Spring has sprung here in Washington, D.C., and with it comes a renewed energy and enthusiasm for enjoying a great cigar. It’s perfectly understandable: the days are longer, with the sun bringing its warmth without the harsh humidity of summer. The cherry blossoms have bloomed, and the city is awash with tulips, daffodils and irises.
Many of us are hard at work in our spare time preparing the perfect backyard settings, perhaps with a little new mulch here, cleaning some upholstered patio furniture there… After all that hard work, it begs the question, what to smoke? It seems only appropriate to mark these first truly beautiful days outdoors with something special.
Avo Cigars has inspired this post with their first Limited Edition of the year: Avo Seasons- Spring 2023. Aside from its elegant packaging, and recognizing that only 1,500 boxes were made for the U.S., the Avo Seasons is striking at the outset because of its beautiful figurado shape.
What exactly is a figurado, and what makes it a great choice for a special moment? Are there some that truly stand out?
According to Tobacconist University, a figurado refers to any cigar that does not have straight sides (known as parejos). This could include torpedos, diademas, salamones and perfectos. To keep it simple, torpedos are like pyramids, small at the head and tapering out up to be much wider at the foot. Diademas and salamones are generally 7 to 8 inches in length, and bulge in the middle. Perfectos are also tapered at both ends, and are usually 5 to 6 inches in length. Of course, every manufacturer has their own unique take on these shapes— some with rounded caps and others pointed, and variations abound on length, ring gauge, and where the widest point will be along the length of the cigar. Even the choices made in how they spell the names of their shapes will keep any writer in the industry on their toes.
There are however a few characteristics you’ll find in common with these beautiful shapes.
Figurados require exceptional skill to roll and are thus the domain of only the most experienced rollers in a factory. For example, the creation of the Padron 1926 Serie 80 Years is only trusted to one roller. Thank you, to whomever you are, as that is an incredible cigar whether you choose the Natural or Maduro wrapper.
With their tapered shapes, figurados also lend themselves to being even more nuanced in their taste as you smoke them. For example, the Ashton Estate Sun Grown (ESG) has received numerous accolades and high ratings, as it uses only the best aged tobaccos from the Chateau de la Fuente and a Dominican wrapper that no one has perfected like Carlito Fuente. That said, the 24 Year Salute, the last shape created for the ESG line stands out among the rest because of its elegant, tapered shape. The shape allows for more intrigue to build. Some will say that notes of graham cracker and cinnamon develop with more spice as the cigar is smoked…. I still can’t perceive the kitchen pantry in any cigar, but I certainly appreciate it as an exceptional cigar worthy of a special moment.
Paul Garmirian has created one of my favorite cigars for an evening of leisure in this category, the P.G. 20th Anniversary Symphony Salomones. Once again, it’s a blend enjoyed in any shape, but the Salomones is truly special. With a 57 ring gauge at its widest and 6 7/8 inches in length, I would normally shy away from such a beast. Enter the beauty of a figurado’s taper at the head, which allows you to enjoy a wide ring gauge without feeling like you might break your jaw while smoking it.
For another medium to full bodied blend, the Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V features 10 year aged tobaccos, all hailing from Nicaragua. The Plasencias have been growing tobacco and making cigars for other companies since 1865, and only in 2017 started producing cigars that carry their name. They have quickly become staff and customer favorites.
With so much to do on a beautiful sunny day, you may be short on time. In this case, the Davidoff Aniversario Short Perfecto is a perfect choice, if you’ll excuse the pun. With Dominican filler and binder wrapped in a beautiful Connecticut Shade wrapper from Ecuador, this blend is a wonderful medium-bodied smoke that can be enjoyed by connoisseurs and beginners alike.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Rocky Patel has created one of our favorite mild perfectos, the Vintage 1999 Connecticut. Just 4 inches long, this little nugget is full of flavor but mild and easy to smoke, especially at less than $10 per cigar.
This Caucus Brief Collection of Fabulous Figurados is by no means exhaustive. There are many other wonderful cigars that feature this shape that we love, and we hope to catch you on a sunny day in Georgetown soon to talk more about them and perhaps smoke one together!