Cigars come in dozens of shapes and sizes, and whichever one suits you depends on what your objective is when smoking. The most obvious reason cigars are rolled into different sizes in terms of length and ring gauge boils down to the amount of time a cigar will burn. Longer, fatter cigars will burn for a longer period of time than thinner or shorter sizes. Additionally, how fast the heat reaches your palate depends on a cigar’s ring gauge as thicker cigars burn slower and cooler than thinner cigars. Physics is the determining factor here, as well as the ratios between the binder, filler, and wrapper tobaccos in a premium cigar.
But, does the size of a cigar affect its taste? Yes – and no. A cigar’s format will influence its intensity more than its flavor profile, but it’s hard to separate them.
Key Differences in a Cigar’s Length
Quite predictable, the length of a cigar dictates how much time it will take you smoke it. This is important to consider if you are a beginner and may not want to be smoking for too long or are unsure of your own preferences and taste.
Additionally, varying cigar lengths can determine a cigar’s intensity. When you light a longer cigar, like the Mirifico Sapphire (6 ¾” x 58), the heat from the foot of the cigar is much further away from your palate than it is with the Flamingo Amarillo (4 ¼” x 52). When the lit end of the cigar is closer to your palate, its flavor profile gets hotter faster. Therefore, shorter cigars are actually more intense right off the bat because the heat is closer to your palate. The smoke in a longer cigar travels a greater distance when you’re drawing on it. As a result, the smoke cools as it travels the length of the cigar.
Keep in mind that if you agree a “hot” smoker and puff too much, a cigar will smoke hotter at any length and it may even taste bitter, too. If you draw slowly on the cigar and allow it to rest about a minute between puffs, the cigar will smoke cool and taste much better, particularly with a well-made cigar. So, slow down and cool it!
The Big Ring Gauge Trend
It’s hard to believe that the long and slender Lancero format (7.5″ x 38) experienced a serious renaissance just over a decade ago. The popularity of Lanceros has subsided, while demand for bigger and bigger ring gauges continues to grow. This is because cigars with a larger ring gauge (Deemed as anything with a 60 ring gauge or higher) not only burn cooler than a cigar with a smaller ring gauge, but they also have an impact on the taste, quality and structure of the cigar.
Within the cigar smoking community, it is often an unspoken truth that larger cigars, both in terms of length and ring sizes, are superior by offering a more complex and extended smoke due to a greater blend of various aged tobacco leaves. This is evident with one of El Septimo’s top-sellers: the Fabuloso Dark Ruby (6 ¼” x 70). The larger ring gauge allows a wider variation of blends to be at play, as well as an increased volume of smoke, ensuring you get the full experience from your cigar.
Ultimately, the choice is yours when determining your length and ring gauge preferences when smoking your favorite cigar, and the best way to unravel the truth is to experience both for yourself. But, keep in mind that there can be a different cigar that can be suitable for every situation. This is why El Septimo offers over 40 different blends with varying lengths from just 2 inches long to about 7 inches long, as well as a large range of ring gauge sizes from 50 to 70. So, if you’re looking for a quick smoke in the morning with your daily espresso, a short, punchy cigar like the X-Trem Shot (2″ x 56) can be a great choice, but if you are playing a long game of golf on your Saturday afternoon and looking for the most flavorful option, the Fabuloso Dark Ruby (6 1/4″ x 70), a 3-hour smoke, is our choice of cigar.