In the marvelous world of cigars, there are an endless array of sizes and formats to satisfy all tastes. Do you already know which one is your favorite?
The first thing to keep in mind are two basic concepts:
- Ring gauge: This is the thickness of the cigar – its diameter. It is a measurement that is generally expressed in 64 parts of an inch (1/64 of an inch). One inch is the equivalent of 2.54 centimeters. Cigars diameters usually range between 26 (thinner cigars) and 58 (thicker cigars).
- Length: This is simply what the cigar measures from head to end. This figure is also given in inches.
When choosing which cigar to smoke, in addition to preferences, smokers often take into account the time that they have to smoke it. Thus, the choice of the ring gauge will depend on the habits or tastes of the smoker, while the length of the cigar will be chosen depending on the time that is going to be devoted to smoking.
In terms of shape, cigars are generally straight, with the same thickness from start to finish. In the cigar world, these are known as ‘parejos’ meaning smooth. When they take on more creative shapes, being narrower in some parts than others, then they are known as ‘figurados’ meaning figurative.
The ‘vitolas de galera‘ and ‘vitolas de salida‘
The ‘vitola‘ is a name given to the specific shape and size of a certain cigar, also known as its format.
Cigar factories use the expression ‘vitola de galera’ to name the cigars when they are being manufactured. Once they’re put on the market, they are called, ‘vitola de salida’. This is the name for the cigars which are put in the boxes and sold – their commercial name. Although it is not so common, there are occasions in which the ‘vitola de salida’ and the ‘vitola de galera’ are the same.
Having said this, the formats and sizes of cigars vary depending on their manufacturing country and brand. Not all countries, nor all tobacco companies, manufacture the ‘vitolas’ with the same measurements. Because of this, the catalog of ‘vitola de galera’ formats is endless.
Main cigar formats
In general terms, the main formats (or gelera de vitolas) fluctuate between the following average measurments shown in this graph:
Cepo = Ring gauge
Formato = Length
Tiempo de fumada = Smoking time
How the shape of the cigar affects the smoking time
Although the flavors of a cigar depend on the tobaccos and the processes used by the tobacco companies, different formats can provide different aromas. Thicker cigars have more flavor. On the other hand, the double figured ones offer a peculiar flavor at the beginning, in which the aromas from the wrapper and the binder dominate, to later give way to the flavor of the filler when it reaches the widest part.
Thinner cigars smoke faster and their flavors tend to be more concentrated on the tongue. The small ring gauges allow to better acquire the strength of the cigar and obtain more of the notes. So the key to cigars, in addition to the blend, is also in the vitolas.
Preservation of cigars
As you may well know, at Humidores Wacota we are manufacturers of cigar humidors or cigar cellars. We are a specialist and we have been manufacturing humidors for more than 50 years, over the years we have learned how to pamper and take care of cigars.