Do you shy away from a big fat stick?

Stogie Talk17 Comments on Do you shy away from a big fat stick?

Do you shy away from a big fat stick?


Every single cigar shop across the country has that one guy. You know the one. “An 80 ring gauge! For Christ’s sake, smoking that must be like putting your mouth around a big ol’…” You get the idea.

Regardless of the phobias some people have about big ring cigars, they seem to be all the rage. I can remember a time six or seven years ago when I didn’t like smoking anything larger than a 50. Now I’ll have the occasional 64. In the end, it is more about taste than it is for my feelings on girth.

This brings up an interesting question though. At what point does it stop being about perceived value and more about a niche or gimmick? Take for example the Asylum in the monstrous 80 ring gauge. I seem to remember a press release recently stating that they were releasing that cigar in large format trays to be purchased by retail tobacconists. I can’t think of a single occasion where I saw someone smoking something that large in a cigar shop.

If companies like Asylum are marketing regular production cigars in an 80 ring gauge, I can only think that there must be a market for them. My question to you is this, who is smoking them? My experience with 60+ ring gauges is that they can really water down the taste. If that is the case with a 60, I can only imagine how watered down a cigar 5/16″ larger in diameter must taste.

What is your favorite large format cigar?

enjoying cigars since 2005

17 thoughts on “Do you shy away from a big fat stick?

  1. I’m almost always disappointed in large ring gauge sticks. 56 is about the biggest I’ll go, and I tend to stay with 50s.

  2. The Flying Pigs, Feral and Undercrown, from Drew Estate are the largest ring gauges I’ve tried, but they’re perfectos. I liked both, but I also like the UC Corona Viva more than either. I’d say large rings in a perfecto are worth a try for me because of the novelty, but otherwise I don’t bother.

  3. I really like man o war immoral warhorse I also think this on going bigger ring thing is getting out of hand last year 70s this year 80s next year 90s where is the line people where going to run out of tobacco God forbid

    1. Rory,
      I’m not familiar with the Man O War Immoral but if they increase the ring gauge by ten every year, I think you are right. That is getting a bit out of hand.

  4. I find them awkward to smoke. Moreover, I always seem to run into burn issues with anything 60 and above. If I am smoking one I will generally use a punch instead of cutting as the draw seems less airy that way. My experience is the flavors are never as good in a large ring gauge as in a blend’s smaller frontmarks. This is especially so with milder smokes. I have smoked several Oliva CT Reserve robustos and liked them quite a bit. However, I thought the Double Toro version of that cigar was quite forgettable.

    1. Anthony,
      There are a handful of cigars that I kind of prefer in a larger format over the smaller ones. The Oliva Connecticut Reserve is one of those sticks. I also like the EPC New Wave in a larger format (I prefer the Robusto but won’t turn down the 60)

      When smoking a big ring gauge, I like shaped cigars like a perfecto or torpedo. The smaller head makes the cigar a little more manageable and less unwieldy.

  5. Walt I agree with on the shapes the la prela Havana wide torpedo seems to be the pick of the litter

  6. The La Gloria Serie R’s seem to shine in the 60 ring format. Only thing I can think of that I’ve enjoyed in a 60.

  7. Walt,

    I’ve found that the primary factor is whether the cigar was blended for that size. One of the few 60 RGs that I have really enjoyed was the Diesel Shorty, which comes only in the 4.5×60 size.

    Personally, for me it’s mostly a matter of physical comfort, but the vast majority of big ring gauge cigars I have had simply have had too much of a filler to wrapper/binder ratio that puts strength and smoking time over flavor. As for economy, I would much rather have two $4.50 flavorful petit coronas over a so-so $7-$8 60+RG.

    It’s funny that you should mention Asylum. I have really enjoyed their core line in pettit corona, and the Asylum 13 in both robusto and 99 Problems lancero, and really have no desire to get into the bigger sizes.

    Great topic, but one that will probably never be resolved (and perhaps shouldn’t be), as everyone has their own take on it, for a variety of reasons. As an aside, I notice that or mutual friend Mike Forry, who was once an avid proponent of large ring gauges and long smoke times, seems to be more open to the smaller RGs nowadays, lol. Maybe he’s just turning into an old fart like me. Not that he has abandoned the big ones, though As always, it’s simply a matter of personal preference, which means that no one is either right or wrong..

  8. When it comes to larger ring gauges, there is definitely a market. On the retail side, we sell a rather large amount of the 770 and 680 sizes. Not to a lot of people, but those who like them are pretty loyal to the size. The market for them, where I am anyway, is a niche market, but an important one. That being said, the largest cigar I have tried was the Asylum 7×70 and cared nothing for it. Like has been mentioned before, the flavor was very much “watered-down,” and the size was completely unmanageable. Aside from that, the burn was terrible.

    I live in the realm of 38-52 gauge. On occasion I will smoke a sixty ring, but only when the blend demands it. The few I enjoy in that large size, that I don’t think compromise on flavor or construction, are the EPC Inch, Animal Cracker, and the Oliva Connecticut 660.

    I put large ring gauges in the same category as things like culebras, triangle pressed, presidente (A), etc. There may not be a shit ton of fans of it, but there will always be some people who gravitate toward them.

  9. I totally shy away from the HUGE format (60+)…I’m still (and always will be) a slim ring kinda guy. I’ve tried smokes that are 60+rg becasue I thought it was a better deal or I’m getting “more for my money” but I always go back to the corona, lancero, robusto, or even a toro..I go where the flavor is…I find that this huge ring sticks lose the wrapper/binder/filler ratio balance…not only that, they are just plain old jawbreakers and are uncomfortable for a “traditional” smoker like me.

  10. I never smoke any cigar larger than a 50 gauge.

    Never. I don’t care how good it’s reputed to be.

  11. My preference is for the smaller RGs. That being said, I have been surprised by some of the larger vitolas (e.g., I like the Tatuaje Havana VI in the smaller rings, but was surprised by the 6×60 vitola).

    I thought this was the case too for the E.P. Carillo New Wave. I first had the robusto and thought (being a small RG fan) that the corona would be amazing. I bought a box, had a couple, and hated it. I came to the conclusion that the New Wave only worked in larger rings (which it does). Fast forward 18 months. I was in the mood for a shorter smoke and found the box of New Wave corona near the bottom of my cooler. I thought to give them another shot and boy am I happy I did. These get amazing with age and have features that you won’t get in the larger vitolas.

    There are a lot of gimmicky sizes out there, some with smaller rings, some with larger ones. The 6×60 seems to have made the transition from atypically large to mainstream as a result of market demand. Your 70 and 80 rings have not yet. Contrary, perhaps, to common belief, the lancero vitola was first introduced in 1982 and only became a “typical” size after testing the vitola in the market. Today, Cuba is introducing more and more larger ring smokes.

    To me it’s like a flattening bell curve; at the moment, it is flattening fast on large vitola side of the curve and the only pattern I see is an increasing diversity in tastes for cigars.

  12. I think I have a different understanding of the word ‘HUGE’ – I think of the Martinez Bazuka cigars, which are so successful they have their own website for orders, separate from the main Martinez site. These can be between 105 and 130 ring. Smoke well and are a most enjoyable smoke.

  13. I’ve been smoking for over 35yrs now, and I usually don’t go past a 60 gauge. I will pull out an Asylum 7×70 with a smooth cognac on occasion though. I can understand how Asylums and (good lord) BAZUKAS can be a little redundant to some folks. They tend to come off as more of a novelty like Graycliff’s Big Bamboo which comes in at 14×50. And I agree with what someone said in an earlier comment. Sometimes the flavors are a bit on the lighter side. Definitely conversation starters for smokers who’ve never seen them in the flesh.

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