Cigar Characteristics | Ring Gauge, Size & Body
Lesson 2: Cigar Characteristics
Cigars are described by length and ring size. Length is measured in inches. The most popular lengths are between 5 & 6 inches.
The size of a cigar, in name, is a nearly meaningless designation. The reason for this is that the size of a cigar, when determined by a name such as corona or robusto, is not a universal standard. In other words, one company’s corona is another company’s Churchill even though both measure the exact same length and ring gauge. Once you understand this, most of the confusion regarding cigar size disappears.
There are, however, “classic” measurements for cigars that most cigar makers attempt to follow. But remember, just because a cigar is 7 inches in length with a 48 ring gauge doesn’t necessarily mean that the manufacturer will designate that cigar as a Churchill. All you really have to know is that cigars are categorized by length and ring gauge, which is a fraction of an inch measured in 64ths. A cigar with a 52 ring gauge, for example, measures 52/64 of an inch in diameter. The most popular ring gauges are 42 to 44.
The body refers to the relative strength of the cigar. Cigars are generally divided into three groups:
The strength of most cigars sold today can be judged by the country where they
were manufactured. The following list shows cigar manufacturing countries
and the general strength of the cigars produced there:
|Strength||Country of Origin|
|Light Bodied or Mild||Jamaica|
100% Handmade Cigars
100% handmade cigars are produced without the use of any machines.
Example: JR Ultimate Cigars
On handmade cigars, the wrapper is applied by hand to a bunch (combined, blended filler leaves) with a manual or motor driven machine. Often these cigars are referred to as “machine bunched; hand made”.
Machine Made Cigars – Short Filler
These cigars are made entirely by a machine. The ingredients are all tobacco but it is short filler, or scrap filler, tobacco.
Example: Topper cigars
Machine Made Cigars – Short Filler, Natural Tobacco Wrapper
These cigars are made entirely by machine using short filler or scrap filler tobacco. The wrapper is natural, but the binder is created from homogenized tobacco.
Machine Made Cigars – Short Filler, and Homogenized
These cigars are made entirely by machine using short filler or scrap filler tobacco, but both the wrapper and binder are created from homogenized tobacco.
Homogenized tobacco is pulverized and mixed with fibers, pure cellulose, and water to create a pulp. The pulp is used to produce a uniform sheet of tobacco (like recycled paper). The sheet is then used for the high-speed production of machine made cigars.