Names, shapes and sizes of cigars: all the answers to your questions

For Terry Pomerantz, “smoking cigars is an art”. It is an art of conversation and reflection, of sharing and relating to others. But first let us master the vocabulary of the cigar world.

Words that open a world

Cigars are more or less thick, more or less long and their shapes vary. It is sometimes difficult, even for an insider, to choose a cigar. In the course of his many adventures in the wonderful world of cigars, Terry Pomerantz has gathered tons of information that he regularly shares with his readers. Here’s what you need to know to distinguish the brand of a cigar, its technical and market names, its length and its ring gauge.

Cigar Vitolas

On the one hand, “vitola de galera” is an expression of Cuban origin, which is the size name the factories use—the factory name. On the other hand, “vitola de salida” is the market name that is written on the cigar box. The factory name or the market name tells the connoisseur the shape, length and ring gauge (diameter) of the cigar. Finally, there is the brand name.

Let’s take the Montecristo No. 4 cigar as an example:

Brand: Montecristo No. 4
Vitola de galera: Petit Corona
Vitola de salida: Mareva

Words and Flavours

The shape and dimensions of a cigar influence its aromatic spectrum as much as the quality of its manufacture and tobacco. Thus, the longer a cigar is, the richer its aromas are because they are transported by the smoke which is not very hot. However, a large cigar burns more slowly, and its aromas are more intense.

Cigars and Sizes

The size of the cigar corresponds to the diameter of its ring and its length.

For example, the size of the Robusto cigar is 5.0”x50:

5,0” corresponds to the length of the cigar in inches,
50 indicates its diameter (ring gauge).

Cigars with small diameters burn quickly. Their smoke deposits the aromas directly on the tongue to give them a spicier taste than that of a larger ring gauge cigar.

The smoking time of a cigar

The length of a cigar determines how long you will take to smoke it, its diameter influencing its volume in the mouth. The longer the cigar, the longer the smoking time. For example, during a break after lunch, it is better to smoke a shorter cigar. After dinner, you may prefer to quietly enjoy a longer cigar while tasting your favorite Armagnac.

Cigars Shapes

The shape of the cigar rather concerns the gauge of the ring. This is the diameter of the cigar broken into 64ths of an inch (about 0.39 mm). Except in the United States and the United Kingdom, the size of a cigar is calculated in centimeters or millimeters. For some cigars, their technical and market names also indicate the shape of the cigar. For example, Pyramid (technical name) or Torpedo (market name) refers to a tapered cigar with pointed ends. Finally, the technical name of some cigars is the same as their market name. This cigar name also indicates the ring gauge (diameter) of the cigar. The ring gauge of a Corona is 42 and that of a Pyramid is 50.

Terry’s Preferences

Terry’s preference is for short 52 to 54 ring gauge cigars such as the 140 mm long Cohiba Behike 54. These cigars are not too long to smoke, their aromas are not too heavy, and they hold well in the mouth.

Table of the 10 most popular Cigar Vitolas

Terry presents us with a table of the most popular cigar sizes.

Belicoso   139   50 Bolivar Belicosos Finos
Churchill Julieta No 2 178 18,65 47 Romeo y Julieta No 2
Corona   142 16,67 42 Montecristo No 3
Double Corona   155 to 177 16,67 40 Hoyo de Monterrey
Languito No 3 Panetala 115 10,32 26 Cohiba
Parfait   114 to 220   38 to 48 Partagas Salomones
Pyramide Torpedo 156 20,64 50 Villa Zamonaro No 15
Perla Très petit Corona 102 15,87 26 Domico Perla
Petit Corona Mareva 129 16,67 42 Montecristo No 4
Robusto   124 19,84 50 Cohiba Robustos


Terry Pomerantz invites you to smoke cigars in moderation, with all the respect we owe to non-smokers. Smoking a cigar is a wonderful way to enjoy moments of sharing and dialogue with friends, but also with yourself. These well-deserved moments of respite allow us to celebrate friendship and life. Abusing cigars will only shorten these precious moments too quickly. Remember that when it comes to cigars, “Moderation is always in good taste.


A cigar enthusiast, Terry Pomerantz shares his expert advice on the different brands, types of cigars, and essential accessories to have. Immerse yourself in his recommendations to magnify your experience with each cigar, which you can enjoy in good company, an invitation to take the time to live each moment to the full.