The Shapes

dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263

OK.. I said in the newbie thread I've got lots of questions.  I find myself surprised nobody has asked this one.  I also find it easier to sit on the couch and type this than to ask the guy at the tobacco shop.  So here we go.

 

What's the deal with all these shapes?  I've never smoked anything but a (gah, what's the generic term?  Parejo?)  Toro, Robusto, Churchill, Corona... etc.  The wild shapes seem more like something I'd see in the mouth of a cartoon mobster bearing the stereotypical 5-o'clock shadow and playing poker.  Is there an advantage to these shapes?

 

So far, all I can come up with is that on something that narrows slowly at the foot, it's easy to get a cut of precisely the right girth for the draw you want.  Now, I'm no physicist or anything, but I imagine that having an opening significantly narrower than the girth of the cigar itself will reduce the surface area of your filter, and cause the tar to gum up the works at the exit point.  Yuck.

 

I can at least see the desire for a larger girth as you near the head of the cigar, to defray the heat a bit as you draw closer to the end of your session.  But silly stuff like that pyramid shape doesn't make a wit of sense to me.  And I've also heard mention that the shapes will impart a very different flavor.  Now how is a robusto going to be different in flavor from a Toro, at least from the point that you've smoked the first inch or so off the Toro?  Frankly, I've always chosen my size by the amount of time I figured I wanted the thing to last.

 

Too much thinking, not enough smoking.  Forgive me, I'm learning.

 

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Comments

  • No harm in asking newbie questions. Cigars are about relaxation, not competition, and no one's going to judge you for not knowing everything right off the bat.
    dutyje:
    What's the deal with all these shapes?  I've never smoked anything but a (gah, what's the generic term?  Parejo?)  Toro, Robusto, Churchill, Corona... etc.  The wild shapes seem more like something I'd see in the mouth of a cartoon mobster bearing the stereotypical 5-o'clock shadow and playing poker.  Is there an advantage to these shapes?
    Advantage? Not really a scientific one, but some people claim to prefer different shapes for different reasons. Mostly it's a matter of preference.
    dutyje:
    So far, all I can come up with is that on something that narrows slowly at the foot, it's easy to get a cut of precisely the right girth for the draw you want. Now, I'm no physicist or anything, but I imagine that having an opening significantly narrower than the girth of the cigar itself will reduce the surface area of your filter, and cause the tar to gum up the works at the exit point. Yuck.
    You've got the head and the foot mixed up. The head is what you cut, the foot is what you light. Also, yes, a smaller opening will both allow you to more precisely direct the smoke in your mouth and also reduce the amount of smoke drawn compared to a larger cut. Also because there is more space between the lit end of the cigar and your mouth for the smoke to cool off in. Regarding filters, cigars don't have them. It's one reason why you don't inhale the smoke, instead only drawing it into your mouth... it would be way too harsh to inhale.
    dutyje:
    I can at least see the desire for a larger girth as you near the head of the cigar, to defray the heat a bit as you draw closer to the end of your session. But silly stuff like that pyramid shape doesn't make a wit of sense to me. And I've also heard mention that the shapes will impart a very different flavor. Now how is a robusto going to be different in flavor from a Toro, at least from the point that you've smoked the first inch or so off the Toro?
    Larger ring gauge cigars will indeed smoke cooler than narrower cigars (ring gauge being the measurement of the girth of a cigar, 1 unit of ring gauge is equal to 1/64th of an inch). This is because there is more surface area exposed to the cool air around the cigar.

    As far as the pyramid, it's a combination torpedo (pointed head) and box press, the box press usually resulting in packing the tobacco more tightly than a similar round cigar. Different ring cigars will impart a different flavor because of the different proportions of the components (filler, binder and wrapper leaves), of which the filler and wrapper are the two main contributors to the flavor of the cigar. I'm not sure if the box-press shape affects the flavor, but it could be used to achieve better draw on a blend that may otherwise draw too loosely.

    Different shapes, a perfecto (tapered on both ends) for example, would cause the filler/wrapper ratio to change throughout the cigar, thus adding complexity because the proportions of flavors are always changing. The wrapper flavor prominent during the first half inch may hardly be noticeable by the second, and another will have popped up due to the increased filler burning at that stage of the cigar.
    dutyje:
    Frankly, I've always chosen my size by the amount of time I figured I wanted the thing to last.
    This is a perfectly good means of choosing a cigar, and once you figure out your tastes, knowing both the approximate smoking time a cigar will give you as well as learning to approximate what flavors a cigar will have based on the wrapper/filler/size/shape/etc... will be of great service to you.

    Anyway, hope I answered your questions. Don't hestitate to post more questions when you have them, and best of luck!
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    What a great answer. Thanks, gdf.
  • dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263

    Thanks for the thorough response!  I hadn't thought about the wrapper/filler ratio affecting the flavor, but that makes perfect sense.  I didn't mean to imply that a cigar has a mechanism specifically intended to filter... I just figure that the tobacco between the burn and your lips would naturally absorb some of the smoke.  Also, great point about the extra distance provided by a tapered head (I think I got that right this time) and how that will cool the smoke.  I may select a couple of my favorite brands and experiment with the way the different shapes impact the flavor.  Thanks again for all the great info!

     

    Joe

     

  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    gott.des.feuer, well said.

    i agree with everything stated above and will add on to that. I choose my cigars not by how much time i have but by how they taste. if i want a cigar and i donthave time i restrain myself and dont have a cigar. ill wait till i have time to smoke whatever it is that i have. it is about relaxation. i never rush a cigar.
    there are advantages and disadvantages to every shape of cigar. you just have to find what is right for you.
  • jlzimmermanjlzimmerman Posts: 282
    There's great cigar information, including shapes, listed in Wikipedia. CLICK ME
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Gott, Great explanation!!! I'll only add a couple of thing. First, the proper term for the shape of a cigar is vitola. Second, all those different shapes(perfectos, torpedos, etc) are generically called figurados. So if you see a cigar that has a different shape and are not sure what exactly to call it just refer to it as a figurado.

    Everything gott said about larger ring gauges is dead on. Just keep this in mind the wrapper is 40- 60% of the flavor depending on two things.
    The first is the strength of the wrapper a conneticut shade wrapper is a very mild wrapper so it wil be on the lower end of the scale, while a corojo is stronger and would be closer to the 60.
    Second is the ring gauge also affects the percentage of taste that the wrapper is. If you have a very large ring gauge cigar there is a lower wrapper to filler ratio therefore decreasing the % of taste the wrapper is.
    So a large ring gauged(presidente) Conneticut cigar you will be tasting likely 40% wrapper 60% filler. While a small ring gauged(lancero) corojo wrapper you are likely tasting 60% wrapper 40% filler.
    So if you combine this in say a perfecto shape that starts small ring gauged, then gets large ring gauged in the middle and returns to small ring gauged at the head, you will get a complex cigar in which you could notice very different flavors between each third of the cigar. An added bonus to perfectos is how easy they are to light. The Fuente Hemingway is named after Hemingway because this was a cigar he asked Fuente to make so he could easily light it while on his boat.
  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    Everyday I am amazed at how dedicated you guys are to this topic/love/hobby/ pleasure we all share..It makes me want to try more and different cigars to see what I may be missing or have yet to discover..Thanks to all the contributers of this forum...
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    kaspera79:
    Everyday I am amazed at how dedicated you guys are to this topic/love/hobby/ pleasure we all share..It makes me want to try more and different cigars to see what I may be missing or have yet to discover..Thanks to all the contributers of this forum...
    I second that!
  • dutyje:
    What's the deal with all these shapes?  I've never smoked anything but a (gah, what's the generic term?  Parejo?)  Toro, Robusto, Churchill, Corona... etc.  The wild shapes seem more like something I'd see in the mouth of a cartoon mobster bearing the stereotypical 5-o'clock shadow and playing poker.
    Oh yeah, and if you think some of those shapes are weird, google "drew estate egg" and/or "parejo galaxia".
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Or the pimp stick or medusa lol.
  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    I saw the Egg once and wondered who would ever try to smoke that thing. That must be the worst selling cigar in the Drew Estates line. Not for quality or taste, but for oddity. ( the first time I ever used that word except to describe the circus' lizard boy or bearded lady. )
  • j0z3rj0z3r Posts: 9,403
    gott.des.feuer:
    dutyje:
    What's the deal with all these shapes?  I've never smoked anything but a (gah, what's the generic term?  Parejo?)  Toro, Robusto, Churchill, Corona... etc.  The wild shapes seem more like something I'd see in the mouth of a cartoon mobster bearing the stereotypical 5-o'clock shadow and playing poker.
    Oh yeah, and if you think some of those shapes are weird, google "drew estate egg" and/or "parejo galaxia".
    The Galaxia is the most ridiculous looking cigar I've ever seen. I actually had to buy one just to have it, and when I held it in my hand I could not conceive how one would go about smoking it, let alone finishing it. This cigar would easily take 5-6 hours, if not more, with its 10x100 measurement. That and the Puros Indios Chief at 18x66.... you would have to be at least a little bit masochistic to undertake something of such size.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    j0z3r:
    This cigar would easily take 5-6 hours, if not more, with its 10x100 measurement. ... you would have to be at least a little bit masochistic to undertake something of such size.
    Ill get right on it. ill call you in a week when i finish.
  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    I got a stomach ache just looking at that thing..thats to much for even the most experienced smokers
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    i suspect that i would get tired of smoking it before it was anywhere near done.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Did you guys see those CAO Sopranos collections, the bat and the 40 and all that crap. I watched a guy smoke the bat ... ridiculous lol.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    madurofan:
    Did you guys see those CAO Sopranos collections, the bat and the 40 and all that crap. I watched a guy smoke the bat ... ridiculous lol.
    i wish i had a bat... i just have the robusto in that line.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    LOL really?
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    really really.... er am i thinking of another brand... i know that fuente made a sosa bat... im not sure CAO made a bat for that line.... i think they had the associate, the boss, soldier, and... i cant remember the other one. i have the associate.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    No no they really made them but it was ridiculous like 80+ ring gauge at the barrel.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    it must have been a special custom roll just for one or a few events. i dont think ive seen one in real life but now that i think of it i kinda remember it.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    I just emailed you a picture of the box set.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    thats the exact picture i was kind remembering. thanks
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Sure thing, I was wrong though its the torpedo and the the champagne bottles that are ridiculous.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    yeah... i dont know if i want a cigar that big. Ive smoked up to a 62 ring... but that looks a bit to big. ... a bit to Freudian for me.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    kuzi16:
    yeah... i dont know if i want a cigar that big. Ive smoked up to a 62 ring... but that looks a bit to big. ... a bit to Freudian for me.
    Very Freudian(good term) ... I smoke the 66 ring Nub but its 4 inches long, not so Freudian.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    i had to think of a good way to say that.
  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    Being from Chicago and the Sammy Sosa era, I thought " A Sosa bat, what is it filled with Cork ?" but I know that is another Fuentes line of fine smokes.
  • If its "too Freudian" shouldn't it be bigger? HHMMMMMM.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    LOL trip we were talking about the ridiculously large cigars The sopranoes collection has one thats 86 ring
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