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Cigar 101

The Differences Between Long vs. Short Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

There are obvious physical differences between long cigars and short cigars. The most noticeable impact length offers is smoking duration. A long cigar will burn for a longer time than a short cigar – if they are approximately the same ring size. And ring size does matter. Thinner cigars burn hotter and faster than thicker ones. Besides the differences in burn time, why are cigars rolled in different sizes?

Most Cigars are between 4 and 8 Inches Long

Few premium handmade cigars are under 4 inches in length. Many assume longer cigars must be stronger – there’s so much more cigar to smoke. That’s not really the case. Yes, you’re smoking more tobacco in a longer size, but it all depends on where you stop. If you smoke a seven or eight-inch Double Corona right down to the nub, the flavor will be considerably pronounced at the end. On the other hand, if you smoke half or two thirds of a Double Corona, the finish will be significantly milder than that of a five-inch Robusto that you’ve smoked to the nub.

Shorter cigars are actually more intense right off the bat because the heat is closer to your palate. The smoke in a longer cigar travels a greater distance when you’re drawing on it. As a result, the smoke cools as it travels the length of the cigar. Longer shapes like a Churchill are often more approachable (or cooler) in the beginning.

Do a Comparison

The best way to illustrate how length affects a cigar is to smoke the same blend in both a shorter and a longer shape (of about the same ring gauge). The classic Ashton blend is creamy and mild. Try the Magnum in a traditional 5 x 50 Robusto. And then smoke an Ashton Churchill – with 7.5 x 52 dimensions, it’s technically a Double Corona. Both cigars deliver magnificent flavor from an identical recipe of premium Dominican tobaccos and a Connecticut Shade wrapper.

Full-bodied and full-flavored, Ashton VSG shows an even greater contrast with the Trés Mystique, at 4.753 x 44, and the much larger Spellbound at 7.5 x 54. There is an ideal occasion to smoke each size. A Tres Mystique is excellent when you’re craving a quick 20-minute cigar, or you’re stepping out into some cooler weather. The Spellbound is an extended hour-plus affair when you’re catching up with an old pal over a scotch or you’re playing a full round of golf.

When Time is of the Essence

Some of the most popular cigars in the world are rolled in smaller shapes like the 4-inch Arturo Fuente Short Story. An exquisite recipe of Dominican tobaccos with a Cameroon wrapper is handmade in an iconic 49-ring-gauge Figurado. There’s a ten to twenty-minute difference in the Hemingway Short Story vs. Best Seller, which is just a hair thicker and a half inch longer.  Nub is known exclusively for its short, fat shapes, especially the stout 4 x 60 dimensions of Nub 460, which is available in five popular wrappers. Although short in length, Nub cigars actually burn for a good while due to their girth.

Should You Smoke a Long or Short Cigar?

Premium handmade cigars are intended to be enjoyed in a single setting, if possible. If you’re tempted to fire up a 7-inch Churchill, but you’re not sure if you’ll have time to finish the whole thing, choose a Robusto or a Corona, instead. On the other hand, if you have plenty of time on your hands, go big or go home with a Padron Magnum (9 x 49) or an Arturo Fuente Royal Salute (7.625 x 54).

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