Whether it’s to save time, laziness, or simply the “cool factor”, newer (and stranger) cigar terms seem to pop up constantly! Sometimes, as with the infamous “Herf”, no one really even knows their origins… Nevertheless, it can be an enormous help navigating the cigar community to simply have the basics of cigar terms, buzzwords, and acronyms under your belt!

Use this page as a quick and easy reference to the most commonly used cigar terms.



Bloom
/blo͞om/
Noun
The crystallization of oils, forming on the surface of a cigar’s wrapper. This is a rare, highly sought-after quality that shows a cigar has been well-aged. Also referred to as “plume”. Often confused with mold.
B&M
Brick and Mortar
Noun
A local cigar shop.
Bomb
/bäm/
Verb
Sending an unexpected gift of free cigars.
BOTL/SOTL
Noun
Brother (Sister) of the leaf.
CA
Cigar Aficionado
Noun
A person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about cigars.
Noun
Popular cigar magazine.
Ca·noe
/kəˈno͞o/
Verb
An uneven burn – when a cigar burns more quickly on one side over the other.
CC
Cuban cigar
Noun
A cigar manufactured in Cuba.
Cel·lo
/ˈseˈlō/
Noun
Cellophane used to store and protect cigars.
Cigar Pass
Noun
A bundle of cigars that is delivered (passed along) to a predetermined list of participants. Each member of the Cigar Pass will choose cigars to take from the bundle, replacing them with cigars of similar or greater value.
Draw
/drô/
Verb
Pulling smoke through a cigar and into the mouth. Cigars can be described as having an easy, medium, or firm draw – this is a common factor to consider when rating a cigar.
Dry Box
Verb
Removing a cigar from its humidor prior to smoking it (usually around 1 day) in an attempt to bring the humidity down, making for a better burn (In theory).
EL
Edición Limitada
Noun
The Cuban version of a “limited edition” cigar.
Herf
/hərf/
Noun
An event or gathering of cigar smokers, with the intention of smoking cigars together.
ISOM
Island South of Miami
Noun
Referring to Cuba.
LE
Limited Edition
Noun
A cigar that has been produced in a limited quantity, usually a single-run production.
Li·ger·o
/lēˈherˈō/
Noun
A type of tobacco leaf found near the top of the plant. These leafs are among the strongest found on a tobacco plant, they are used to give a cigar strength, body, and spice.
Mad·dy
/ˈmadē/
Noun
A cigar that uses a maduro wrapper.
Ma·zo
/ˈmôsō/
Noun
A bundle of cigars. Mazos are bound with a ribbon after rolling, they are then unbound and placed in cellophane, or placed into the cigar box in mazo form, known as a “Cabinet Selection”.
Mold
/mōld/
Noun
Living fungus that may grow on cigars, potentially spreading throughout entire humidors. Mold has a web, or fuzz-like appearance and is often three-dimensional in structure. Mold is found in blue, white, green, gray, and yellow hues on cigars. Often confused for the desirable plume (or bloom).
Nat·ty
/ˈnadē/
Noun
A cigar that uses a natural wrapper.
NC
Non-Cuban
Noun
A cigar manufactured outside of Cuba.
Off The Truck
Phrase
A term used to describe a cigar that was smoked without proper acclimation.
OR
Original Release
PIF
Pay it forward
Noun
A special cigar-giving event in where a large group of participants send cigars to other participants. No person sends cigars to the same person they receive cigars from. Created as a response to the (sometimes) negative outlook towards cigar bombing.
Plume
/plo͞om/
Noun
The crystallization of oils, forming on the surface of a cigar’s wrapper. This is a rare, highly sought-after quality that shows a cigar has been well-aged. Also referred to as “bloom”. Often confused with mold.
Purge
/pərj/
Verb
Blow into, rather than draw on the cigar in an effort to reignite the cigar’s burning ember. Also used to rid the cigar of unwanted tarry flavors, as tar builds up around the head after continuously drawing on the cigar.
Pu·ro
/po͞orō/
Adjective
Spanish for “pure”, puro is used to describe a cigar that consists of tobaccos entirely of a single country. All Cuban cigars are puros, as they use only Cuban tobaccos.
Ret·ro·hale
/ˈretrōˈhāl/
Verb
Exhaling smoke through the nostrils. This is done to increase sensitivity to a cigar’s flavor.
RG
Ring Gauge
Noun
Measurement to determine the size (thickness) of a cigar, measured as 1/64″ of the cigar’s diameter – i.e. a cigar with a ring gauge of 64 is 1 inch in diameter.
RH
Relative Humidity
Noun
Used to describe humidity levels of cigar humidors. Commonly used RH levels are between 64% – 70%.
Spills
/spilz/
Noun
Typically made from Spanish cedar, spills are strips of wood used to light a cigar. They are commonly thought to be the purest method by which to light a cigar, as there are no unwanted flavors or aromas.
Toast
/tōst/
Verb
Applying flame (not directly) to the foot of a cigar before making the first draw. Used to create an even burn.
Tun·nel
/ˈtənl/
Verb
An uneven burn, occurring on the inside of the cigar. This occurs when the cigar’s filler burns more quickly than the wrapper, resulting in (often) many touchups. Often caused by over-humidification or thick, oily wrappers.
Vi·to·la
/vētōlä/
Noun
Describing a cigar’s size and shape – a 5″ x 52 cigar is classified as a robusto vitola.

We have intentionally included only what we feel are the more common terms as well as terms people often ask about. If you see a cigar term or phrase you’d like added to the list, simply let us know in the comments below!