The width or thickness of a cigar is determined by a ring gauge and there’s a huge variety of different diameters available. The most popular cigar width changes from thin cigars to the thicker classic ‘Churchill’ style cigars. But how do you determine the diameter? That’s where cigar ring gauges come in.
What is a cigar gauge?
The size of a cigar is determined by its length and diameter. A cigar gauge measures the diameter of a cigar, which is measured in 1/64 inch. This means that a cigar with a ring gauge of 32 is measured as 32/64 which works out as half an inch.
A cigar gauge can indicate a great deal about a cigar and what different types of tastes it’ll suit.
Why is the ring gauge important?
The ring gauge of a cigar is important because it can tell us a lot about the cigar, which is helpful when deciding which size is right for you. For example, thinner cigars burn hotter and faster whilst thicker cigars are cooler and slightly less concentrated.
Another big impact a cigar ring gauge has is on the tobacco ratio. This ratio is between the wrapper leaf, binder and filler tobacco. The thicker the cigar, the more wrapper leaf is spread over more tobacco. This means that tobacco influences the cigar more than the wrapper leaf. The opposite is true in thinner cigars.
How have ring gauges changed through the years?
Thirty or so years ago, a long and thin cigar would be considered the most popular kind. In fact, a 26 ring gauge was ideal and cigars rarely exceeded a 40 gauge. However, much has changed since then and now many people consider the bigger the better as the way to go with cigars.
As with all trends, the popularity of a certain cigar size is certainly subject to change. Since the ‘90s, bigger cigars have started to come into fashion, often symbolising wealth and success.
What are the most popular cigar ring gauges?
Today, it’s on-trend to have larger cigars with ring gauges of 54, 58 and 60. This is due to the extra room for more tobacco leaves, meaning there’s often a blend of five or six different leaves in thicker cigars. The demand for fat cigars is so great that few cigar makers will release new blends without providing at least a 60 ring gauge option.
How does ring gauge impact the smoke, smoke time and flavour of the cigar?
The ring gauge of a cigar has a huge impact on several factors, changing the experience and making thinner or thicker cigars more suitable for different types of smokers. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences:
The smoke experience
Cigars with thinner ring gauges tend to smoke hotter as they are tightly rolled which allows less air to pass through the cigar. Thicker cigars allow more air to pass through which means they usually smoke cooler. Often, cooler smoke is preferred as less unpleasant flavours can develop.
The smoke time
Unsurprisingly, cigars with a thicker ring gauge tend to last longer as they are filled with more tobacco, taking longer to burn through. Cigars should never be rushed, so if you often find yourself throwing a cigar away before it’s finished, perhaps consider a thinner ring gauge.
The cigar flavour
Those who are experienced with cigars sometimes prefer the thinner gauge cigars as they have less filler tobacco. The best quality tobacco leaves that are packed full of flavour are used for the wrapper, which means thinner cigars will concentrate this flavour. As a result, thicker cigars might be best for beginners as the flavour won’t be quite so strong.
A cigar’s ring gauge affects many things about the smoking experience and flavour. It’s important to discover what you enjoy most to find out which cigar ring gauge size works best for you.