Cigars come in different shapes and sizes, affecting the burning time, taste, sharpness, and aroma development. Learn more about cigar formats, their sales designations, and their impact on smoking experience.
Unfortunately, various cigar portals and manufacturers have no uniform designations for different cigars formats. Sometimes they are even incorrect. One must distinguish between cigar shapes and the manufacturer’s sales designations.
Shapes and sub-shapes
Based on their shape, cigars can be divided into two groups – Figurado and Parejo. Parejo cigars have the same ring gauge from head to foot. In comparison: Figurado cigars are thinner at one or both ends. Figurados come in the following five sub-shapes: Belicoso (cigar with the same ring gauge, tapered at the head/foot); Torpedo (like the Belicoso, but more tapered); Piramides (tapered evenly from head to foot); Perfecto (tapered at both ends); and Culebras (three intertwined cigars).
Cigar manufacturers use over a dozen sales designations for their tobacco products to indicate length, ring gauge, and shape, e.g., Corona, Short Perfecto, Robusto, or Churchill. These designations indicate whether it is a longer cigar with a large ring gauge or a shorter, thinner cigar. Unfortunately, there are no standardized lengths and ring gauges for these sales designations. Various cigar portals and manufacturers use specific cigar format terminology differently or incorrectly. For example, Piramides are evenly tapered cigars. However, they are often incorrectly referred to as Torpedos.
The sales descriptions of many cigar manufacturers list Figurados with their corresponding sub-shape. Designations have become established for cigars with a uniform ring gauge (Parejos) to indicate length and ring gauge. Sometimes cigar manufacturers like to deviate from classic formats. They then add descriptions like Demi, Double, Short, Gran, or +. They indicate whether a cigar is longer, shorter, thicker, or thinner than the initial format.
Taste: Length and thickness
What do all these shapes and formats have to do with the taste of a cigar? It is a common misconception that cigars with a wider ring gauge are stronger than thinner ones. The cigar's aroma and strength depend decisively on the blend ratio of the tobacco filler (proportion of Volado, Seco, and Ligero leaves) – for more information, please visit Anatomy of the tobacco Plant and the ratio between length and ring gauge. Smaller cigar formats develop a more compact but sometimes less complex flavor. Furthermore, slim cigars develop a little more sharpness towards the end, which could spoil the smoking experience for cigar newcomers, in particular. Cigars with a larger ring gauge burn slower and have a larger smoke volume, which increases the variety of flavors and intensity of the taste. The VILLIGER Online Shop allows you to filter hand-rolled cigars according to twelve different formats. We will discuss the seven most essential formats here.
Perla (Demi Corona)
Perla cigars have an average ring gauge of about 16 mm and are between 100 mm and 125 mm long. They often burn better than smaller cigars. Flavors can develop well, and there is rarely any unwanted spiciness. We recommend the DOMINICO Perla with an average burning time of 20 minutes.
Panetelas are slender and slightly longer cigars (140 mm to 175 mm with an average ring gauge of 14.5 mm) with 15 to 20 minutes of burning time. The flavors develop well on the tongue, sometimes resulting in a spicy aftertaste. Because of their elegant, slender, and longer format, Panetelas are often called lady cigars. However, the BOCK Panetela is not only enjoyed by ladies.
For a long time, Corona was the most popular cigar format. However, the Robusto stole the limelight. With a length of about 150 mm and a ring gauge of around 16.5 mm, the Corona boasts a balanced smoke volume and aroma development. In addition, the elegant, robust cigars convey a delightful emotion when placed in the mouth. Thus, it is no surprise that the Corona format is referred to as “crown.” We recommend the LA LIBERTAD Corona, which develops aromas of spices, nut, toast, wood, pepper, leather, and cocoa during its 60 minutes burning time.
The Robusto is appreciated by many experienced aficionadas/aficionados and has replaced the most popular cigar format, the Corona. With a ring gauge of around 20 mm, Robustos are significantly thicker than Coronas and produce a lush volume of smoke and aroma. Despite its large ring gauge, the cigar is relatively short (120 mm), making it popular with beginners. Why not try the VILLIGER DO BRASIL MADURO Robusto? Which of the leather, musk, clove, pepper, roasted, sweet, and cedar aromas do you recognize?
The Short Perfecto has two tapered ends on both the head and foot. That is why it takes the most experienced cigar rollers to ensure that such a format is rolled perfectly, thus providing the perfect draw resistance. Because they are narrow at the foot, Short Perfectos, which have a ring gauge of up to 23 mm, are supposed to be easier to light. The approximately 120-mm long Short Perfectos are the perfect choice for aficionadas and aficionados looking for a 45-minute smoke. We recommend the VILLIGER 1492 Short Perfecto.
Churchills are probably the most popular cigar format among laypeople. The cigar manufacturer Romeo y Julieta originally named this format Julieta No. 2. However, after it became known that it was the favorite cigar of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the format became known as Churchill. Measuring around 19 mm in ring gauge and 170 mm to 185 mm in length, we recommend devoting up to 90 minutes to the intense character of a Churchill. The format guarantees a good burn and a decent aroma development. We recommend the VILLIGER SAN’DORO COLORADO Churchill for experienced aficionadas and aficionados.
Torpedoes have the same ring gauge from foot to head. However, the head is tapered and curves into a point – more than the Belicoso. The tapered head allows aficionadas and aficionados to customize the draw, and thus the draw resistance when cutting the cigar. Remember, the smaller the opening, the greater the draw resistance and the more intense the smoke. The more you cut off, the easier the draw will be. More smoke volume also reduces the intensity of the cigar. We recommend the VILLIGER 1888 Torpedo to those who prefer medium-bodied cigars. Heinrich Villiger himself was responsible for the composition of this cigar.
Other formats available in the VILLIGER Online Shop
The VILLIGER Online Shop also allows you to filter cigars by formats such as Toro, Toro+, Gran Toro, Minuto, Perla, Short Robusto, and Robusto+. Moreover, the VILLIGER Online Shop also offers the VILLIGER LA MERIDIANA Gigantes, a cigar that measures more than 23 mm in ring gauge.