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Cigar Basics: Color, Size, and Shape

We’ll be honest — there is a lot to know about cigars. If your cigar knowledge is limited or you’re brand new to the world of cigars, differentiating between colors, sizes, and shapes can seem intimidating and confusing. While it may take you a while to truly understand the difference between a colorado maduro and a maduro or a corona and a robusto, we can help you get started.

Cigar Education | BLEND Bar CigarCigar Colors

While most products’ colors are chosen based on customer appeal, the color of a cigar’s wrapper gives you some insight into a cigar’s taste and how it was made. The following colors are the most common:


Oscuro wrappers, sometimes referred to as double maduro or maduro maduro, are the darkest wrappers on the market and are almost black. Mature tobacco leaves are picked and fermented until they become a dark brown, which can take months. The leaves achieve an even darker color by being stored and dried for years. This extensive process results with a deep sweetness and a rich, strong flavor.


Maduro wrappers are a very dark reddish-brown to almost black. In Spanish, “maduro” means “mature,” which is exactly what these wrappers are. After tobacco leaves are picked, they are cured until they become a rich brown, which takes approximately 45 days. After that, the leaves achieve an even darker color by being stored for years. Maduro cigars have a sweet and strong flavor.

Colorado Maduro

Colorado maduros are dark brown, a shade between that of a maduro and that of a colorado. These wrappers are aromatic and have a medium, rich flavor.


Colorados are a reddish-dark brown. Rather than addressing the type of tobacco used or how the tobacco was grown, colorados’ distinction is simply a result of their color, hence the name. These wrappers are difficult to grow outside of Cuba, making these spicy cigars highly sought after. Colorado wrappers tend to give cigars a rich, robust flavor with hints of cedar, coffee, earth, and pepper.


Natural wrappers, also called English Market Selection, are light brown to brown. Grown in the sun, natural cigars tend to be a little sweeter and have more spice than the cigars we’ve already discussed. Natural cigars often have notes of coffee, bread, cedar, or earth.


Claro wrappers are light tan. This color is achieved by growing tobacco plants under shade tents and picking the leaves before the plant reaches full maturation. After the leaves are picked, they are air dried quickly. The wrapper does not have a significant effect on the taste of the cigar, leaving a smooth, mild cigar.

Double Claro

Double claro wrappers, also called candela wrappers, are light green to yellow. This is a result of picking tobacco leaves before the plant reaches full maturation and drying the leaves quickly. Double claros smell fresh and leaf-like. The taste is slightly sweet with hints of cedar, grass, and pepper. Double claros tend to be smooth and manageable.


Cigar Sizes and Shapes

Cigar Education | BLEND Bar Cigar

Most of us automatically assume bigger is better and that unique means valuable. With cigars, that isn’t always the case. Depending on the kind of tobacco used and the cigar’s density, a nine-inch cigar can be far less robust than a thin, short cigar with tightly rolled tobacco leaves. Thus, there is not a correlation between a cigar’s size and its strength and flavor.

Unfortunately, this area can get a little confusing. With generation after generation of manufacturers deciding which names go with which size and shape of cigar, definitions tend to vary from brand to brand. It’s important to note that one brand’s churchill may not taste like that of another’s. That said, we’ll break these definitions down for you the best we can.

In the US, UK, and Cuba, a cigar is measured by its length and “ring gauge.” Length is measured in inches, and ring gauge (diameter) is measured in 64ths of an inch. Thus, if a cigar has a diameter of ¾ (48/64) of an inch, its ring gauge is 48. In terms of shape, cigars are divided into two categories: parejos and figurados.


Parejos are straight-sided cigars, the typical cigar shape. Examples of parejos and their sizes include:

  • Corona – This is the most familiar shape and size of cigar. Its traditional dimensions are 5 ½ to 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 42 to 44.
  • Petit Corona – A petit corona is essentially a smaller corona. It’s typically 4 ½ inches long and has a ring gauge of 40 to 42.
  • Churchill -This is a larger format of a corona and is 7 inches long with a 47 ring gauge.
  • Robusto – Like its name suggests, a robusto is a short, fat cigar. At 4 ¾ to 5 ½ inches long with a ring gauge of 48 to 52, this size has become the most popular size in the US.
  • Corona Gorda – This cigar is growing in popularity and is also referred to as a toro. Traditionally, corona gordas measure 5 ⅝ inches long and have a 46 ring gauge.
  • Double Corona – While its ring gauge is slightly bigger than a corona, a double corona is essentially a longer corona. Its traditional dimensions are 7 ½ to 8 ½ inches with a 49 to 52 ring gauge.
  • Pantela – Thin and elegant, panetelas measure 5 to 7 ½ inches and have a small ring gauge of 34 to 38.
  • Lonsdale – With a length of 6 ½ inches and a 42 ring gauge, a lonsdale is longer than a corona but thicker than a panetela.


Figurados are irregularly-shaped cigars and essentially encompass all shapes that that parejos can’t. The most prevalent examples of figurados include:

  • Pyramid – This is a tapered cigar with a wide, open foot and a closed head, hence its name. Typically, pyramids are 6 to 7 inches long and have ring gauges of 52 to 54 at the foot and 40 at the head.
  • Belicoso – Essentially a short pyramid, belicosos have a slightly rounded head and measures from 5 to 5 ½ inches with a ring gauge of 50.
  • Torpedo – While many tend to confuse torpedos with pyramids, a true torpedo has a closed foot, a head tapered to a point, and a bulge in the middle.
  • Perfecto – The perfecto also has a closed foot and a bulge in the middle; however, unlike the torpedo, a perfecto’s head is rounded like the head of a parejo. Perfectos’ sizes vary greatly and can be as long as 9 inches with gauges as large as 48.
  • Culebra – Perhaps the most exotic shape, a culebra is three panetelas braided together. While intended to be untied and smoked separately, culebras are sold as one cigar. Culebras are hard to come by and tend to be smoked on special occasions with friends. Each cigar measures 5 to 6 inches long and has a ring gauge of 38.
  • Diadema – Measuring 8 ½ inches or longer, diademas are very large cigars. Although not to a complete point, the head and foot are tapered. The head tends to have a 40 ring gauge, and the foot has a ring gauge of 52 or greater.

Happy to Help

Like we said, there is a lot to know about cigars, and to truly understand what you just read, a little application is necessary. If you join us in Indianapolis or Nashville, our staff will happily help you learn the difference and find cigars you’ll enjoy.


BLEND Logo Retina-01BLEND Bar • Cigar with Davidoff Cigars® is Indianapolis and Nashville’s premier cocktail lounge and cigar bar. BLEND’s selection of premium cigars is second to none, and our walk-in humidor is one of the largest in the US. BLEND is the only appointed merchant for Davidoff cigars in Indiana, so cigar aficionados are sure to find what they are looking for.

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