Understand the relevance of length and ring gauge to get the best possible cigar experience.

Shapes and Sizes

When it comes to choosing a cigar, the size is very important with regards to two factors - the taste profile and the burn time.

The size and thickness of a cigar has a dramatic effect on its smoking characteristics, even within the same brand. In general terms a large, thick cigar will give a mellower, smoother smoke than a thinner version. However, a smaller, thinner cigar often packs a more intense flavour.

If you're smoking a cigar on a long walk, you could go up to seven inches in length, giving you a couple of hours to enjoy it. Should you desire a quick post-lunch smoke, something closer to five inches with a smaller diameter would be better suited.

There are around 50 popular sizes with around 20 classics. The traditional cigar size is the Corona - 5½ inches long and 42 ring gauge, other cigars were measured against this in terms of being a 'large' or 'small' cigar. However, today many perceive the Corona to be a small size.

The outer layer of a cigar, the wrapper leaf, is about the only visible part of a cigar and is often a major factor in the buying decision, despite it not playing as big a role as one might think.

While the wrapper leaf will not always determine the overall strength of a cigar, the lighter Claro colours tend not to have the more intense flavours of the darker Maduro leaves. The darker leaves also often provide a sweeter flavour than their lighter counterparts.