Cigar Sizes and Shapes

By Gary Manelski

Cigars come in many shapes and sizes. The most common shape for a cigar is a straight cylinder, referred to as a parejo. Normal parejo shaped cigars come in a variety of sizes, many having traditional names to indicate the size, such as corona, robusto, and toro. Cigars that do not have a common parejo shape are referred to as figurados. Figurados may be shaped like a pyramid or obelisk, and/or have a pointed head such as a torpedo. A perfecto is a type of figurado that is tapered on both ends, sometimes having a bulge in the middle. The term vitola is used when referring to both a cigar's shape and size. "Frontmark" is another term used to describe the various models in a particular line of cigars.

A cigar's length, diameter, and shape usually determine its descriptive traditional name, but not always. Some cigar makers create their own names to describe the various vitolas they produce, while others may use a traditional name to describe a cigar that does not fit into its traditional size range. Naming cigars based upon size and shape is not an exact science, which tends to confuse many new cigar smokers. Don't get caught up too much in the nomenclature, but do understand that a cigar's length is measured in inches, and its thickness or diameter is measured in 64th of an inch, which is referred as the cigar's ring gauge. For example, a cigar with a ring gauge of 52 has a diameter of 52/64 inches. The size of a cigar that is six inches long with ring gauge of 52 is often expressed as: 6 x 52.

Here are the names for some popular cigar sizes, and their approximate measurements:

Parejo Shaped Cigars

  • Corona 5 x 42
  • Robusto 5 x 50
  • Lonsdale 6 x 42
  • Toro 6 x 50
  • Churchill 7 x 48
  • El Presidente 7 x 52

Figurado Shaped Cigars

  • Belicoso 5 x 50
  • Torpedo 6 x 52

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