Just like no two cigar blends are the exact same, so too do the vitolas, or cigar shapes and sizes vary.
While a parejo, with its rounded cap and straight barrel, is considered "typical" by today's standards, some can find these straightforward cigar shapes to be a little... boring.
Like whiskey snobs or smoke-loving barbecue enthusiasts, many cigar collectors take delight in changing things up and trying different vitolas, or cigar shapes. The blends may be the exact same as the parejo alternative, but the length, circumference, shape, pressing, or cap can all bring a fresh feeling to an all-too-familiar blend.
Take tapered cigars for instance, or figurados as they are called in the factory. This form of vitola can offer a very different smoking experience, even when the blend and tobacco crop from a certain release date are the exact same.
Some say that the angles of a figurado enhance the flavors of the cigar, while others insist that it just makes puffing easier and feels good clenched between the teeth. While a tapered head and cap pretty much render the use of a punch or a V-cut useless, I personally like the perks of being able to easily control how much of the cap we cut off.
And while there are a bevy of unorthodox figurados out there to be had, the following styles are the most commonly encountered, and stocked here at Klaro.
Pyramids can typically be identified by their straight, parejo-shaped barrels, and sharply angled shoulders, heads, and pointed caps. While a length of anywhere above 6 inches is befitting of the style, the ring gauge of these cigars typically does not exceed 54 anywhere along the barrel or near the foot.
Often considered synonymous with the pyramid vitola, the traditional torpedo of old was actually quite different looking when it first gained popularity nearly a century ago.
Originally rolled with a closed foot, and a bulbous center, the torpedo of yesteryear looked more like a peculiar perfecto than the straight-barreled smoke that we know today. As for the torpedo of today... that ranges wildly in size (both in length and gauge) but always has a pointy cap. Occasionally, you will find box-pressed versions, which in my opinion always offer a unique smoking experience.
Perhaps my favorite vitola of all time, the belicoso comes finished with a short shoulder, and a rounded cap. This gives the appearance of a cigar that is somewhere between a traditional parejo and a torpedo. While they may be untapered from the shoulder forward, belicoso cigars can vary greatly in both length and circumference.
The perfecto vitola is typically formed with a large center barrel section and a long tapered angle toward each finished end. If you remember when cartoon characters were still allowed to smoke on screen, then chances are you know what these cigars look like in person.
That said, there are perfecto cigars out there rocking a parejo cap or a pigtail cap on one end and a sharply tapered or nipple foot on the other. So don't expect them all to carry the same structural genetics.
With its elongated, slowly sloping shoulder, pointy, torpedo-tipped cap, bulging barrel, and tightly clasped, nipple-like foot, the salomon vitola is about as unique-looking as it comes. While first rolled in larger proportions, (7+ inches long with a 57+ ring gauge), the mighty salomon saw a steady rise in popularity all the way up until the Cuban embargo.
All but forgotten for the past few decades, this vitola has recently received renewed interest from cigar manufacturers and smokers alike. Today, brands like Rocky Patel, La Flor Dominicana, and AJ Fernandez roll out their own spin on these labor-intensive sticks. Personally, we really dig the "petit-perfecto" version, with the playful little cigars shown above serving as a prime example.
Finally, there's the increasingly rare diadema, which combines attributes from some (or all) of these figurado styles, and rolls them into one. However, there is one thing about this figurado that is uniquely its own, and is true for every single stick, and that is its length. Which is at least 8 inches, so meh... I guess size does matter to some folks...