igar size names originally specified the exact physical size and shape of cigars, but after a dozen decades of manufacturer individualizing, these original standards are long gone. Only Cuban manufacturers have stayed with these original standard shapes and sizes.
Cigars can be divided by shape into two broad categories: Parejos, which have straight sides, and Figurados, which include all "irregular" shapes.
Parejos include three basic divisions by the relative proportion of their dimensions: Coronas, Panatelas and Lonsdales.
This is a broad category including Coronas, Double Coronas, Presidentes, Robustos, and Churchills. All Coronas are characterized by an open "foot" and a rounded "head".
Longer than Coronas, Panatelas are usually considerably thinner.
The third division is Lonsdales - thicker than Panatelas, but generally longer than Coronas.
Figuardos, or "irregular" shaped cigars are better defined. Figuardos are very hard to make - a master roller's job.
The smallest of the Figuardos, the Belicoso is a small tapered cigar with a rounded head and a larger foot.
Pyramids taper from a large foot to a small, pointed head. Although many smokers call a large pyramid a torpedo, a true torpedo has a slight bulge in the middle. Next to the Torpedo, the Pyramid is probably one of the most recogonized of the Figuardos.
A cigar that tapers at both ends and is closed at the head and foot. Once very popular in the early half of the 20th century, this cigar has fallen hard out of favor. As a result it has lost popularity with smokers and is hard to find, although many major brands still produce it.
The Diademas is the giant of cigars, measuring eight inches or greater in length.
Culebras cigars are an odd size not often found on the market today. It involves three smaller cigars being "snaked" together into a braided final product. In fact, the word culebra means "snake" in Spanish.
Culebras first appeared when trouble arose around workers being able to take complementary cigars home at the end of the work day. It was soon discovered that they were taking premium cigars and putting their lesser-quality gift cigars into the the premium cigar boxes. To stop this, the practice of twisting the workers' cigars together when they were still moist to identify what was a daily gift and what was the real thing was begun.
This unique cigar eventually found public demand, but such demand has dwindled recently. Hoyo De Monterrey dropped its production of Culebras in 1998, leaving Davidoff as the only manufacturer outside Cuba that still produces the shape.
Cigar Wrapper Shades
Candela - A green color that was first popularized in the U.S. in the 1800's and early 1900's.
Claro - Pale to light brown, this is the classic color of a Connecticut shade grown tobacco wrapper. This color can also be referred to as natural.
Colorado Claro - Darker brown in color and similar to a Cameroon wrapper from West Africa.
Colorado - A reddish brown wrapper most often seen in well-aged and mature cigars.
Colorado Maduro - A dark brown wrapper, usually seen on cigars produced in Honduras, Nicaragua and sometimes in Cuba.
Double Claro - A greenish-brown wrapper that produces a somewhat light and bland taste.
Maduro - A dark, almost coffee-like color associated with full flavored and slightly sweet-tasting cigars.
Oscuro - Very dark, strong-flavored wrapper produced in Mexico, Brazil and Nicaragua.