Have you noticed how Cuban cigars have been getting larger lately? I mean, twenty years ago, the thickest Cuban cigar had a ring gauge of 52. Now, there are more than 30 Cuban cigars with ring gauges heavier than 56.
This is especially an issue with the latest Linea series Romeo y Julieta cigars from Habanos. For instance, the Romeo y Julieta Linea de Oro Hidalgos has a crazy 57 ring gauge on a 5-inch cigar. Previously, Habanos only produced heavy ring gauge cigars for special releases and limited editions. We’re now seeing this become more of a norm and it’s a problem.
Cigar Construction Problems
Most people will know that producing a thinner ring gauge cigar comes with a set of challenges. This is especially the case for lanceros sized cigars, which have been described as the most difficult kind of cigar to roll.
Not only is it difficult to manage the blend with such a thin cigar, but preventing issues with the burn and draw are major challenges. Many cigar aficionados can attest to having experienced a plugged lanceros sized cigar, or at the very least, a uncomfortably tight draw on a lanceros cigar.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can overcome a tight drawing cigar. Using a poker tool such as the PerfectDraw tool is one way. Also, more experienced cigar smokers will know how certain pinching techniques can be used when smoking a tightly packed cigar.
Additionally, experienced cigar smokers will also know how to store their cigars correctly to prevent tight drawing or plugged cigars. The point being that, despite the fact that thinner ring gauge cigars are prone to a few construction issues, there are always ways to correct and overcome those issues. The same cannot be said about super heavy ring gauge cigars.
Heavy ring gauge cigars come with their own construction issues, and they tend to be more difficult to manage. One of the key problems is a loose draw in heavy ring gauge cigars. If you have a tight draw or a plugged cigar, you can remove tobacco to improve the draw. With a loose draw, there’s virtually nothing you can do.
The biggest problem with a loose draw is that the cigar burns hotter, tastes bitter, and overall provides a worse experience than a well-packed cigar.
Another issue with heavy ring gauge cigars is that they’re prone to cracking. Wrapper leaves from Cuba aren’t thick, heavy leaves. They tend to be delicate, thin leaves, and on large, thick cigars, these thin wrapper leaves will probably split.
Splits in a cigar cause them to unravel and provide a terrible experience. This is also an issue when trying to cut heavy ring gauge cigars. There aren’t many cutters available that can manage a 60 ring gauge comfortably. Due to this, you’re more likely to cause significant damage to the cap of a heavy ring gauge cigar than you are to a thin cigar.
A Bleak Trend
In Europe, petit coronas and robustos are the most popular cigar sizes. They offer a good balance between large cigars and lanceros, and they don’t smoke for an excessive amount of time. However, they are still significant enough to be enjoyed properly.
Why are Cuban cigar makers producing such large cigars? It seems there is demand for them, especially in the US market. The US market is known for very large cigars, such as the 9×90 April Fools cigar from Asylum.
Just in case that’s a poor example, consider the Texas Lancero, a 7×70 cigar. The point is that customers in the US seem to prefer larger cigars, and this trend is starting to catch on in Cuba. It’s possible that the relaxation of some embargo rules by the Obama administration may have contributed to the trend towards thicker Cuban cigars. However, it’s important to note that policy changes take time to fully impact the market, and we may only be seeing the effects now.
It seems that Cuba may have hoped to sell cigars in the US and wanted to cater to that market, but it hasn’t worked out as they hoped. Now, the rest of the world has to deal with these large cigars.
Also, in the middle eastern market big cigars are becoming popular. People seem to be really into the heavier ring gauges for several reasons. One reason is that bigger cigars obviously last longer, so if you’re someone who likes to smoke for a while, a massive cigar is probably going to be a better choice.
Another reason might be the perception of huge cigars. Large, heavy ring gauge cigars tend to look more powerful and expensive, and the middle east is all about perception. In places like Dubai, keeping up with the Joneses is a whole different game.
However, there is hope. Not everyone likes these huge cigars. The fastest-growing market at the moment is in Asia, and they tend to prefer thinner cigars with smaller ring gauges. Most people in Asia still seem to prefer traditional cigar sizes, such as double coronas and Churchill sizes.
Overall, it looks like the trend towards very thick cigars is mostly driven by demand in certain markets. However, just because people are asking for them doesn’t mean they are actually good. Quality and craftsmanship should always come first. It’s important for cigar makers to listen to their customers, but it’s also important to remember that sometimes bigger isn’t better. It’s all about finding a balance between meeting customer needs and preserving the traditions of the cigar industry.
It’s worth noting that not everyone is opposed to thicker cigars. Some people enjoy the longer smoke time and different flavor profile that thicker cigars can offer. However, it seems that the trend towards excessively thick cigars, particularly those with a ring gauge of 56 or higher, has left some cigar aficionados feeling frustrated.
Many cigar enthusiasts argue that these excessively thick cigars are actually quite uncomfortable to smoke. Plus, they can be unsightly and just plain look ridiculous.
It’s crucial for cigar makers, whether they be from Cuba or any other country, to remember that quality and craftsmanship should always come first. It’s important to strike a balance between meeting customer needs and maintaining the integrity and traditions of the cigar industry. There’s nothing wrong with offering a variety of sizes to cater to different preferences, but it’s important not to sacrifice quality for the sake of creating larger and larger cigars.