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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cigar Info

There are fewer basic sizes in the world of cigars. The size of a cigar is defined by diameter (ring gauge) and length (in inches). Ring gauge is the diameter measured in 64ths of an inch, so a cigar with a ring gauge of 48 is 48/64ths (or 3/4ths) of an inch.
Burning Cigar
A pile of cigars

The basic sizes are:

Cigarillo Cigars (3" X 20 ring gauge)
Panatela Cigars (6" X 36)
Corona Cigars (5 1/2" X 42)
Lonsdale Cigars (6 3/4 X 42)
Robusto Cigars (5" X 50)
Toro Cigars (6 x 50)
Double Corona Cigars (7 1/2" X 50)
Churchill Cigars(7"X 48)

Cigars and Their Regions

Cigars sold in the United States are manufactured in many countries throughout the world including Jamaica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, the Dominican Republic, the Canary Islands, the Philippines and the United States. Each of these countries produce cigars which vary from each other in flavor, strength, aroma, and price. Seed from the same tobacco plant put into the ground in various countries will yield very different results because of differing climate conditions, soil, water, even perhaps the air itself. As a matter of fact, cigars produced in a particular country may contain tobaccos grown in a completely different country.
- Dominican Republic Cigars made in the Dominican Republic are presently the most popular choice among US consumers. Their flavor is subtle, sweet, nut-like and usually milder than most other countries.
- Honduran cigars are more robust in flavor with a more full-bodied strength. To the uninitiated, they may be overpowering.
- Jamaica cigars are gentle, mild and more mild than even Dominicans. A good cigar for early afternoon or even early morning.
- Nicaraguan cigars are just coming back into their own after the burning of the tobacco plantations during the Sandanista years. They tend to be slightly less robust than Hondurans and possess a sweet nutty flavor.
- Mexican cigars are thought to be on a tier below super premium cigars because of a general lack of refinement. However, there are several excellent Mexican brands.
- Cigars made in Europe are unlike those described above in that they are machine-made using short filler tobaccos and are generally not humidified. They are also smaller in size. The taste of these cigars is quite different because they use tobacco not only from the Americas (Brazil) but also from Africa and Indonesia. These tobaccos blend to produce a spicy flavor in a mild cigar.

Paul Garmirian's The Gourmet Guide to Cigars Describes Cigars in this Fashion:

"A cigar consists of three components: the filler, the binder, and the wrapper. The filler, which is the inner core of the cigar is what constitutes the body and shape of the cigar and constitutes its greatest mass. The binder is the leaf that binds the filler. It is somewhat coarser than the wrapper. The wrapper which is the outer covering of the cigar must be strong, yet elastic and silky. The elasticity of the wrapper gives the ability to the leaf when moisturized to stretch without breaking."
Rick Hacker in The Ultimate Cigar Book points out that there are three different ways a cigar may be made:
Handmade Cigars - The entire cigar is bunched, rolled and trimmed by individual hand labor. It can be one person working alone on a single cigar, or the work can be divided between a buncher and a roller working on the same cigar. The main criterion is that the entire cigar is completely made by hand from start to finish.
Machine Bunched/Handrolled Cigars- The filler is bunched by machine and then the filler/binder combination is turned over to a cigar roller, who puts the wrapper on by hand. This technique is often simply referred to as machine bunched.
Machine-made Cigars - The filler, binder and wrapper are completely assembled by machine."
The best way to decide what you will like is to become familiar with various sizes and types of cigars. Then you'll be able to determine what cigar is best for your own special smoking scenarios.

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