Geometry and Premium Cigar Size
Updated: Jan 22
This article will focus on the more standard shapes (parejos) and sizes. Vitola is a name for a typical size parejo - Rothschild, Corona, Robusto, Panetela, Lancero, Churchill, Gordo, etc. Size is determined by ring guage (rg) and length (in inches).
Measuring length in inches is usually familiar to folks, but ring guage may require some discussion. Let's begin there!
Ring Guage (rg)
Ring guage for cigars is the same as if buying a piece of jewelry. The size is based on the diameter of a circle. Diameter is the distance across the circle through the center (or twice the radius, d=2r). The diameter of the cigar is measured in 64ths of an inch. A cigar witha 64rg would be exactly one inch in diameter.
The smaller the ring guage, the more of the cigar's wrapper you'll taste. Cigars with a larger ring guage have more filler. The ratio of wrapper to filler changes with ring guage but not with length.
"While the ring gauge (rg) of a parejo is consistent from foot to head, the rg of a figurado usually refers to the thickest part of the cigar." – Tobacconist University
This used to be a fairly easy cigar size to find but seems to have become most popular with flavored or sweet cigars. A corona is typically five to five and a half inches long, and a 42 or 44 ring guage.
Another size that you don't find too often! A bit shorter than a corona, but with a bigger ring guage. The name comes from the Rothschild family of German banking fame. These cigars are usually about four and a half inches long and 52rg.
A more familiar size, but one that also gets its name from a famous person. Churchill cigars are typically 7 inches long with a ring guage of 47 or 48. However, size can vary anywhere from 7-8 inches and 44-52rg. The most famous Churchill is the Romeo y Julieta, due to the story of how the cigar size came to be named after one of the most famous cigar smokers, Sir Winston Churchill.
Stepping down from the Churchill length is one of the two most familiar cigar sizes. A Toro cigar typically measures six inches long with a ring guage between 46 and 50.
The other popular size for premium cigars is the Robusto. Typically a short and fat cigar, Robustos usually measure 5"x50rg.
While these are the standard sizes, there really isn't standardization in the cigar industry. So take all of these measurements with a grain of salt. Some manufacturers give special names to their cigar sizes or give each size a different name. You'll also find the 6x60 cigar in many American shops (called a Gordo or Gordito). Finally, there's the Lancero - you should be able to imagine what it looks like!
As always - smoke whatcha like and let us know what that is!