The Smaller Ring Gauge Cigars
You don’t know what you are missing!
There seems to be an on- going trend among our modern (younger) cigar smokers that bigger is always better. Today a 50-ring gauge cigar is the norm and many manufacturers are producing behemoths that weigh in at 60 ring and well above.
Now, I am not saying that manufacturers are not producing smaller rings anymore, just look at our popular Warped line of cigars. This is a new top-quality boutique brand that focuses primarily on those great old classic sizes made famous in Havana, Cuba. However, with other newer manufacturers (especially boutique brands) some of the classic sizes seem be lost in the rush to release the next best jawbreaker.
The cigar manufacturers are not purposely ignoring these smaller sticks, but let’s face it, they will follow the market trend just as any other smart business would. Example: Do you remember when cell phones could fit in your pocket? Today these (phablets) as they are called, are so big that you can’t make a call using just one hand. Whether it be phones, TV’s, or our ever-expanding waistlines, in the United States at least, it seems like the mantra is “bigger is always better”. Obviously, this also applies to our taste in cigars.
Fear not though, most of the classic marque brands such as Arturo Fuente, Davidoff, H. Upmann, Montecristo, and Romeo y Julieta, just to name a few, have every size, shape and wrapper color on the planet.
So why choose a smaller ring gauge cigar? The primary purpose for choosing small cigars like Lonsdales and Coronas is a matter of smoking time. If you have less than an hour to enjoy your favorite smoke, a (5 x 44) stogy will easily let you enjoy the whole thing without having to worry about retiring it to the ashtray while it’s still producing peak flavors. You big stogy smokers know what happens next. You refuse to surrender said stick, and are late for your 2:00 pm meeting with the President of the company. This results in immediate termination. Had you been smoking … let’s say … an Ashton Cordial, you would arrive on time for the meeting, give a kick ass presentation and be promoted to Branch Manager of the company office in Honolulu, Hawaii! There you would meet a 24 year-old, very hot, Hula dancer that gets turned on by the smell of cigars! This of course would be the worst (or best) case scenario.
The biggest joy you can receive while negotiating a smaller ring gauge is flavor. Because there is not as much filler, the flavors of the cigars are much more dominant and decidedly, richer. Those monster stogies tend to lose a little zest with the heaps of filler tobacco that they have crammed under their wrappers.
Through experimentation, smokers may find that a particular cigar that they do not thoroughly enjoy will translate better in a smaller size due to combustion rate. Take me (please) for example, not being a huge fan of very mild cigars, I find the classic Macanudo Prince Phillip too light and airy for my tastes. However, having smoked the whole line I find the Macanudo Rothschild an exquisite smoke. The Lonsdale size of this beauty brings out all of the creamy, rich, and nutty flavors that I have come to love in a good smoke. Bear in mind that taste is subjective, and many others will prefer this brand and other milder brands in their larger stature.
My own tastes vary from large to small, so while I do lick my chops waiting to fire up one of my(new) all-time favorites, the El Rey del Mundo Reserva Nicaragua Ronco, a scrumptious, full-bodied 6 x 60 ring beast, I have also learned the joys of smoking narrower-ringed cigars. A smaller smoke can deliver a taste explosion that is so often lost in the thickness and length of larger cigars. In addition, they deliver their peak flavors much quicker, without the longer wait that many of the larger vitolas require.
Are you still shrugging your head at the thought of sticking a Lancero, or Petit Corona in your kisser? Well, here is a homework assignment. Pick your favorite premium brand (or one that’s close) and try it in a 40-46 ring gauge, then let us know what you think. If you really feel adventurous, choose a brand that is not a favorite and do the same. I’ll bet some of you will be pleasantly surprised!