Let’s identify the distinctive parts of a cigar, then look at its composition. Understanding the terms used for the anatomy of a cigar will help with understanding some of the articles on this site, and talking with people familiar with cigars.
Here is a basic diagram of a cigar and the terms used for each part.
Head – The end of the cigar that you will be smoking from. Normally this end is closed and capped to be cut before smoking, but some smaller cigars come with an open head.
Foot – this end of the cigar is where you will toast and light your cigar. It is usually an open end, and does nit require to be cut. Sometimes these ends have a decorative cover for presentation that needs to be removed before lighting, like a label band or a cedar wrapping.
Heater – The burning tobacco at the foot end while smoking. The heater itself is the glowing red embers that usually is covered by the grey ash. If ever the ash falls off, or you tap it off like a cigarette, the heater will actually remain burning and not fall off the cigar.
Body – The entire structure of the cigar between the head and foot.
Cap – The cap of a cigar is a small piece of tobacco that the cigar maker uses to cover, and strengthen the head of the cigar. When you cut a cigar you should always do so somewhere on the cap. You should not cut the cigar unless you have no options above the cap on the body of the cigar. The cap keeps the tobacco binder and wrapper from unraveling when cut.
Band – Most cigar makers/manufacturers have a band that represents the brand. This can be manufacturer wide or cigar line specific. You need to remove the band before it is lit. I tend to leave mine on as i smoke until the heater gets close to it.
Ring Gauge – The diameter or thickness of the cigar is its ring gauge. It is measured in 64th of an inch, where a 64 ring gauge is 1 inch thick.
Length – This is pretty straightforward. The length of the cigar is measured from the foot to the head in inches. This is true even though you may be in a country that uses the metric system.
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