Welcome to the GOAT’s glossary of cigar terms. Between watching podcasts and reading cigar reviews, we tend to hear a lot of cigar terms. But what do they all mean? I figured I’d spend some time going over some common and some less common cigar terms that we all tend to hear. Some of these, most of you may know, some you may be a little less familiar with.
Lesser known Cigar Terms:
8-9-8: A conventional method of arranging 25 cigars within a box. This entails placing 8 cigars on the bottom row, 9 cigars in the middle row, and 8 cigars on the top row. Hence, the Ashton Classic 898.
Anejo: This is the Spanish term for “aged”. If you see a box with the term anejo you can rest assured that they have some pretty good age on them.
Capote: This is just another term for the binder. See below for the definition of binder.
Chaveta: This is essentially a cigar roller’s knife. It’s a curved flat piece of steel that is used to trim a wrapper leaf.
Cuban Sandwich: This is a cigar that uses both long and short filler tobacco. A Cuban sandwich is still made by hand.
Culebra: Spanish for snake. These are those cigars that look like three were twisted together. They tend to be panatela sizes which are braded together. In my opinion, these are best enjoyed with two other friends. Spread the love, people.
Entubar: This is a method of rolling the filler leaves into individual “tubes” before bunching them together.
Half Wheel: 50 cigars that are bundled together and usually tied with a ribbon. This is usually done during the aging process. Yes, that’s right. It’s not just a cigar news source!
Plume: It’s mold, people. We can argue later.
That’s all I have for the lesser-known terms. I definitely don’t know everything, but I’m always learning. It’s time for our next section of the cigar terms glossary. Below is a list of some of the more common cigar terms.
Wrapper: The outermost leaf of the cigar. I’m a big fan of broadleaf cigars, but I also enjoy a good Connecticut as well. It really depends on my mood. I’m quick to try a new Sumatra as well.
Binder: The leaf underneath the wrapper that holds the filler together and helps maintain the cigar’s shape.
Filler: The blend of individual tobacco leaves inside the body of cigar, held together by the binder.
Ring Gauge and Length:
Ring Gauge: This is a term we’re all familiar with, but do we really know how cigar ring gauge is determined? Well, it’s obviously the diameter of the cigar, but what you might not know is it’s measured in 64ths of an inch. So, a 64 ring gauge cigar would have a diameter of 1 inch. E.P. Carrillo Inch 64 is a perfect example of this. I tend to stick to somewhat smaller ring gauges. 48 is my sweet spot.
Length: This is pretty straightforward. The length of the cigar is measured in inches. 6 to 6.5 is where I like to be.
Vitola: Vitola in cigars refers to the size and shape of a cigar, often indicated by its length, ring gauge, and sometimes a unique name (Robusto, Churchill, Toro, etc.). As stated before, somewhere around a typical Toro is where I like to be.
Straight Cut: This is probably the most common cut. All we’re doing here is taking off the top of the cigar cap. Sometimes this is referred to as a guillotine cut. The opening should be even across. If you’re concerned with cutting too much of the cap off, check out the Xikar Perfect Xi1 cutter. I’m almost exclusively a straight cut guy.
V-Cut: This creates a V-shaped groove on the cap of the cigar. What’s nice about a V-Cut is that it almost operates like a perfect cutter. It’s hard to take too much off with a V-cutter. Pro Tip: Don’t push the cigar down too hard when you’re using a v-cutter. All you have to do is rest it in the groove. Applying too much pressure can damage the wrapper during the cutting process.
Punch Cut: This involves using a circular blade to remove a small portion of the cap. A punch cut tends to produce less smoke since the whole is much smaller than a straight cut. This could be useful on larger ring gauge cigars.
The straight cut vs V-cut argument can go a lot of different directions. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you.
Torch Lighter: A torch produces a concentrated flame. These concentrated flames come out through the jets. I personally prefer a single jet lighter, but most table top lighters tend to have 3 or more jets.
Soft Flame: This produces a “soft flame” obviously. The flame is less intense than a torch and won’t sear your cigar if used improperly. I pull out my S.T. Dupont Ligne 8 when I’m feeling fancy.
There are a million different types of cigar lighters, but they all tend to fall into one of these categories.
That’s all I’ve got for this edition of The GOAT’s Cigar Terms Glossary. Maybe I’ll do this again with some more terms. I’m no english major, but let me know if there are any topics on your mind that you’d like me to write about. In the meantime, keep it lit!