The Art of the Figurado: Top Seven Must-Try Cigars

Tercador Making Figurado Cigar

Figurado cigars stand out as the emblem of craftsmanship and tradition in the intricate tapestry of the cigar world. They embody the pinnacle of artistic expression in tobacco cultivation and cigar manufacturing. Unlike their straight-sided counterparts, also known as parejos, figurados boast an array of captivating shapes — from the sleek torpedo to the symmetrical perfecto and the majestic pyramid. Each vitola is not just an indication of the skill of the cigar roller but also a key influencer of the cigar’s burn, flavor profile, and overall smoking experience.

The art of the figurado goes beyond mere aesthetics. It unearths the very essence of smoking pleasure and offers aficionados a journey through nuanced flavors and meticulous construction. These cigars are crafted with an unparalleled attention to detail, requiring not only a selection of the finest tobacco leaves but also the hands of the most experienced torcedores (cigar rollers) in the world. The result is a smoking experience that is as unique as the shapes themselves, providing both seasoned enthusiasts and curious newcomers with moments of unparalleled enjoyment. Discover the blend of tradition, artistry, and innovation that makes each figurado cigar special — from its history and origin to the intricate details of its blend, craftsmanship, and the singular smoking qualities it offers. Whether you’re drawn to the mild, the full-bodied, or something in between, and regardless of your preference for regional tobacco profiles, there’s a figurado that promises to captivate your senses and elevate your appreciation for the art of cigar smoking.

Understanding Figurado Cigars

Figurado cigars are a category that stands apart for its novel shapes and distinct smoking experiences. They lie at the heart of the cigar world’s diversity and sophistication. Unlike the more common parejo cigars with their straight sides and uniform appearance, figurados break the mold by offering an array of silhouettes that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. From torpedos to pyramids, to perfectos and beyond, each figurado holds its own allure, challenging both the maker and the smoker to engage with cigars on a deeper level.

The Many Shapes of Figurados

  • Torpedo: The torpedo offers a concentrated draw that intensifies its flavors and is known for its pointed cap and straight or slightly bulging body.
  • Pyramid: Pyramids taper evenly from a broad foot to a pointed cap to allow the narrower head to focus the smoke for a more progressive flavor experience.
  • Perfecto: Perfectos provide a complex burn that highlights the blend’s subtleties from start to finish and are characterized by closed, pointed ends and a bulge in the middle.
  • Belicoso: Similar to the torpedo but with a shorter, more rounded point, belicosos are perfect for those seeking a focused draw without the sharp taper influences on Burn, Flavor, and Experience

The distinctive structure of figurado cigars do more than just catch the eye; they actively shape the smoking experience. The variations in diameter and length affect how the cigar burns and influences the intensity and progression of flavors. For instance, cigars that taper at the end, like torpedos and pyramids, can offer a more concentrated draw, allowing the smoker to encounter the blend’s depth more intensely. Conversely, perfectos might start with a milder flavor due to their narrower opening, gradually building in intensity before mellowing again toward the end.

These dynamic shifts in flavor and intensity aren’t just a byproduct of the figurado’s construction; they are a deliberate design, meticulously planned by the cigar’s blender and roller to showcase the tobacco’s range. This showcases the true skill involved in creating figurado cigars — from selecting the right blend of leaves to rolling the shapes to perfection, all done by hand. This meticulous handiwork ensures that each figurado cigar is not just a smoke but an event, offering a journey through flavors that are as intricate and varied as the stogies themselves.

The allure of figurado cigars lies not only in their visual and tactile appeal but in their ability to provide a smoking experience that is both nuanced and deeply satisfying. Whether it’s the precise cut required to open their uncommon tips or the careful lighting that sets the stage for an even burn, smoking a figurado is an exercise in patience and appreciation.

The Craftsmanship Behind Figurado Cigars

The creation of a figurado is an art form, requiring a level of skill and dedication that goes beyond the standard cigar-making process. It’s in these unique shapes where the talents of the torcedor truly shine, showcasing years of practice and an intimate knowledge of tobacco. The skill involved in making a figurado cigar is a tribute to the tradition and artistry that defines the cigar industry.

Mastery in Rolling

Figurado cigars stand in contrast to their parejo counterparts by demanding an exceptional degree of precision and expertise. The roller must carefully manage the distribution of tobacco leaves to ensure a consistent burn, especially in cigars that taper or bulge. This task involves a deep understanding of how different leaves will burn and how their flavors will develop over the course of the smoking experience. The roller’s ability to shape these cigars by hand, without compromising their structural integrity or aesthetic appeal, is nothing short of remarkable and takes many years to develop.

Selection and Blend

The blend of tobacco leaves within a figurado plays a critical role in its overall smoking experience, perhaps even more so than in classic cigar shapes. Given the variable diameters across the length of a figurado, the blend must be carefully chosen to complement these changes. The tobacco at the narrower parts of the cigar must burn at the same rate as the tobacco in the wider sections, requiring a methodical selection of leaves based on their burning characteristics and flavor profiles.

The Art of Aging and Fermentation

The craftsmanship of a figurado also extends to the aging and fermentation processes. These crucial steps ensure that the tobacco reaches its full potential to offer a smooth, rich, and complex flavor. For figurados, where the smoking experience can vary significantly from start to finish, the aging process is tailored to enhance the blend’s dynamic range, ensuring that each puff is as engaging as the last.

Why Such Artistry Matters

The talent behind figurado cigars is not merely for show. It’s an integral part of what makes these cigars so special. The attention to detail in rolling, the careful selection of blends, and the precise aging and fermentation processes all contribute to a smoking experience that is both luxurious and deeply satisfying. Smoking a figurado is not just about enjoying a premium cigar. It’s about appreciating the years of tradition, skill, know-how, and passion that have gone into its creation.

For devotees, the allure of figurado cigars lies in this intersection of art and artistry. Each stick is a celebration of the cigar maker’s art, offering an exceptional journey through flavors and intensities shaped by its form. It’s a reminder of the human touch in an increasingly mechanized world, a touch that brings depth, complexity, and a bit of magic to the smoking ritual.

Proper Techniques: Cutting and Lighting Figurado Cigars

It’s crucial to understand the correct methods for cutting and lighting figurados in order to fully appreciate their intricacies. These initial steps of cutting and lighting figurado cigars will significantly impact the smoking experience by highlighting the blend’s intended flavors, ensuring an even burn, and guaranteeing each smoke begins on the right note.

Cutting Figurado Cigars

The unusual shapes of figurado cigars require a thoughtful approach to cutting. The goal is to open the cigar in a way that maximizes airflow without compromising its structure.

  • Torpedo and Belicoso: Use a straight cut for cigars with a pointed end, such as torpedos and belicosos. Position the cutter slightly above the narrowest point of the taper, or about 1/16 to 1/8 inch from the tip. This allows for adequate airflow without unraveling the cap.
  • Perfecto: Perfectos often have a closed foot and a rounded head. The head requires a careful cut, while the foot will naturally open as it burns. Use a straight cut to remove just enough of the cap to create a smooth draw, being careful not to cut too much so as to avoid unraveling the cap.

Each cigar shape might demand a slightly different approach, but the principle remains the same: the cut should respect the cigar’s integrity while promoting a smooth draw and enjoyable smoking experience.

Lighting Figurado Cigars

Lighting a figurado cigar properly is just as important as cutting it correctly. The unconventional vitolas can present challenges, but with the right technique, you can ensure a flawless start to your smoke.

  • Toasting the Foot: Begin by toasting the foot of the cigar, which is especially important for figurados with a closed or narrow foot. Hold the cigar above the flame while rotating it slowly to evenly heat the tobacco leaves. This gradual heating helps prevent an uneven burn as you progress.
  • Lighting: Once the foot is toasted, place the cigar in your mouth and apply the flame to the foot while gently drawing air through the cigar. Continue to rotate the cigar to ensure the flame evenly ignites the tobacco. A soft flame or a single torch lighter is ideal for this task, offering precision without overheating the tobacco.
  • Checking the Burn: After lighting, examine the foot to ensure an even burn has been established. If any side is burning faster, you can gently blow on the foot to encourage an even burn or use the lighter to correct any unevenness.

The initial moments with a cigar set the tone for the entire smoking session. By carefully cutting and lighting your figurado cigars, you honor the craftsmanship that went into their creation and ensure that every puff reflects the blender’s intention. With these techniques in hand, even the most unorthodox shaped figurado can be enjoyed to its fullest, offering a smoke that is as rewarding as it is refined.

Exploring Figurado Cigars: A Must for Aficionados

The distinct world of figurado cigars presents an unparalleled journey for the cigar enthusiast. Beyond their eye-catching shapes and the craftsmanship they embody, these cigars offer a smoking experience rich in complexity and nuance. For aficionados, the exploration of figurado cigars is not just an indulgence but a necessary venture into the depths of cigar appreciation. Figurados command a special place in the pantheon of premium tobacco and should be a staple in every connoisseur’s collection.

A Spectrum of Tastes and Experiences

The varied shapes of figurado cigars—ranging from the pointed torpedo to the bulbous perfecto—impact not only their aesthetic appeal but also their burn, flavor progression, and overall smoking dynamics. Unlike their straight-sided counterparts, figurados offer a journey through ever-changing intensities and flavor profiles, making each smoking session its own adventure. The initial light, the heart of the smoke, and the final puffs can vary dramatically, offering an evolving narrative of taste that engages the smoker from start to finish.

Highlighting Craftsmanship and Blend Mastery

Each figurado cigar is a testament to the roller’s skill and the blender’s vision. The complexity of their vitolas demands precision in construction and an intimate knowledge of how tobacco flavors shape and shift over the course of the smoke. Choosing to light up a figurado is, in many ways, an acknowledgment and celebration of the artistry that goes into premium cigar making. It’s a smoking experience that’s as much about savoring the tobacco as it is about appreciating the hands that crafted it.

A Call to Exploration

For the cigar enthusiast, figurado cigars represent an endless horizon of discovery. Each shape, blend, and brand offers something distinct and challenges the smoker to expand their palate and deepen their understanding of the tobacco’s potential. The exploration of figurado cigars encourages a more engaged smoking experience, inviting fans to note the nuances in flavor and construction that set these cigars apart.

Top Must-Try Figurado Cigars in 2024

In the spirit of exploration and appreciation, here is a curated list of top seven must-try figurado cigars this year. This selection spans a range of intensities, origins, and flavor profiles, showcasing the best of what figurado cigars have to offer.

  • Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature Perfecto: A classic choice that combines Dominican filler and binder leaves inside a Cameroon wrapper, offering a medium-bodied smoke with notes of cedar and spice, and standing as a testament to the art of cigar craftsmanship. This cigar revives the traditional perfecto shape, showcasing the skill of Fuente’s master rollers. It offers a flavor journey from cedar and subtle sweetness to deeper notes of coffee and spice, ideal for reflective moments. 

    Pairing Suggestion: A medium-roast coffee for daytime enjoyment or aged rum for an evening indulgence enhances the cigar’s complex profile and makes it a perfect companion for leisurely pursuits or literary discussions.

  • Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series “Pirámide”: This pure Nicaraguan blend delivers complex flavors of cocoa, coffee, and earth, exemplifying the Padrón family’s commitment to quality and tradition. The craftsmanship and history of the Padrón brand, established in 1964, are evident in each puff. This rich tapestry of flavors is underscored by a subtle, natural sweetness. This stick is celebrated for its impeccable composition and bold flavors. The Pirámide is notable for its box-pressed shape and offers a blend of Nicaraguan tobacco aged for four years, offering a smooth yet complex smoking experience. 

    Pairing Suggestion: Enjoy it with a dark espresso or aged Scotch to accentuate its deep, robust flavors; a perfect choice for moments of contemplation or celebration.

  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado: The Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado, named in honor of the patriarch of the Oliva cigar legacy Melanio Oliva, is a masterpiece of Nicaraguan craftsmanship. This full-bodied cigar is crafted from a blend of Nicaraguan filler tobaccos grown in the Jalapa Valley and enveloped in a sumptuous Sumatra wrapper. It plays a symphony of rich chocolate, coffee, and spice notes, contributing to its complex flavor profile with an impeccable balance that showcases the skill of Oliva’s blenders and rollers. This award-winning Nicaraguan blend has earned acclaim for its superb craftsmanship and consistency. 

    Pairing Suggestion: Pair with a robusto coffee or a smooth bourbon on the rocks.

  • Davidoff Yamasa Pyramid: The Davidoff Yamasa Pyramid stands out for its innovative use of tobaccos from the challenging Yamasa region in the Dominican Republic, evidence of Davidoff’s pioneering spirit and dedication to uncovering new tobacco terroirs. This cigar combines a Yamasa wrapper and binder with filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, resulting in a rich and complex flavor profile. The craftsmanship is evident in its precise pyramid shape, which enhances the smoking experience by gradually intensifying the blend’s spicy, earthy notes with hints of coffee and nuttiness. The Davidoff Yamasa Pyramid is a celebration of innovation, offering an unparalleled and memorable smoking experience that reflects the brand’s relentless pursuit of excellence. 

    Pairing Suggestion: A smooth, aged rum or a full-bodied red wine, which complement the cigar’s depth and complexity.

  • La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull: Inspired by Spain’s Andalusian region, this Dominican figurado has a distinctive format that narrows at the head and foot, echoing the the clay smoking pipes used in Spain during the 18th century and reflecting a fusion of tradition and innovation. An intriguing shape and robust blend of Dominican fillers with an Ecuadorian wrapper make this cigar a memorable smoke and demonstrates La Flor Dominicana’s commitment to excellence. It’s celebrated for its blend of Dominican fillers and a special Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper cultivated exclusively for this cigar. This stick evolves beautifully and delivers a multitude of bold flavors of spice, leather, and cedar with a both a hint of savory and a hint of sweet at times. 

    Pairing Suggestion: A Tempranillo or Cabernet Sauvignon for a lighter choice, or a single malt Scotch or a spiced dark ale to go bold.

  • Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 Flying Pig: A unique, short and stout perfecto with a rich blend of seven tobaccos from seven different plantations. The Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 Flying Pig captivates with its one-of-a-kind shape and pigtail cap, a hallmark of Drew Estate’s famously innovative approach to cigar making. The stick is wrapped in a rich, oily Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper, and the result is a deep, complex flavor profile featuring notes of chocolate, coffee, and a hint of spice, underscored by a smooth, creamy finish. 

    Pairing Suggestion: A dark, aged rum or a stout beer enhance its bold flavors and make it a standout choice for aficionados seeking a truly singular smoking experience.

  • My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed: The My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed is a tribute to José “Pepin” Garcia’s father, born in 1922, and is a shining example of the Garcia family’s dedication to cigar excellence. This full-bodied Nicaraguan puro is made entirely from Nicaraguan tobaccos, including a dark, Habano Oscuro wrapper that contributes to its intense and rich flavor profile. Smokers can expect a complex blend of coffee, leather, and earthy flavors, with a peppery finish that is both striking and beautifully balanced. A layer of sweetness makes it unforgettable. 

    Pairing Suggestion: A dark, aged rum or a bold espresso matches and enhances the strength of this stick.

Each cigar on this list is a doorway to a new discovery, an invitation to experience the varied pleasures that figurado cigars can offer. Each selection is proof of the skill and passion of their makers, offering a one-of-a-kind smoking experience that reflects the rich traditions and innovations of the cigar world. Whether you’re drawn to the subtle complexities of a medium-bodied perfecto or the audacious intensity of a full-bodied pyramid, there’s a figurado cigar that will capture your imagination and delight your palate. These cigars promise moments of unparalleled pleasure and complexity enjoyed alone in contemplation or shared among friends.

Figurados stand guard to the artistry and tradition of cigar making. The exploration of these seven exemplary figurados is a journey across a landscape rich in complexity, craftsmanship, and flavor. Each cigar, from the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature Perfecto to the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed, tells a different story of heritage, dedication, and innovation. These selections not only highlight the skill involved in creating such intricate shapes but also offer an invitation to explore the nuanced pleasures that come from smoking figurado cigars.

As aficionados, the pursuit of these occasions connects us to the broader narrative of cigar culture that spans generations and geographies. Whether enjoyed in quiet solitude or shared among fellow enthusiasts, these cigars promise moments of reflection, celebration, and unparalleled enjoyment. The pairing suggestions aim to enhance these moments, elevating the sensory journey that each figurado offers.

Exploring these top figurado cigars enriches the smoker’s appreciation for their stories and flavors and the cigar craft generally. Doing so not only honors the legacy of the world’s finest torcedores and blenders but is also an opportunity to participate in a timeless ritual of enjoyment and contemplation. Here’s to finding your next favorite cigar among these distinguished figurados, and to the many exceptional smokes that await on your journey through the art of the cigar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a figurado cigar?

A figurado cigar refers to any cigar that is not straight-sided (like the more common parejo cigars) but instead has an irregular shape. This includes torpedos, pyramids, perfectos, belicosos, and more. These designs are known for their aesthetic appeal and the memorable smoking experiences they offer, often affecting the burn and flavor profile of the stick.

Why are figurado cigars often more expensive?

Figurado cigars are typically more expensive due to the higher level of expertise required to create their novel shapes. The rolling of figurado cigars demands seasoned artisans and more time, making them more labor-intensive compared to their parejo counterparts. Additionally, the complexity of their build can result in a more engaging smoking experience, adding to their value.

How do I cut a figurado cigar?

Cutting a figurado cigar depends on its shape. For tapered ends like torpedos and pyramids, a straight cut just above the narrow point is recommended. For perfectos with closed ends on both sides, you may need to clip both ends, though usually just the head (where you draw) needs cutting. Always use a sharp, high-quality cutter to ensure a clean cut.

Is there a specific way to light a figurado cigar?

Lighting a figurado cigar involves the same principles as lighting any cigar but requires extra attention to ensure an even burn. Start by toasting the foot (the end you’ll light) by holding the cigar above the flame and rotating it. Once the edges are glowing, put the cigar in your mouth, draw lightly, and continue rotating it over the flame until the end is evenly lit.

Can the shape of a figurado cigar affect its flavor?

Yes, the shape of a figurado cigar can influence its flavor and smoking experience. The variations in diameter along the length of the cigar can concentrate or dissipate the smoke, affecting how the flavors and strength are perceived. For example, cigars that taper at the head can offer a more focused draw and intensify flavors.

How should I store figurado cigars?

Figurado cigars should be stored just like any other cigars — in a humidor at around 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to their particular manufacturing process, ensure they are positioned in a way that will maintain their distinctive contours and prevents them from being crushed or deformed,.

Are figurado cigars suitable for beginners?

While figurados can be enjoyed by smokers of any level, beginners may find them more challenging due to their varying burn rates and the need for occasional adjustment in the draw. However, they offer a fantastic way to explore the nuances of cigar smoking, making them a rewarding choice for those looking to expand their palate.

How long do figurado cigars last when smoking?

The smoking duration of a figurado cigar varies based on its vitola (size and shape), as well as the pace at which you smoke. Generally, figurado cigars can last anywhere from 45 minutes to over 2 hours. The unusual shapes can also affect how quickly or slowly the cigar burns.

Can I pair drinks with figurado cigars?

Absolutely! Pairing drinks with figurado cigars can greatly enhance the smoking experience. The key is to match the intensity and flavor profile of the cigar with a complementary beverage such as coffee, spirits, wine, or beer. Lighter cigars pair well with lighter drinks, while fuller-bodied cigars can stand up to stronger, more flavorful beverages.

Why try a figurado cigar?

Trying a figurado cigar offers a rare encounter different from smoking traditional parejo-shaped cigars. The craftsmanship, aesthetic appeal, and varied smoking dynamics of figurados make them a fascinating exploration for any cigar enthusiast looking to deepen their appreciation for the art of cigar making.

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