The three basic attributes of any cigar are color, shape, and size. Although wrapper colors are fairly well defined, size and shape descriptions may vary from brand to brand. The following should be taken as a general guide only; consult your tobacconist for more specific information.
There are six basic wrapper shades:
- Claro claro (also called candela): light green leaved that are heat-cured to fix the chlorophyll; slightly sweet.
- Claro: light tan; the neutral flavor lets the bunch flavor come through.
- Colorado: brown to reddish brown; imparts a rich flavor and subtle aroma.
- Natural: light brown to brown; most often sun-grown.
- Maduro: rich, dark brown. Rich strong flavor, mild aroma, and a slightly sweet taste are produced through maturation processes.
- Oscuro: very dark brown, usually obtained through longer growing and maturing.
Cigar shapes can be broken down into two categories: parejos (straight sided) and figurados (irregular shapes). Parejos include coronas, panatelas, and lonsdales. The most common figurados are the pyramid, belicoso, torpedo, perfecto, culebra, and diademas.
Although there are no standard sizes for each shape, there is a basic measurement standard. Length always precedes girth, and is read in either metric or U.S. If metric, dimensions are in millimeters; is U.S., length is inches, and the girth is 64ths of an inch. Thus a 6 x 42 corona is 6″ long and 42/64″ thick.