Cigar 101 - 21 Degrees Cigar Lounge

Cigar 101

Useful Terms


Aroma: The overall smell of the smoke.

Blend: Refers to the combination of tobaccos used in a cigar, the wrapper, binder and fillers.

Body: Most commonly referred to as mild, medium and full. This is the strength of the cigar. More or less the physical affect the cigar has on you.

Burn: Reflects part of the cigars construction. A cigar should burn evenly at the foot so the blend of tobaccos taste the way they should. The burn has a big impact on the overall smoking experience.

Character: An overall impression, or personality of how the cigar smokes.

Complex: The characteristic of the smoke. A cigar is complex when the flavors and body change throughout the smoking experience.

Construction: The physical makeup of a cigar. Hoe well it draws, burns and appears.

Dense: A full, or heavy feeling to the smoke.

Development: The progress of how a cigar smokes in regards to the flavor and body.

Draw: The resistance one feels while trying to pull smoke through the head of a cigar.

Dry Draw: A draw of an unlit cigar. Usually done to taste the tobaccos before the cigar is lit.

Finish: The lingering flavors and body that the smoke leaves on your palate. Can refer to the end of a cigar, or the flavors and body as it is smoked.

Flavor: The taste of smoke.

Foot: The end of the cigar that is lit.

Head: The part of the cigar that is clipped and smoked from.

Marbleized: A wrapper that has a marble-like appearance. The term is usually used to describe the look of a wrapper.

Mouth Feel: How the smoke feels on the palate. The sensation that the smoke provides.

Nose: The smell of the foot of an unlit cigar.

Oily: The essential oils of the wrapper leaf.

Palate: The senses that are used to taste, or smell a cigar.

Retro-Hale: When smoke is pushed through the nose from the mouth without inhaling the smoke.

Seamless: Where the seams of the wrapper leaf on a cigar are not visible.

Shade Grown: Means that the wrapper tobacco was grown under a canopy of shade, usually from cheesecloth.

Shoulder: The part of the cigar next to where the head begins.

Splotchy: A wrapper with inconsistent coloration.

Sun Grown (SG): Literally means that the wrapper tobacco was grown under direct sunlight.

Toothy: The small bumps that cover the wrapper on a cigar. Can sometimes be visible on the ash.

Well-Rounded: Stimulates the senses on all areas of the tongue and palate.

Wrapper: The outer layer of the cigar that is used to finish off the appearance. Responsible for a majority of the overall flavor, depending on the blend.

Cigar Size and Shape


The Visual way to differentiate one cigar from the next besides the wrapper color is by its size and shape. The size refers to the dimensions, and the shape refers to the common name such as robusto or torpedo. Cigar shapes are also referred to as vitolas. There are two types of vitolas: the vitola de galeria is the factory name that the factory gives a certain size that is used for production. The vitola de salida is the commercial type and refers to the name as is presented to the consumer.

Cigar Measurements


A cigar is measured by the two dimensions: the girth is known as the ring gauge, and the second is the length of the cigar. In the United States you will typically see the length followed by the gauge (7 x 48). In other parts of the world you will see the opposite (48 x 7).