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All About Cigars

A complete guide to everything you ever wanted to know about cigars, including:


  


Common Questions About Cigars

Storage & General Care: Enjoying Your Cigar:
How/Where Should Cigars be Stored? How Do You Cut or Pierce a Cigar?
Why Are There White Spots on My Cigars? What is the Proper Way to Light a Cigar?
Can Dried Out Cigars be Restored? How Do You Slow a Hot Burning Cigar?
When/How Should You Extinguish a Cigar?
About Cigar Types: Is is Possible to Relight an Extinguished Cigar?
What Types of Cigars are Available?
What does the Color of a Cigar Indicate?  
What does Country of Origin Indicate?

Cutting, Lighting and Smoking a Cigar:

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Click image below for details:
Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
Cutting/Piercing: Hand-made premium cigars must be cut or pierced before they are smoked. There are a variety of piercing devices available, and the choice is simply a matter of personal preference. If you prefer to cut your cigars, it is very important that the cutting blade is very sharp because a dull blade will ruin your cigars. Hold the cigar at eye level to ensure you are cutting a straight line. Place the head of the cigar into the cutter, taking care not to cut into the shoulder (where the cap meets the body of the cigar), as this will cause the cigar to unravel. Use constant, quick pressure to cut off the end without crushing the cigar.

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Lighting: To light your cigar you need the correct lighter. Some cigar buffs use cedar strips, called spills, but most people use matches or a lighter. If you opt for matches, wooden ones are best because stay lit longer. If you prefer a lighter, be sure it uses butane fuel so as not to effect the cigar's taste.

When you are ready to light your cigar, be sure that the flame does not touch the cigar. Direct contact with the flame can flavor the cigar with residue from your lighter or match. Instead, hold the cigar above the flame and rotate it to lightly char the foot. Then, place the cigar in your mouth and continue to light as you rotate the cigar, gently puffing in every few seconds.

Once the cigar is lit, remove it from your mouth and check the foot to make sure it is burning evenly. If it isn't, blow gently on the foot to ignite the tobacco which is not burning. If one area is burning faster than the others, simply wet your finger and apply it beneath the quick-burning area to slow it down.

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Smoking: If your cigar starts to burn hot while smoking, gently blow through it to blow out all the smoke. Then, simply set the cigar down for a minute, wait, then smoke as usual! 

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Extinguishing a Cigar: Opinions differ as to when to stop smoking a cigar. Some say once the cigar has burned halfway down, it is done. Others smoke it all the way down to their fingers. There really is no right or wrong answer, so do what feels right to you. If you reach a point when smoking your cigar is no longer enjoyable, just put it down. Unlike a cigarette, do not stomp it out or smash it. Just let it extinguish itself.

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Relighting a Cigar: If your cigar goes out, do not just relight it and continue smoking. If simply relit, the tars present in the cigar will cause the smoke to taste charred or stale. Before relighting, tap off all of the gray-white ash on the end of the cigar. Next, place the flame below the cigar until the heat from the flame causes the tip to ignite into a bright yellow flame. Then, gently blow through the cigar for a few seconds to burn off the tars built up in the cigar while smoking. Your cigar will now smoke as if it was freshly lit.

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Glossary of Terms
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A
Amarillo - A yellow wrapper leaf which is grown in the shade.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

American Market Selection - Abbreviated AMS, a seldom-used term created by the major importer of Cuban cigars in the 1950s to designate claro-colored wrappers.
[Related Terms: English Market Selection]

Amatista - A sealed glass jar containing 25 or 50 cigars, sold as "factory fresh."

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B
Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Band - A ring of paper wrapped around the closed head of most cigars and usually held on with a vegetable based glue. Bands are often printed with the name of the brand, country of origin, and/or indication that the cigar is hand-rolled. Most bands include colorful graphics, which have made them popular collectors' items.
Although most people leave the band on while smoking a cigar, it is equally appropriate to remove it, as long as the cigar's wrapper leaf is not torn when the band is removed.
[Related Terms: Label; Custom Label; Private Label, Order/Pricing Information for Custom Label Victory Cigars]

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Belicoso - Frequently used to describe tapered coronas or corona gordas, "belicoso" denotes a short, pyramid-shaped cigar, 5 to 5 1/2 inches in length with a short, rounded taper at the head and a ring gauge generally of 50 or less. 
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Binder - One of the three main components in a cigar, it is the portion of a tobacco leaf that is rolled around the filler to hold the cigar together. It can be either a half-leaf of tobacco or pieces of chopped tobacco processed into sheet form.

Blend - A mixture of different types of tobacco in a cigar, including up to five types of filler leaves, a binder leaf (see above) and an outer wrapper. The two basic blends used in high-grade cigars are Olor and Cubanito.

Bloom - A fine white powder that forms on the wrapper of the cigar during the aging process. This naturally occurring phenomenon is caused by the oils that exude from the tobacco and simply indicates that the cigar is alive and maturing as it should inside a well maintained humidor. It can be gently brushed off with a small camel hair brush, though there is no need to do this. Bloom should not be confused with mold which is bluish-green and stains the wrapper. The presence of mold usually indicates a humidor is too warm or has excessive levels of humidity.
[Related Terms: Plume]

"Blow a Cloud" - To smoke a cigar or pipe. This term was popularized during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Blue Mold - Peronospora tabacina is a fast moving, airborne fungus that forms small, round blemishes on the leaves of the tobacco plant. It flourishes in cool, cloudy, damp weather and can ruin an entire crop in just a few days.

Boite Nature - The cedar box in which many cigars are sold.

Book Style/Booking - A rolling method, common in Honduras, where the cigarmaker lays the filler leaves atop one another, then rolls them up like a scroll. An alternate method is the Cuban-inspired "entubar."

Bouquet - The smell, or "nose," of a fine cigar. If improperly stored, cigars will lose their bouquet.

Box - The container used to package cigars. The traditional styles include:

  • "Cabinet Selection" - Wood boxes with a sliding top, designed to hold 25 or 50 cigars.

  • "8-9-8" - A round-sided box specifically designed to accommodate three rows of cigars with eight on top, nine in the middle, and eight on the bottom.
    Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
  • "Flat Top" or "13-Topper" - The flat rectangular box most popular today (shown here in photo on right). This box holds 25 cigars, with 13 on top and 12 on the bottom, held in place by a spacer.

Box-pressed - The square shape taken on by cigars when they are packed tightly into the box.

Bull's-Eye Piercer - A device used to pierce the closed head of a cigar before smoking. It creates a circular opening like the bull's eye on a target.

Bulk - A large pile of tobacco leaves in which fermentation occurs.

Bunch - The different types of filler leaves that are blended to create the body of the cigar and held together by the binder before they are rolled into a wrapper.

Bundle - An ecomonic packaging method that uses a cellophane overwrap as opposed to a box. A bundle usually contains 25 or 50 cigars, traditionally without bands, offering a less expensive option to boxed cigars. Oftentimes bundles are comprised of seconds from premium brands or they are made from the long and medium filler left over from very good cigars. (The leftover tobacco is rolled into another cigar instead of being thrown out.) These cigars typically use a high quality binder and wrapper.

Burros - The piles, or bulks, in which cigar tobacco is fermented. Burros can often stand as tall as a person and must be carefully monitored. If the heat level inside them gets too high (over 110F), the burro is taken apart to slow the fermentation.

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C
Cabinet Selection - Cigars packed in a wooden box rather than a cardboard or paper-covered cigar box. This packaging method is preferable when buying cigars for aging.

Cameroon - This wrapper leaf is grown primarily in Cameroon, West Africa and is preferred by cigar smokers for its delicately spicy taste, sweet aroma and excellent burning properties.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Candela - A bright green shade of wrapper, achieved by a heat-curing process that fixes the chlorophyll content of the wrapper while it's still in the barn. Also referred to as double claro (see definition below).
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Cap - A circular piece of wrapper leaf placed at the head of the cigar to secure the wrapper.

Capa - The cigar's wrapper.

Carotene - A naturally occurring compound found in aged cigars.

Case - During the production process, workers "case" or slightly moisten aged tobacco, making it easier for hand rollers to work with.

Cedar - The type of wood most commonly used to make cigar boxes and humidors.

Chaveta - Also known as a "roller's knife," a chaveta is a knife used in a cigar factory to cut the wrapper leaf.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Churchill - A large corona-format cigar, traditionally measuring 7 inches in length with a 47 ring gauge (often a 48 ring gauge today). Named after Sir Winston Churchill who was famous for almost never being seen without a cigar.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Cigarillos - Thin, three-inch cigars, popular in Europe, and generally machine-made. Many brands use homogenized wrappers or binders
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Claro - The classic color of a Connecticut shade grown tobacco wrapper , it is pale-green to light-brown in color and typically signifies that the cigar will be mild.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Clear Havana - A cigar made in the United States prior to the embargo with Cuban tobacco.

Colorado - A medium-brown to brownish-red shade of wrapper, most often seen in well aged and mature cigars.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Colorado Claro - A medium brown wrapper, similar to a Cameroon wrapper from West Africa. Although slightly stronger than the Claro, it is still considered mild.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Colorado Maduro - A dark brown wrapper, usually seen on cigars produced in Honduras, Nicaragua and sometimes in Cuba. These cigars are considered medium to strong and give off an excellent aroma.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Connecticut Wrapper - A wrapper leaf grown in the Windsor Valley of Connecticut used for both natural and maduro cigars.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Corojos - Plants that are chosen to provide wrapper leaves and are grown under a gauze sunscreen.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Corona - The most familiar size and shape for premium cigars. Generally straight-sided with an open foot and a closed, rounded head, these cigars are typically 5 1/2 inches in length with a ring gauge of 42.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Country of Origin - This refers to not only the country where the cigar is made, but also the country where the tobacco is grown. Sometimes they are the same but, because cigar manufacturers can buy leaves for filler, binder and wrapper from anywhere in the world, some cigars are manufactured in one country using tobacco from another. Knowing the country of origin can give you a general guide to the particular style of cigar (mild, strong, rich, smooth, etc.).
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes]

Cuban Seed - Usually refers to plants grown in non-Cuban countries with seeds from Cuba.

Cubanito - This tobacco is a direct descendant of the original Cuban Havana and is grown in Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico. It is used as a filler tobacco and furnishes a rich, full-bodied smoke.
Cubatabaco - Formerly the worldwide distribution company for Cuban cigars; now called Habanos S.A.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Culebra - Spanish for "snake." Culebras are cigars made of three panetelas braided and banded together; usually 5 to 6 inches in length, most often with a 38 ring gauge.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Custom Label - Also known as Private Label, this term refers to the ring of paper wrapped around the closed head of most cigars and usually held on with a vegetable based glue. Custom Label Bands are those which include personalized wording or logos. These are great ideas for weddings, corporate functions, special events, etc.
[Related Links: View Sample Custom Labels from Victory Cigars, Order/Pricing Information for Custom Label Victory Cigars]

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Cutter - An instrument with a razor sharp blade used to remove the cap or flag from both machine made and hand made cigars.

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D
Diademas - A large cigar with a closed and tapered head. Generally about 8 inches long; the foot may be open, or closed like a perfecto.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes]

Double Claro - A greenish-brown wrapper that produces a somewhat light and bland taste. (See also "Candela")
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Double Corona - Also called prominente, this is a large cigar, generally 7 1/2 to 8 inches with a ring gauge of 49 to 52.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Draw - The amount of air that gets pulled through a lighted cigar. It can be too easy (hot) or too tight (plugged).

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E
English Market Selection - Abbreviated EMS, a term used to designate a natural color wrapper, not claro or lighter shades, nor maduro or darker shades. In the United Kingdom, an EMS sticker found on boxes of Cuban cigars refers to inventory that has been vetted by Hunters & Frankau, cigar distributors.
[Related Terms: American Market Selection]

Entubar - A rolling method that originated in Cuba. Rather than booking the filler leaves, the roller folds each individual filler leaf back on itself, then bunches the leaves together. Proponents of this method say it creates superior air flow through the cigar, which results in an even draw and burn.

Escaparates - The cooling cabinets in which cigars are kept at the factory for a few weeks after they have been rolled.

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F
Fermentation - After harvest, workers gather the tobacco leaves in large bulks (or piles), moistening the leaves and allowing them to ferment. Temperatures may reach 140F before the bulk is broken down and restacked until fermentation stops naturally. This process, called working the bulk, releases ammonia from the tobacco.

Figurado - A Spanish term that refers to cigars with shapes sizes such as belicosos, torpedos, pyramids, perfectos and culebras.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes]

Filler - The individual tobacco leaves used in the body of the cigar. These can be either cut pieces (short filler), small leaves (Medium Filler) or long, continuous leaves (Long Filler) running the full length of the cigar. A fine cigar usually contains between two to five different types of filler tobacco.

Finish - A tasting term that refers to the taste that lingers on your palate after a puff. Mild cigars do not have much finish, either in terms of length or complexity. On the other hand, stronger, more full-bodied cigars have distinctive flavors that linger for a while.

Flag Leaves - An extension of the wrapper leaf shaped to finish the head of a cigar; used instead of a cap. Flags are sometimes tied off in a pigtail or a curly head.

Foot - The open end of the cigar you light. Most often it is pre-cut, with the exception of torpedos and perfectos.

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G
Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Gorda - Spanish for "fat," this term is used to describe the shape of a cigar, as in the corona gorda shape, which is a "fat" corona. Traditionally a gorda is 5 5/8 inches in length with a 46 ring gauge.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Gran Corona - A large cigar, generally 6 3/4 inches in length with a 48 ring gauge.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Gum - A vegetable adhesive used to secure the head of the wrapper leaf around the finished bunch.

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H
Habana (Havana) - The capital of Cuba, this is the traditional center of manufacturing of Cuban cigars for export, and a term widely used to designate Cuban cigars. Also refers to the tobacco types grown from Cuban seed in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Habano - An inscription on a cigar band which desginates that a cigar is Cuban. (Note: not all Cuban cigars are marked with "Habano" or "Havana.")

Habanos S.A. - The worldwide distribution company for Cuban cigars; formerly called Cubatabaco.

Half-wheel - Also known as a media ruedas, this term refers to a bundle of 50 cigars. Oftentimes these bundles are tied with a ribbon, thus producing the half-wheel shape.

Hand - Individual leaves of tobacco that are hung together after harvest and tied at the top. Hands are piled together to make a bulk for fermentation.

Handmade - A cigar made entirely by hand with high-quality wrapper and long filler. All premium cigars are handmade. Generally, the wrapper leaves used by hand-rollers are more delicate than those used by machines. *All cigars manufactured by Victory Cigars are premium, hand-made in the Domincan Republic.
[Related Links: Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Hand-rolled - Same as Handmade (see definition above)

Havana - Same as Habana (see definition above)

Head - The closed end of the cigar; the end you cut or pierce before smoking.

Holder - An instrument placed on the head of a cigar while smoking. Although cigar holders are an interesting affectation and collectible, true aficionados let nothing come between their lips and the head of a cigar they're smoking.

Homogenized Binder - A binder made of chopped tobacco leaf and cellulose. Scorned by purists, it facilitates machine production and can facilitate the burn of certain products.

Hot - This term is used to describe a cigar that is underfilled and has a quick, loose draw. A hot cigar can produce harsh flavors.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perf
ect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Humidor - A room, or a box, of varying sizes, designed to preserve or promote the proper storage and aging of cigars. This is achieved by maintaining a relative humidity level of 70 percent and a temperature of approximately 65F to 70F.
[Related Links: How to Properly Care for your Cigars]

Hygrometer - A device that indicates the humidity, or percentage of moisture in the air; used to monitor humidor conditions.
[Related Links: How to Properly Care for your Cigars]

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I
Inhale - The process of drawing smoke into the lungs. Unlike cigarettes, you do not inhale when smoking a cigar.

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J
-- There are no terms in this section. --
Did we miss one? Let us know. Send us your suggestions for inclusion in our glossary.

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K
-- There are no terms in this section. --
Did we miss one? Let us know. Send us your suggestions for inclusion in our glossary.

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L< BR>Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Label - A ring of paper wrapped around the closed head of most cigars and usually held on with a vegetable based glue. Bands are often printed with the name of the brand, country of origin, and/or indication that the cigar is hand-rolled. Most bands include colorful graphics, which have made them popular collectors' items.
Although most people leave the label on while smoking a cigar, it is equally appropriate to remove it, as long as the cigar's wrapper leaf is not torn when the label is removed.
[Related Terms: Band; Custom Label; Private Label, Order/Pricing Information for Custom Label Victory Cigars]

Lance - A cutter used to pierce a small hole in the closed end of a cigar. Also called a piercer.

Lector - Traditionally, this is a person who reads to the cigar rollers while they work.

Ligero - One of the three basic types of filler tobacco. The name means "light" in Spanish, but this aromatic tobacco lends body to a blend.

Long Filler - Filler tobacco that runs the entire length of the cigar body.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Lonsdale - A long cigar. Although there are many variations, this cigar is generally 6 to 6 3/4 inches in length with a 42 to 44 ring gauge.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

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M
Machine-made - Cigars made entirely by machine, using heavier-weight wrappers and binders. Most often, these cigars use chopped or short filler in place of long filler.

Maduro - Meaning "ripe" in Spanish, this term refers to a very dark wrapper in shades ranging from reddish-brown to almost black. The color can be achieved by sun exposure, a cooking process or a prolonged fermentation.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Media Ruedas - Also known as Half-Wheels, this term refers to a bundle of 50 cigars. Oftentimes these bundles are tied with a ribbon, thus producing the half-wheel shape.

Medium Filler - This term refers to the length of the filler tobacco used to make up a cigar. While Long Filler cigars use continuous leaves throughout the length of the cigar, Medium filler cigars use smaller leaves, all from the same plants. Although they are the same blend, Medium Filler can burn inconsistently and/or change flavor, hence they are usually less expensive than Long Filler cigars.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Mini Cigarillo - Another term for cigarillos, which are thin, three-inch cigars, popular in Europe, and generally machine-made. Many brands use homogenized wrappers or binders
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Mold - 1. A wooden form used in cigar making to give shape to a finished bunch. It is comprised of two parts which, when assembled, are placed in a press. 2. A potentially damaging fungus that forms on a cigar when it is stored at too high a temperature.

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N
Natural - Also known as English Market Selection (or E.M.S.), this term describes a dark tan or brown colored tobacco wrapper . These leaves are sometimes sun-grown for a smooth, rich and full flavor.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

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O
Oil - The mark of a well-humidified cigar. Even well-aged cigars secrete oil when properly stored at the desired level of 70 to 72 percent relative humidity.

Olor - A variety of cigar tobacco known for its big leaves, olor is a hybrid obtained from crossing Connecticut Valley strains with Havana. It is grown mostly in the Olor province of the Dominican Republic and is cured a year longer than other tobaccos for a mild, aromatic smoke. It is used as filler tobacco and, most commonly, as binder tobacco.

Oscuro - A strong flavored, black wrapper, darker than maduro, most often Brazilian or Mexican in origin.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

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P
Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Panetela - A long, thin cigar shape, typically 7 inches in length with a 38 ring gauge.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Parejos - A term which refers to straight-sided cigars, such as coronas, panetelas (see above) and lonsdales.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Partido - A prime tobacco growing area located in Cuba.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Perfecto - A distinctive cigar shape that is closed at both ends, with a rounded head, and usually with a bulge in the middle.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Piercer - A cutter used to pierce a small hole in the closed end of a cigar. Also called a lance.

Piloto Cubano - A popular variety of Cuban-seed tobacco that is grown in the Dominican Republic.

Planchas - Boards on which tobacco leaves are spread before fermentation.

Plug - A blockage that sometimes occurs in the tobacco that can prevent a cigar from drawing properly. Gently massaging the cigar can sometimes alleviate the problem.

Plume - Also known as bloom, this is a fine white powder that forms on the wrapper of the cigar during the aging process. This naturally occurring phenomenon is caused by the oils that exude from the tobacco and simply indicates that the cigar is alive and maturing as it should inside a well maintained humidor. It can be gently brushed off with a small camel hair brush, though there is no need to do this. Plume should not be confused with mold which is bluish-green and stains the wrapper. The presence of mold usually indicates a humidor is too warm or has excessive levels of humidity.
[Related Terms: Bloom]

Pre-Castro Cigar - A Cuban cigar made before Fidel Castro's rise to power in January 1959.

Pre-embargo Cigar - A Cuban cigar made before President Kennedy enacted the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba in 1962.

Primings - The rows of leaves on a tobacco plant. The number of primings varies, but the average is six. The first priming is closest to the ground, the sixth is near the top. The higher the priming, the stronger the tobacco.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Private Label - Also known as Custom Label, this term refers to the ring of paper wrapped around the closed head of most cigars and usually held on with a vegetable based glue. Private Label Bands are those which include personalized wording or logos. These are great ideas for weddings, corporate functions, special events, etc.
[Related Links: View Sample Private Labels from Victory Cigars, Order/Pricing Information for Private Label Victory Cigars]

Puro - A Spanish term used to distinguish a cigar from a cigarette. In modern usage, it refers to a cigar blended with tobaccos from a single country. (All Cuban cigars use 100 percent Cuban tobacco, so all Cuban cigars, according to modern usage, are puros.)

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Pyramid - A sharply tapered cigar with a wide, open foot and a closed head.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

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Q
-- There are no terms in this section. --
Did we miss one? Let us know. Send us your suggestions for inclusion in our glossary.

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R
Ring Gauge - Also referred to as Ring Size, this is a standard industry measurement for the diameter of a cigar, the size of which affects the overall flavor. The fatter the cigar, the more developed and full a cigar will taste. A wider cigar will also burn slower. The measurement is calculated in degrees of 1/64th of an inch. Basically a diameter of 64/64ths (or 1 inch) is called a 64 ring gauge and a diameter of 32/64ths (1/2 inch) is called a 32 ring gauge. 
[Related Links: Ring Gauge Chart]

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Robusto - A substantial, but short cigar, traditionally 5 to 5 1/2 inches with a 50 ring gauge.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cigars]

Rosado - A Spanish term meaning "rose-colored," it is used to describe the reddish tint of some Cuban-seed wrappers.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

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S
Seco - The Spanish word for "dry," seco is a type of filler tobacco that is usually medium-bodied and often contributes aroma.

Seconds - A premium cigar that doesn't pass quality control and, therefore, does not get banded and boxed. The usual reasons for this include: a spot on the wrapper, an incorrect ring gauge, a wrapper color that doesn't match uniformly with other cigars in the box or, in rare cases, the wrapper is damaged (usually towards the foot or head). These less expensive cigars are often sold as bundles.
[Related Terms: Bundle]

Shade-grown - Wrapper leaves that have been grown under a cheesecloth tent, called a tapado. The filtered sunlight creates a thinner, more elastic leaf.

Short Filler - Used mainly in machine-made cigars, this filler consists of chopped scraps of tobacco leaves. Short filler burns quicker and hotter than long filler.

Shoulder - The area of a cigar where the cap meets the body. If you cut into the shoulder, the cigar will begin to unravel.

Smoking Time - As the name implies, this term refers to the amount of time it takes to smoke a cigar. A 5-inch cigar with a 50 ring gauge, such as a robusto, should provide anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes of smoking pleasure, while a 7 1/2-inch cigar with a 50 ring gauge, such as a double corona, may give over an hour's worth of smoking time.
[Related Links: Smoking Time by Cigar Size]

Special Solution - A solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent propylene glycol. Added to your humidification device every three to six months, its presence will keep water from evaporating beyond 70 percent relative humidity.
[Related Links: How to Properly Care for your Cigars]

Spill - A strip of cedar used to light a cigar when using a candle or a fluid lighter, both of which can alter the taste of the cigar.

Sugar - Sugars occur naturally in tobacco. Darker wrappers, such as maduros, contain more sugar, therefore making them sweeter.

Sun-grown - Tobacco grown in direct sunlight, producing a thicker leaf with thicker veins.

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T
Tapado - A cheesecloth tent under which shade-grown wrapper leaf is cultivated.

Tercios - The large, palm bark-wrapped bales in which fermented tobacco is shipped to cigar factories.

Tooth - The grain pattern characteristic of a less smooth wrapper leaf, such as leaf from Cameroon.

Torcedores - Cigar rollers.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Torpedo - A cigar shape that features a closed foot, a pointed head and a bulge in the middle.
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes, Order/Pricing Information for Victory Cig ars]

Totalamente a Mano - Made totally by hand; a description found on cigar boxes. Much better than "Hecho a Mano" (made by hand, which can mean it is filled with machine-bunched filler), or "Envuelto a Mano" (packed by hand).

Tubos - Cigars packed in individual wood, metal or glass tubes to keep them fresh.

Tunneling - A term which refers to a cigar that is burning unevenly. To prevent tunneling, simply rotate your cigar periodically as you smoke it.

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U
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V
V-Cut - A cutting method for cigars. The completed cut looks like a V section has been removed from the head of the cigar. The point of the V is the forward end of the blade, and the legs are cutting edges. Much of the head is left intact, and the crescent-shaped trough is apparent at the head of the cigar. This cutter does not work as well on pointed or tapered heads. Because of the structure of the V-cutter, there is little margin for error and a lot of the cap is left in place. The hole is small and could affect the draw and taste of the cigar..

Vega - A tobacco plantation.

Vein - A structural part of a leaf; prominent veins can be a defect in wrappers.

Vintage - -- When used to describe a cigar, "vintage" usually refers to the year the tobacco was harvested, not the year the cigar was made.

Viso - A glossy wrapper leaf grown under cover.

Vitola - A factory term for a cigar shape (such as Robusto or Corona).
[Related Links: Cigar Shapes & Sizes]

Vuelta Abajo - The valley in Cuba that many believe produces the best cigar tobacco in the world.

Volado - A type of filler tobacco chosen for its burning qualities.

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W
Wrapper - This high-quality tobacco leaf, wrapped around the finished bunch and binder , is one of the determining factors in the flavor and strength of a cigar. The wrapper can provide as much as 30% of the flavor and, therefore, is very important in the quality and style of a cigar. Althought the leaf can come from anywhere, Brazil, Cameroon, Connecticut, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Honduras and Indonesia are generally considered to be the best. In addition, the wrapper can be cultivated in a variety of conditions including shade-grown and sun-grown. All of these factors affect the color, sugars, flavor and strength of the cigar. Color is the best indicator of the style and strength of your cigar. The four basic color designations are: Candela (Lt. Green); Natural/Claro (Med. Brown) or Cameroon if grown in Africa; EMS, a slightly browner brown known as English Market Se lection; and Maduro, a dark brown.
[Related Links: Cigar Wrapper Colors]

Wedge Cut - A V-shaped cut made in the closed end of a cigar.

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X
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Y
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Z
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A Guide to Cigar Shapes, Sizes & Colors
There are two basic categories of cigars: Parejos (parallel sides) and Figurados (irregular shapes). Within each category are a variety of cigar types, further distinguished by their size. There are two standards of measurement used to describe a cigar - length and diameter:

  • Length is measured in inches or centimeters

  • Diameter, referred to as the ring gauge, is  measured in degrees of 1/64th of an inch. [ View Details & Chart ]

Although different manufacturers will use different names, ring gauges and/or lengths for their particular cigars, the chart below offers a good, general point of reference for some of the most common cigar types (arranged alphabetically):


Parejos (Parallel) Sides:
Cigarillos Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
These small cigars, popular in Europe, are about the size of a cigarette. Smoking time: approx. 10 minutes. typically 3 inches in length 20 ring gauge

Churchill Place An Order Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
A large corona-format cigar, named after Sir Winston Churchill. Smoking time: approx. 45-60 minutes. typically 7-8 inches in length 48 ring gauge

Corona Place An Order Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
The most familiar size and shape for premium cigars. Generally straight-sided with an open foot and a closed, rounded head. Smoking time: approx. 30-45 minutes. typically 5 1/2 inches in length 42 ring gauge

Corona Gorda Place An Order Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
A larger version of the classic corona. Smoking time: approx. 45 minutes. typically 5 5/8 inches in length< /FONT> 46-48 ring gauge

Double Corona Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
Because of its similarity to the corona, this large cigar is often called a "double corona." Smoking time: approx. 45-60 minutes. typically 7 5/8 inches in length 48-50 ring gauge

Gigante or Presidente Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
The largest of all cigar types, give yourself plenty of time if you purchase one of these. Smoking time: approx. 60-90 minutes. up to 10 inches in length up to 64 ring gauge

Gran Corona Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
A longer version of the corona gorda. Smoking time: approx. 45-50 minutes. typically 6 3/4 inches in length 48 ring gauge

Lonsdale Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
Named after the Earl of Lonsdale, this cigar is characterized by its length. Smoking time: approx. 45-50 minutes. up to 7 inches in length 40-42 ring gauge

Panatela Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
A long, thin cigar, often braided to create Culebras. Smoking time: approx. 35-45 minutes. typically 7 inches in length 36-38 ring gauge

Petit Corona Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
A smaller version of the classic corona. Smoking time: approx. 25 minutes. typically 5 inches in length 40-42 ring gauge

Robusto or Rothschild Place An Order Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
Named after Baron de Rothschild, this short, fat cigar is also known as a Robusto. Smoking time: approx. 25-40 minutes. typically 5-6 inches in length 50 ring gauge


Figurados (Irregular Shapes):
Belicoso Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
Similar to the pyramid but the head is polished, or rounded off, instead of pointed. Smoking time: approx. 45 minutes. typically 6 inches in length 48-52 ring gauge

Culebras Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
This strange cigar is actually made of three panetelas braided and banded together.  Smoking time: approx. 25-30 minutes. typically 5 inches in length 33 ring gauge

Perfecto Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
A distinctive cigar shape that is closed at both ends, with a rounded head, and usually with a bulge in the middle. Smoking time: approx. 45 minutes. typically 5-6 inches in length 48-52 ring gauge

Pyramid Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
A sharply tapered cigar with a wide, open foot and a closed head. Smoking time: approx. 45-60 minutes. typically 6 1/2 inches in length 52 ring gauge

Torpedo Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!
This cigar features a closed foot, a pointed head and a bulge in the middle. Smoking time: approx. 60 minutes. typically 6 inches in length 60 ring gauge


Ring Gauge/Ring Size:
This is a standard industry measurement for the diameter (width) of a cigar, the size of which affects the overall flavor. The fatter the cigar, the more developed and full a cigar will taste. A wider cigar will also burn slower. The measurement is calculated in degrees of 1/64th of an inch.

You can get an idea of how thick your cigar is by taking the the ring gauge and dividing it by 64. This will give you the width in inches (see chart below). A cigar with a ring gauge of 64 would be one in ch in diameter. A cigar with a ring gauge of 32 would be a half of an inch (32/64).

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!

Helpful Hint: Try to select a cigar with a larger ring size if you tend to have a heavy draw. A smaller ringed cigar will tend to taste harsh if your draw is heavy because you are scorching your smoke. Even the finest cigar won't taste proper if you don't know your draw.

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Wrapper Color:
Cigars come in a variety of colors which tell a lot about the cigar. Generally, the color of a cigar wrapper is a good indication of the strength of the cigar. A darker wrapper indicates that it has fermented longer and, therefore, will have a stronger taste. Below are the major color categories:

  • Double Claro - Also referred to as Candela, the pale greenish tint of this wrapper is achieved by a heat-curing process that fixes the chlorophyll content of the wrapper while it's still in the barn. It's a light cigar that has had limited aging.

  • Claro - Light tan or biscuit colored, it is the typical color of shade-grown tobacco. Generally mild, this cigar has a smooth and sometimes, rather neutral flavor. Connecticut shade-grown wrappers are regarded as the best for this style.

  • Colorado Claro - Darker brown in color and similar to a Cameroon wrapper from West Africa, this cigar is slightly stronger than the Claro but still considered mild.

  • Colorado - This reddish brown wrapper is most often seen in well aged and mature cigars which provide a medium to strong flavor.

  • Natural - Also known as English Market Selection (or E.M.S.), these dark tan or brown leaves are sometimes sun-grown (without canopy protection) for a smooth, rich and full flavor.

  • Colorado Maduro - This dark brown wrapper, usually seen on cigars produced in Honduras, Nicaragua and sometimes in Cuba, is generally considered medium to strong in flavor.

  • 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. These wrappers give off an excellent aroma. 

  • Oscuro - This black wrapper is produced in Mexico, Brazil and Nicaragua and is strong in flavor.

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Country of Origin:
This term refers to not only the country where the cigar is made, but also the country where the tobacco is grown. Sometimes they are the same but not always. Cigar manufacturers can buy leaves for filler, binder and wrapper from anywhere in the world, so some cigars are manufactured in one country using tobacco from another.

Knowing the country of origin can give you a general guide to the particular style of cigar:

  • Jamaica - Usually light-bodied and mild.
  • The Dominican Republic - Generally mild to medium-bodied.
  • Hondorus or Nicaragua - Mostly stronger and fuller-bodied.
  • Cuba - (Illegal in the U.S.) The best are very rich, smooth and somewhat creamy.

*All cigars manufactured by Victory Cigars are premium, handmade at our factory in the Dominican Republic. For more information, choose a link below:

Making Our Cigars
Take a Virtual Tour of our Factory
View Pricing and Order Information for Victory Cigars

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How to Properly Care for your Cigars

Storage Do's and Don'ts:

Cigars may be stored in many different ways for as many different reasons. It is important that they are stored with some type of humidification and at a controlled temperature. 

A cigar is a natural product and should be treated accordingly. As with any organic item, a cigar will succumb to the elements if not handled properly. It can't be said enough: Cigars require both humidity and temperature control.

Premium Personalized Custom Label Cigars (Private Label Cigars) are perfect for weddings, births, golf, corporate promotional items, or any other special occasion!Do's: It is best to keep your cigars in a humidor (until you are ready to smoke them) under conditions of 70% humidity and 70 F. This provides the cigars with an environment similar to the region where the tobacco was grown. To do so, there needs to be a humidification device ("humidifier"), a humidity gauge ("hygrometer") and a place to keep your humidor that is away from either warm or cool temperatures. The "humidifier" should only be filled using distilled water, not tap water. It should also be noted that the humidity may fluctuate between 70 and 80 without negatively impacting the taste and quality of the cigars.

If you do not have a humidor, an airtight plastic container will work just as well. A common favorite for cigar storage is Tupperware. In addition, you may simply pour a little distilled water into a glass until you choose to buy a humidifier. Unlike a humidor, however, the Tupperware will have to be opened from time to time to prevent overhumidification. If you like cigars, this shouldn't be a concern as you'll be enjoying them often.

Another storage idea, for small quantities and travel, is the Ziploc storage bag. If your cigars have been stored properly, a Ziploc bag will keep them fresh for about a week if not exposed to extreme temperatures. It is recommended that if you use this short-term method of storage, you place the bag in a solid container like a tin or wooden cigar box. This will protect the cigars from being accidentally bent or crushed.

There are numerous other ways to store cigars such as coolers, glass or plastic jars and myriad other products. Nothing, however, compares to a humidor. So if you're serious about your cigars, make an investment in a humidor... you won't regret it.

Receive a FREE humidor from Victory Cigars!

Don'ts: Do not put your cigars in your refrigerator or freezer! Because most units also dehumidify the air, storing cigars in the fridge will dry them out. Also, if there are aromatic foods near your cigars, such as onions or garlic, the cigars could take on their flavors. Finally, if a cigar has been stored in a refrigerator and hasn't returned to room temperature before lighting, the wrapper may explode off the cigar. This happens because the heat from the smoke will cause the leaf to expand too quickly.

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General Care Issues:

White Spots (Bloom): At times, a fine white powder will form on the wrapper of the cigar during the aging process. This naturally occurring phenomenon, known a bloom, is caused by the oils that exude from the tobacco and simply indicates that the cigar is alive and maturing as it should inside a well maintained humidor. It is harmless and can be gently brushed off with a small camel hair brush, although there is no need to do this.

Mold: Bloom should not be confused with mold which is bluish-green and stains the wrapper. The presence of mold usually indicates a humidor is too warm or has excessive levels of humidity.

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Dried Out Cigars: A dried out cigar can be restored, but it does take time. For expensive cigars, it is usually recommended that you see your tobacconist. To restore cigars yourself, remove them from their tubes or wrappers, place them into a ziplock bag and seal it. Pierce the bag with the many little holes, then place the first bag (containing the cigars) into a second, larger ziplock bag along with a sponge moistened with distilled water. Seal the second bag. Rotate the cigars 25% every few days, so that all of the wrapper is exposed to the humidity. Repeat this process for a month. Once the cigars have regained their normal sponginess, they can be returned to the humidor, but should remain there for another 9-12 months to allow enough time for the tobaccos to reach their proper equilibrium.

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