are, in length and diameter:

*Rothschild: 4 1/2″x19mm
*Robusto: 4 1/2″x20 mm
*Small panatella: 5″x13mm
*Petit corona: 5″x17 mm
*Corona: 5 1/2″x17mm
*Corona gorda: 5 1/2″x18mm
*Panatella: 6″x15mm
*Toro: 6″x20mm
*Double toro/gordo: 6″x24mm
*Corona grande: 6.5″x17mm
*Lonsdale: 6.5″x17mm
*Gran corona: 6.5″x19 mm
*Churchill: 7″x20mm
*Double corona: 7.5″x19mm
*Presidente: 8″x20mm

These are really just irregular cigars:

*Torpedo – with a pointed cap
*Pyramid – tapers from the broad foot to a pointed end
*Perfecto – narrow at either end and thickest in the center
*Presidente – any very large cigar
*Culebras – smaller Dominican cigars twisted together in a Connecticut wrapper
*Cheroot (tuoscaniano) – slim but slightly thicker in the center

Cigar etiquette
1. Buy a humidor – a cigar’s flavor best matures when stored at a relative humidity of 65%–70% and 64 °F.
2. Own a cigar cutter (the little device that clips the rounded cap from the tip of the cigar).
3. Carry a lighter – a cigar smoker should never have to bum a light.
4. Enjoy – a cigar is smoked for its flavor.
5. Don’t grind out the stub – lay it in the ashtray and let it burn out.

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