Monday, May 17, 2010

Cigars - A Love Story

The question is, what exactly is a good cigar? Every single person out there who smokes cigars has their own personal favorite. It might be because of the price, it might be because of the way the cigar fits into their hand. Some cigar smokers choose their favorite because they like the taste of the cigar, or the area where the tobacco was grown. And the growing area does have a huge part in the final product as different areas produce tobacco with different flavors.

I currently am in love with maduro cigars, with a ring guage of 48 to 50, and a length of around 6 inches. A cigar of this size is known as a Toro. I talk about the various sizes later in this article. The toro fits my hand the most comfortably and the length gives me a good hour of smoking pleasure. A maduro wrapped cigar has a sweet, smoky flavor to it. It is the kind of cigar that I enjoy in the evening with a tumber of good Kentucky bourbon.

Cigar tobacco can grow pretty much anywhere, but most tobacco that is made into cigars predominantly comes from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras. Of course tobacco is also grown in Cuba, but with Cuban cigars being illegal in the US I have no reason to include them in this article. Africa, the US, Mexico also grow tobacco that is made into premium cigars, but The Dominican Republic produces most of the cigars smoked in the US.

Cigars can either be hand rolled, or machine made. As a general statement, machine rolled cigars are just that, and might not contain 100% tobacco. On the other hand, a hand rolled cigar is not always 100% hand rolled, but could have had the outer wrapper hand rolled over a machine produced interior. Hand rolled cigars will always be more expensive than machine made. That is just the way it is, though hand rolled cigars don't have to break your bank either. There are more than just a few moderately priced hand rolled cigars out there to choose from.

And I am not just talking about length here, I am also talking about girth, known as ring gauge. The ring gauge of a cigar is measured in 64ths of an inch. So a cigar with a ring gauge of 32 is 1/2 an inch in girth, and a cigar with a ring gauge of 64 is one inch in girth. That is a lot of cigar to smoke. The lengths of a cigar have specific names to them, and they are:

Corona with a ring gauge of 42 to 45 and a length of 5 1/2 to 6 inches

Panetela with ring gauge of 34 to 38 and a length of 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches.

Lonsdale with a ring gauge of 42 to 44 and a length of 6 to 6 1/2 inches.

Churchill with a ring gauge of 46 to 48 and a length of 6 1/2 to 7 inches.

Robusto with a size of 48 to 50 and a length of 4 1/2 to 5 inches.

Toro with a size of 48 to 50 and a length of 6 to 6 1/2 inches.

Presidente with a size of 52 to 60 and a length of 7 to 8 1/2 inches.

Torpedo with a size of 46 to 52 and a length of 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches.

Depending on the type of wrapper and filler tobacco that you might have in any particular cigar, that is a lot of cigar pleasure right there.

That all being said, the way to choose a good cigar is to go buy one. Smoke it, and if you like it keep buying it. Or if you don't like it, try to figure out what you don't like about it and choose another kind. There are so many to choose from you can spend years finding that elusive cigar that will ultimately be your favorite.