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Cigar Culture

Cigar Slang & Nicknames

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

“A cigar by any other name would smell as sweet.” I think that’s how the old saying goes. No? Yeah, I think Shakespeare had it in Romeo and Juliet, from which that famous Cuban cigar took its name. Little wonder, eh? In any case, whether the line was about cigars or roses, the point is that no matter what you call a thing, it’s still what it is. Remember, the word cigar came from the Mayan word sikar.  

CIGAR NICKNAMES

Feel free to use any of these slang terms for your stogie, puro, stick or sikar.

STOGIE

Stogie is among the most commonly used nicknames for a cigar. It has a strong origin story. The word “stogie” comes from Pennsylvania. To be specific, it comes from Conestoga, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County, home of the Amish and also of the Conestoga wagon that transported families west in the 1800s. As it happens, the leaders of the wagon trains would often smoke long, homegrown cigars using fairly rustic leaves that gave off a very strong smell. The cigars became known as stogies.

PURO

Maybe it’s less a nickname since puro – or pure – refers to a cigar made of tobaccos from a single country. So, Cuban cigars are puros, made entirely of tobacco from Cuba. Think of this as a single-origin coffee or liquor. Still, the term has become widely, if incorrectly, used, particularly in Spanish, to refer to all cigars.

CHEROOT

Cheroot has one of the more interesting etymologies among names for cigars. The educated guess is that it has multiple sources. First, the Portuguese word for cigar is charuto. The Tamil people of Sri Lanka and India have a word for “roll” which is curuttu, coming from curul, meaning “to roll.” The French cheroute might have been a more direct and modern springboard to cheroot in English. In any case, a cheroot also was defined as a cigar shape that was “cut square at both ends.” Additionally, it’s thought to have been an un-tapered cigar originally from southern India or Manila in the Philippines.

BELVEDERE

This was a new one to me as a nickname. A Belvedere is a cigar that is shorter and with thinner ends than a Corona. H. Upmann in Cuba had a machine-made Belvedere as a Perfecto that was 5 x 39. This was similar to the shape that President John F. Kennedy liked, the H. Upmann Petit Coronas, also machine-made, and that he instructed his then-press secretary, Pierre Salinger, to go out and buy up on the eve of Kennedy signing the embargo against Cuba.

STICK

Kind of obvious, but this term refers to a single cigar.

GETTING SPECIFIC

These slang terms, heard with differing frequency in different parts of the country, are found on many cigar forums and refer more to the characteristics of the cigar or cigar smoking.

HERF

A herf is a gathering of cigar lovers who meet to smoke together. Herfs are often like backyard barbecues with food and beer and whiskey. Anywhere from a few people to hundreds or more can show up at a herf.

DOG ROCKET

In short, as it applies to cigars and not your nose-blowing technique, a dog rocket is a bad cigar. Taste, as we know, is subjective, but we’ve all smoked a dog rocket or two in our day.

NIC BOMB

A nic bomb is a super-strong cigar that can knock you for a loop, making you dizzy. If you happen across one of these, eat something sweet. Sugar can help relieve the effects of the excessive nicotine.

YARD ‘GAR

A yard ‘gar is one you might smoke while mowing the lawn or while you play golf. It’s not terribly expensive, but it satisfies your desire for a cigar that is going to be smoked in perhaps less than ideal conditions.

FLAVOR BOMB

This simply means a cigar that is loaded with big tobacco flavors.

NUBBING

This is smoking your cigar down to the very end before your lips catch on fire. You’ll likely use a Cuban Roach Clip (a toothpick) to hold the nub as your cigar disappears.

COOLERDOR

A coolerdor is a humidor you’ve converted from a beer cooler. You may also find it spelled as coolidor. By adding a humidification source to a traditional cooler, you can store more cigar inventory and overflow from your humidor. Many bargain hunters rely on a coolerdor to store the full boxes they buy on sale.

ISOM

Commonly used in forums, this means “Island South of Miami” to refer to Cuba.

BOTL/SOTL

These refer to cigar lovers as Brothers of the Leaf and Sisters of the Leaf. Each is an online community of fellow cigar lovers.

A lot of the slang for cigars that you’ll find, unfortunately, has been appropriated to refer to filling a cheap machine-made cigar wrapper with marijuana. Some cigar slang refers to sexual acts. Because our focus is on premium handmade cigars, we’re leaving out any potentially offensive or derogatory slang. You can discover less-complimentary terms on a wealth of other websites.

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