Exploring Large Cigar Types: The Big Ring Gauge Cigar
There are a variety of cigar shapes and sizes to explore. As a long-time cigar smoker, I found it perplexing to see the advent of Big Ring Gauge Cigars. A cigar with a ring size greater than a 60 seemed to be out of the question for me. Think about this, if 1/64th of an inch is 1 ring gauge then a 60-ring gauge is almost 1 inch thick—that’s a large cigar.
I remember the first time I saw a cigar with a ring gauge of 60. I thought, this must be a gag or something, who in their right mind would ever smoke such a big cigar? After talking to the shop’s owner, we both agreed it would likely be a fad in the cigar world and go away quickly. Boy, were we ever wrong!
Fast forward to the present-day and Big Ring Gauge cigars are an ever-present part of the selection in your local cigar humidor. Now, a 60-ring gauge can be considered a small cigar. Nearly every maker has at least a 60-ring gauge in their portfolio. Some makers go up to cigar ring sizes of 80 and above.
The cigar size and shape can make a significant impact on the way the cigar tastes. In this edition of #whatmakesacigar, I want to explain why you should absolutely smoke Big Ring Gauge cigars, even if you are looking for a good cigar for a beginner.
Large Cigars for Beginners
The first time I smoked a 60-ring gauge cigar I was overwhelmed in a good way. I wasn’t used to the large size and was concerned the amount of tobacco might overwhelm me. On the contrary, I found it no different than smoking a small batch cigar. I was able to feel and experience the flavor in a bold yet comfortable way.
The increased amount of tobacco sent my sense of smell into overdrive. The easy draw and full-bodied smoke allowed me to enjoy the cigar to the fullest. Taking my time with this cigar allowed me to relax and focus on the flavor at hand.
From here, I set out to understand why a great cigar maker like Ernesto Perez-Carrillo would pave the way for this cigar type. Initially I was met with a lot of resistance. Cigar owners were still learning about this type of cigar. After receiving mixed verdicts at events, I finally found the answers.
How Big Ring Gauge Cigars are Made
The number one reason that makers produce big ring gauge cigars is because they are desired in the marketplace. Avid cigar consumers put them in demand. However, as I dug deeper, I discovered more. When a blender sets out to make one of these massive cigars, they have two ways to go about it.
- One way is to take an existing blend and increase the size. This can work and often does, but adjustments are still needed to ensure to correct ratios are used. This allows the large cigar to taste similarly to a small cigar.
- The other way is to build the Big Ring Gauge cigar from scratch, just like Grandma’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. These are always better than a store-bought, replica recipe.
When creating a Big Ring Cigar from scratch, it allows the blender to expand the portfolio of tobacco used. In most cigar sizes, the blender is limited to the amount of tobacco that can be used, usually up to 4 leaves. With a Big Ring Cigar, experts can use 6 to 8 leaves.
What does this mean for smokers? The flavors can develop in an enhanced and expanded way. Makers can create versatile, exciting, and unique blends specifically for big cigar types.
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is responsible for putting big ring cigars at the forefront of the cigar industry. I have been able to discuss the rise and history of this specific cigar size with him. He told me that in the 1970’s he made his first Big Ring Gauge Cigar for a motorcycle club in California.
It was a 70-ring gauge and unheard of at the time. He shared, they wanted something that would last on those long rides on the west coast. From here he launched Serie R and it was a complete success! For many, this was a huge leap out of the comfort zone and into a new and exciting world of large cigars.
Choosing the Right Big Ring Gauge Cigar
Even if you are new to cigar smoking, it is worth the plunge. They are one of the best cigars to smoke. The flavors are bigger than ever, and they take more time to smoke. This allows them to be a relaxing and slow joy.
E.P. Carrillo offers a variety of this specific cigar type. These Big Ring Cigars also go by the name of Inch. They are bold, palatable, balanced, and made from scratch.
- INCH Natural: These cigars come in a 60, 62, 64 (a true inch), and 70 ring gauges, each varying in length from 5 to 7 inches in length. The flavor profile is a complex mix of sweetness, earthiness, nuttiness, and spice. It has an Ecuadorian wrapper (the outside leaf of tobacco), a Nicaraguan Binder (the leaf that holds the fillers leaves together), and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
- INCH Maduro: These cigars also come in a 60, 62, 64, and 70 ring gauges, each varying in length from 5 to 7 inches in length. This is an incredibly balanced cigar with a long smooth finish. It has hints of cocoa, leather, and coffee. The smell is powerful. The cigar has a USA wrapper, an Ecuadorian Binder, and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
- INCH Nicaragua: These cigars come in a 60, 62 and 64 ring gauges, each varying in length from 5 to 6 1/8 inches in length. Full-Flavored and Medium-Full bodied, this Nicaraguan puro is made with exclusive tobaccos hand selected by the Master himself. Very complex flavors of spice and earth, balanced by a sweetness that makes this cigar a joy to smoke.
Ready to try a Big Ring Gauge Cigar? Look for #whatmakesacigar to learn more about the process and skills practiced at E.P. Carrillo.