Finding the Right Cigar Size

When trying cigars for the first time, it is exceptionally easy to be turned off of them. Bad cigars and improper smoking technique are two of the main culprits. Picking the right cigar for you is certainly one of the most important steps towards enjoying a hobby that makes you look really cool and can ultimately give you oral cancer. Of course, the best cigar in the world will taste less than fantastic if you smoke it improperly – the key to both of these steps begins with picking a good cigar size.


Cigar size is oft overlooked by cigar-neophytes. Typically measured in terms of length and ring gauge, the number of cigar sizes can be a little overwhelming (“My God! Do I want a Churchill or a Double Corona?!”) The best idea is to figure out the general characteristics of your preferred cigar and go from there.


The inexperienced often make the mistake of thinking that they’ll prefer a skinnier cigar. Paradoxically, I find thinner cigars are generally harder to enjoy. Thicker cigars have more surface area, and thus burn cooler. That makes for fewer off flavors and less irritation from the hot smoke. The length of the cigar is also important, as it determines how long you will be smoking it. For n00bs, I find that shorter is better, as prolonged smoking can overwhelm someone who is not used it. This combination of thick gauge and stout length leads me to recommend the “robusto” size, which are generally around 5.5 inches in length and a gauge 50. After smoking a few robustos, move on to a longer cigar, and, if so moved, skinnier ones. A great cantadate for a first robusto is the Punch Grand Cru Robusto. They cost about $3.50 a piece, but taste better than many $10 cigars.


One last thing to remember: smoke slowly. Even the stout robusto will taste harsh and hot if you smoke it too fast. You cant smoke a cigar like a cigarette and expect it to retain its flavor. Happy smoking!