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Cigar Information Guide for Cigar Care & Storage

Cigar Basics Cutting - Lighting Storing Cigars

Our cigar information guide provides cigar information on topics such as cigar care and cigar storage so that you can keep your cigars fresh for the entire life of your cigars.

Learning how to cut and light a cigar will determine how well your cigar will smoke. Learn about cigar anatomy, cigar etiquette, types of cigars available, their history, and other informative cigar facts.

The Cigar Primer

Learn how to start your cigar journey right here! All of the basics are covered in this short course, courtesy of CigarCyclopedia.com.

Don't forget to download and print our handy cigar size chart for your own reference.

cigar size chart

About the ingredients

What goes into cigars? The answer to this question is the key to assessing the quality of a specific cigar. All but the thinnest cigars include three elements: (1) the filler tobacco at the center, (2) a binder leaf which holds the filler together and (3) the outer wrapper, which is rolled around the binder.

Cigars which are made by hand use "long filler" tobacco: leaves which run the length of a cigar. In a handmade, the filler, binder and wrapper are combined manually to create a cigar.

Machine-made cigars utilize high-speed machinery to combine "short filler" tobacco - usually scraps or pieces of tobacco - with a binder and wrapper. Because of the tension placed on the tobacco by the machines, the binders and wrappers are often made of a homogenized tobacco product which is stronger than natural leaves and can be produced in a variety of flavors, strengths and textures.

A few brands combine machine-bunching (using long-filler tobacco) with hand-rolled wrappers; this practice has been very properly dubbed "hand-rolled" as opposed to handmade by cigar expert Rick Hacker in The Ultimate Cigar Book. And some larger cigars use "mixed" or "combination" filler of long-filler and short-filler tobaccos.

The quality of the tobaccos and more importantly, how they are blended, determines the quality of the smoking experience. In the filler, "ligero" leaves which provide power are blended with "seco" leaves with a milder flavor and "volado" which helps to ensure an even burn. These are combined with a binder and wrapper to provide a balanced flavor.


The most obvious characteristic of most cigars is the color of the exterior wrapper. While not the only factor in the taste of a cigar, it is an important element and a key in many people's purchase of specific cigars. Although manufacturers have identified more than 100 different wrapper shades, they can be grouped into seven major color classifications, as noted below:

Double Claro:

Also known as "American Market Selection" [AMS] or "Candela," this is a green wrapper. Once popular, it is rarely found today.


This is a very light tan color, almost beige in shade; often grown in Connecticut or from Connecticut seeds in Ecuador.

Colorado Claro:

A medium brown found on many cigars, this category covers many descriptions. The most popular are "Natural" or "English Market Selection" [EMS]. Tobaccos in this shade are grown in many countries.


This shade is instantly recognizable by the obvious reddish tint.

Colorado Maduro:

Darker than Colorado Claro in shade, this color is often associated with African tobacco, such as wrappers from Cameroon, or with Havana Seed tobacco grown in Honduras or Nicaragua.


Very dark brown to almost black. Tobacco for Maduro wrappers is primarily grown in Connecticut, Mexico, Nicaragua and Brazil.


This is black . . . really black. This shade of wrapper reappeared with more frequency in 2001 after being almost off the market in the 1990s.


There are cigars of every shape and every size for every occasion. From tiny, cigarette-like cigarillos to giant monsters resembling pool cues, there is a wide variety to choose from.

Certain sizes and shapes which have gained popularity over the years and have become widely recognized, even by non-smokers. Cigar shape names such as "corona" or "panatela" have specific meanings to the cigar industry, although there is no formally agreed-to standard for any given size.

The following table lists 20 well-known shapes, and is adapted from Paul Garmirian's explanation of sizes in The Gourmet Guide to Cigars. The "classical" measurements for which this shape is known are given, along with a size and girth range for each size for classification purposes:

Shape Classical Length x Ring Length range Ring range
Giant 9 x 52 8 & up 50 & up
Double Corona 7 3/4 x 49 6 3/4 x 7 3/4 49-54
Churchill 7 x 47 6 1/2-7 46-48
Perfecto none all all
Pyramid 7 x 36->54 all flared
Torpedo 6 1/2 x 52 all tapered
Toro 6 x 50 5 5/8-6 5/8 48-54
Robusto 5 x 50 4 1/2-5 1/2 48-54
Grand Corona 6 1/2 x 46 5 5/8-6 5/8 <45-47
Corona Extra 5 1/2 x 46 4 1/2-5 1/2 45-47
Giant Corona 7 1/2 x 44 7 1/2 & up 42-45
Lonsdale 6 1/2 x 42 6 1/2-7 1/4 40-44
Long Corona 6 x 42 5 7/8-6 3/8 40-44
Corona 5 1/2 x 42 5 1/4-5 3/4 40-44
Petit Corona 5 x 42 4-5 40-44
Long Panatela 7 1/2 x 38 7 & up 35-39
Panatela 6 x 38 5 1/2-6 7/8 35-39
Short Panatela 5 x 38 4-5 3/8 35-39
Slim Panatela 6 x 34 5 & up 30-34
Small Panatela 5 x 33 4-5 30-34
Cigarillos 4 x 26 6 & less 29 & less

With the great increase in shaped cigars, here are our classification criteria for figurados:

Culebras, which is made up of three small cigars twisted together. This shape has returned to the U.S. market and a few manufacturers have this unique shape available.

Perfecto, which has two tapered ends. Until recently, there were just a few cigars which offered Perfecto "tips" on the foot, but true Perfectos have made their comeback. For the bold, take a look at the Puros Indios Gran Victoria (10 inches long by 60 ring) to see a true "pot-bellied" cigar.

Torpedo, which was traditionally a fat cigar with two fully closed, pointed ends, but has now come to mean a cigar with an open foot and a straight body which tapers to a closed, pointed head. This "new" torpedo was popularized by the Montecristo (Havana) No. 2, which debuted in 1935. The Torpedo differs from "Pyramid"-shaped cigars, which flare continuously from the head to the foot, essentially forming a triangle.

Like the Torpedo, whose meaning has changed over time, the Royal Corona or Rothschild title is seen less and less on cigars now known as "Robustos." This change has been rapid over the past 4-5 years, but some manufacturers still label their shorter, thicker cigars as Rothschilds or even as a "Rothchild" (an incorrect spelling of the famous German banking family name). A few manufacturers use both and label their 5-5 1/2-inch, 50-ring models as "Robustos" and reserve the "Rothschild" name for shorter, but still 50-ring, cigars of 4-4 3/4 inches!

Many other shape names are used by manufacturers; some cigars even have multiple names. For the sake of convenience, the many types of small, very thin cigars are grouped under the "Cigarillo" title rather than distributed over a long list of names such as "Belvederes," "Demi-Tasse" and others.

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