Knowing Your Cigar Shapes
While any discussion about cigar sizes can get very perplexing, a similar discussion about shapes should be much simpler. Basically, there are only two cigar shapes: "parejo" and "figurado." A parejo is a cigar that has straight sides and a rounded head. This description would apply to the majority of cigars made. On the other hand, a figurado is any shape other than a parejo. Over the years, manufacturers have further subdivided figurados into more specialized names, in part due to various nicknames that are associated with the cigars, or because of the new and exotic shapes that show off the artistry of the cigar-making craft. Below you will find the commonly found names for cigar shapes.
Parejo: In Spanish, this word means "flush," "even," or "straight." It is the basic cigar shape where the cigar has straight sides and a rounded head. Most commonly your Robustos, Coronas, Churchills and Lanceros.
Figurado: This is a generic term that refers to any cigar that is not of the Parejo shape. Could include Perfectos, Torpedos, Pyramids, and Belicosos.
Perfecto: A cigar that is tapered on both ends. Some Perfecto's have a "nipple-like" foot, or may have a uniform and gently tapering foot. Some are tapered toward the foot and then abruptly trimmed straight. In the "Figurado" illustration above, three of the four cigars are perfectos.
Pyramid (Spanish, "Pirámide"): A cigar that is thickest at the foot and gradually and uniformly tapers toward the head.
Belicoso: A figurado shaped cigar that tapers sharply at the head. The equivalent word in English would be, bellicose, which means ready or inclined to quarrel, fight, or go to war. This is a slang cigar term, which may refer to the fact that the cigar shape looks like some kind of munition. The term Belicoso refers to a cigar that tapers at the head. It is different from the Pyramid in that it does not start to taper until very close to the head, while the Pyramid starts tapering right at the foot of the cigar. It is also different than the Torpedo, which has a longer, gradual taper. [Note: This is my take on the distinctions between Belicoso, Pyramid and Torpedo. You will find that, manufacturers have their own ideas for how the shapes will be named and sometimes they do not agree.
Salomón: A Salomón is a very large Perfecto shaped cigar with a tapered, but usually flush-cut foot. Longer versions with a closed foot are often referred to as a Diadema.
Torpedo: A cigar with a gently tapered head that comes to a sharp point. Many modern Torpedo cigars should be more correctly termed as Pyramids, although not all Torpedos fit the exact description of a Pyramid. Further, you will often find cigars that are called a Torpedo by some manufacturers, while other manufacturers call that same cigar a Belicoso, or Pyramid.
Diadema: A perfecto-shaped cigar that is similar to a Salomón, but is slightly longer and thinner (See photo below under Salomón).
Cigar manufacturers seem to love to make exceptions to these above rules. For example, there are many cigars that are called Belicosos that appear to be pyramid-shaped or even perfecto-shaped. All in all, it is not an easy thing to keep straight when those who name cigars decide not to agree on a common definition for shapes.