The Shapes & Sizes of Habanos
When deciding which cigar to smoke for a specific occasion, size and shape are important considerations. Perhaps you’re enjoying a Habano (Havana cigar) in a business meeting or inside your favorite cigar lounge during a lunch break. The experience is likely quite different than if you were to enjoy a Habano while relaxing with family and friends on a weekend afternoon or as a celebratory nightcap on your front porch while remaining immersed deep in your thoughts. Different locations, motivations and time availabilities affect what cigar we choose. Each of these different instances are special and provide an opportunity to enjoy unique moments with the right smoke.
Luckily, the diversity of shapes and sizes in which Habanos are rolled allow for each event to be specifically catered to with a stogie that will take just the right amount of time to smoke and meet all your preferences.
Keep in mind that in the United States, the length of a cigar is measured in inches while Cuba measures in millimeters. However, the diameter, also known as girth or ring gauge, in both countries is measured by 64ths of an inch. For example, a cigar with a ring gauge of 47 measures 47/64ths of an inch.
Habanos parejos are the standard format for a cigar, cylindrical with an open foot and a closed, slightly rounded head. Within this classification, however, there are a number of sizes and widths, all of which smoke differently and have varying lengths of time required to fully enjoy them.
An example of a small cigar is the Laguito No. 3, which is about 4.5 inches in length by a 26 ring gauge. This is a fast smoke for on-the-go. A Perla is 4 inches by a 40 ring gauge and can be enjoyed in just about 20 minutes. A Robusto is a common standard size that will last up to 40 minutes, enough time to truly take in the flavors of a Habano without taking up too much time. It is 4.875 inches by 50 ring gauge. A Mareva, also a Petit Corona is 5.125 inches by 42 ring gauge and is a classic size for a Habano. Allow 30 minutes to enjoy the three filler leaves that are used to roll it. Its big brother, the Corona, is slightly bigger at 5.625 inches and the same 42 ring gauge. A thinner but longer cigar is the Laguito No. 1, Lancero, which is a full 7.5 inches long and a 38 ring gauge. This stylish stogie is decorated with a small tail on the cap from twisted leaves, and would pair excellently with a tuxedo. Similarly long cigars include the Julieta No. 2 (seven inches) and the Prominente (7.625 inches). The Julieta No. 2 is also known as the Churchill, which earned its name from the unwavering loyalty to the brand by Winston Churchill.
In the early 2000s, the Habanos parejos with the largest girth never surpassed a ring gauge of 52. The Cañonazo, Petit Edmundo and Edmundo all measure in at a 52 and 5.875 inches, 4.375 inches and 5.333 inches respectively. However, higher ring gauges have grown increasingly popular. Within the last five years, there has been an explosion of heavy ring gauges, including Duke (54x140mm) in Partagas Serie E No.2, Laguito No.5 (54x144mm) in Cohiba Behike BHK54, Geniales (54x150mm) in Montecristo Open Eagle, Wide Churchills (55x130mm) in Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills and Laguito No.6 (56 x 166mm) in Cohiba Behike BHK 56.
Habanos figurados are more artistically shaped than the parejos cigars, coming in diademas, salomones, campanas, piramides, culebras or rope shapes. They are typically considered more exotic cigars and have different effects on the palate.
A few notable figurados include the Pirámides, also known as the Torpedo, which is 6.125 inches with a 52 ring gauge. Its head is fashioned into a tapered point. It lasts for about one hour and delivers a unique flavor profile and unparalleled combustibility. An Exquisito, or Double Figurado, is tapered on either end. This traditional shape was once a classic for Habanos, but today is found in the specialty brand Cuaba. It measures in at 5.75 inches with a 46 ring gauge. The largest size this shape is the Salomon, which runs 184 millimeters long with a 57 ring gauge. This is the heaviest ring gauge in a Habano profile. The Diademas, while having a slightly smaller 55 ring gauge, is the largest Habano at 233mm in length.
Sampling a diversity of shapes and sizes will not only widen your knowledge of cigars, but will expand your palate and help you to define your specific preferences. Cigars that vary in width will smoke differently as different leaves reach the ash. Make sure to notice the change in flavor and combustibility from the first to the last puff to truly make the most of a Habano.