Editor’s Note: Over the weekend William Cooper of Cigar Coop posted a defense of big ring gauges. Cooper is a noted fan of the format, an anomaly in cigar media, as well as the industry as a whole. It was something—in my opinion—needed. So often people get caught up in their own personal biases against the format that they forget the larger picture and importance of those cigars.

I wholeheartedly agree with Cooper’s initial points. First, there is no doubt some blends work better in the larger ring gauge. The first one that comes to mind for me is the Padrón 1964 SI, a 6 x 60, and the Padrón WCD 125, a Corona Gorda. While there’s no doubt I would normally gravitate towards the latter, in this particular case the former is a better—much better—cigar. His second plank is that they are popular and that helps the industry, another crucial point. I’m a noted Lancero fan, but they don’t really sell, at all and rarely do you see newer smokers gravitating to the format.

His third argument is disappointing. “The cigar industry has bigger problems,” writes Cooper. He’s talking about the FDA and pending legislation. “While everyone is entitled to an opinion, such criticism can divide an industry that already needs to stick together and battle the external forces.” I should be clear, the FDA is the most serious issue facing the cigar industry. I’ve said it before and little has changed to provide any thought to revising its a priori status, but using the FDA as Cooper does is the ultimate cigar industry “we’ll agree to disagree.”

He’s not the first one to use it, it’s happened a multitude of times in our comments on halfwheel, but one truly is not related to the other. The FDA doesn’t excuse attempts at constructive discourse, the FDA does not serve as a reason why big ring gauge cigars are good (or bad) and it’s also not reverse causal. Big ring gauges will have no impact on the FDA or cigar legislation, unless I missed the part where they are debating whether we should continue to allow big ring gauge cigars specifically.

We can have productive conversation about the FDA and we can have productive conversation about big ring gauges, we just cannot do it at the same time, not until one is truly related to the other.


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  • Quesada TP40Q Heads to Tobacco Plaza in July — Brooks had the exclusive here.
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  • Crowned Heads J.D. Howard Reserve Boxes — Above via Jon Huber. Details here.
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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.