As a retail tobacconist, and somewhat of a cigar nerd, there is an obvious trend within the cigar industry toward bigger ring gauge cigars. Before I go any further, I would like to address that the following statements are of my own opinion.
I hate big ring gauge cigars. I generally smoke about 2-3 cigars a day, if not 4. My personal preference as far as the ring gauge of a cigar is anywhere between 36-52. I generally don’t like smoking anything larger than a 52 ring gauge and I will explain why.
The wrapper of a cigar dictates anywhere from 50-85% of the overall flavor of the cigar. That’s not to say that the binder and filler are completely useless, because they have their part in making a premium cigar what it is. However, when you create a cigar that is a 60 ring gauge, or even 70 and 80 like some companies are, you are creating too much fluctuation within the wrapper to filler ration. When you have a cigar that big, you therein allow the filler tobacco to dictate more of the flavor because there’s simply more filler tobacco.
Now I tend to smoke fuller-bodied, stronger cigars. It’s just my personal preference. However, I’m never opposed to smoking something “lighter” if it’s full flavored. The whole “full-bodied” and “full-flavored” is an article for another day. But anything that is full-flavored is a go in my book. In my experience, I don’t find as much flavor in a cigar that is larger than a 60 ring gauge, not to mention it gives me lock-jaw.
Another reason I tend to stray from larger ring gauge cigars is because to me they appear to gimmicky. I look at Asylum’s 8×80 or Room 101’s Payback 8×80 and it looks like a small baseball bat. Particularly the Ogre, which is a barber-pole made of half Candela, and half Habana-maduro. That to me appeals solely to the occasional Brick and Mortar customer who wants to gift his friend a cigar based off of it’s appearance.
The Cuban market has even begun to create larger ring gauge cigars in an attempt to conform to the American ideal. This year, at the Habanos Festival in Havana, Cohiba introduced the first 60 ring-gauge in the Cuban market.
One final reason I don’t smoke these ridiculous honkers is because they tend to smoke around the 2 1/2 hour mark. My palette isn’t trained to handle something that long. After a certain point ny flavor the cigar may start out with will dissipate over time. I’d much rather smoke two Corona sized cigars in the time it would take to smoke one 60 or plus sized cigar. Give me a Lancero, Lonsdale, or Corona Gorda any day of the week.
However, I do appreciate that we have an industry that is accommodating to the modern day smoker. As much as I may dislike these
logs bigger ring gauge cigars, a cigar smoker is still a cigar smoker. And in a world that makes in increasingly more difficult to exercise your liberty to live free, I applaud these companies for accommodating to all smokers.
But I still hate them…