Smoking with the Pharaohs: 5 Pyramides to Experience

by Billy Ferriolo
Smoking with the Pharaohs: 5 Pyramides to Experience


Cigar shapes are a funny thing. Our preferences can come from anywhere, really.

It could be something functional, like that fact that we find a particular size and shape easy to hold. A petit corona, for example, at 5 x 42, is totally manageable. It’s light in the hand, narrow enough to fit comfortably in your mouth, and ashes easily.

But that’s just the start of things. Not everyone likes a light little cigar. Some people would find their manhood challenged by that, and need to hold a smoke that truly represents all that is man. So there are many cigars that increase the length and girth ring gauge a bit.

There’s other things to consider. One underrated aspect is aesthetics. Cigars that look cool are fun to smoke. A cigar that has an interesting shape can be a conversation piece, or it can simply break up the monotony of life. Why smoke something that looks like a scaled up cigarette when there are cigar rollers than can practically roll tobacco like a kid’s party clown puts together balloon animals? Master torcedores can do incredibly impressive things, so why not make use of their skills with interesting shapes?

This also ties into how a cigar smokes – the experience. The shapes and sizes aren’t just for rollers to show off. Instead, they can be adjusted with a particular purpose in mind. For example, a shaggy foot to allow for the filler to shine first, or a perfecto that has a tapered foot and is easy to light. The shapes of the head end also have an effect on how the cigar will draw. Taper it and you concentrate the smoke. Press it and you change how it fits in the mouth, allowing for greater aeration.

Oh yeah, there’s a whole field of engineering devoted to the study of cigar shapes.

Which brings us to the “pyramide” or “pyramid” cigar (we’ll use both).

Stand a pyramid cigar on its foot and you’ll see it – the wide base, tapering as you climb up to the narrow head. It’s an elongated triangle, really, but the pyramid shape is impossible to miss. The foot is nice and wide, but at the head you’re getting a nice concentration of smoke for a dense draw that really packs in everything the pyramid cigar has to offer. They’re a fun shape to hold, really easy to smoke, and make you feel like you’ve got a tiny bat in hand.

So, now that you know what a pyramide cigar is, are there any to check out? Well of course! Let’s go off the beaten path and highlight some that you may not have heard of.

Herrera Esteli Pyramide Fino

This was the first cigar that put Drew Estate onto the Cigar Aficionado Top 25 list. At #8 with 94 points in 2013, this blend was responsible in part for launching Drew Estate and Willy Herrera to greater fame. The cigar still commands respect all these years later, most recently grabbing a 91-point rating in 2020. This medium strength smoke offers up a nice woody and leathery core, but finishes on caramel sweetness. It’s a really enjoyable blend and a solid example of what a Cubanesque cigar can be using a variety of tobaccos. The Herrera Esteli Pyramide Fino cigar brings in a bunch of different leaves, showing that Willy knows how to branch out from the fields surrounding La Gran Fabrica in Nicaragua. While the filler blend uses Nicaraguan tobacco, the binder is a well-chosen Honduran leaf, and the wrapper is Ecuadorian habano oscuro. All of these tobacco flavors mix together in a tasteful balance that reveals Herrera’s talent as a blender.

And then there’s the shape.

As a 6 x 52 pyramid cigar, the Pyramide Fino offers a smoking experience that’s a little different than what you might be used to with standard parejo cigars (cigars with straight parallel sides). Toast up the wide foot and you’ll get a number of tobaccos going, but unlike a “normal” cigar, each draw will be concentrated once you’re pulling from the head. The flavors will be mixed together a bit more fully, giving you a more consistent, uniform taste. Think it’s B.S.? Obviously, the effect is not a massive difference, but premium cigars are often about subtle adjustments, so if you find that you enjoy it, we’re offering a bit of explanation behind the shape.

Also, a note about cutting: start with just a few millimeters off the top. If the draw is too tight, you’ll need to move in a few more. The goal is to keep a nice concentrated draw and to avoid getting rid of all the taper, which is literally the point of the pyramid cigar. You can also do a cut at an angle if you want smoke to be directed upward (one last experiment for those who want to try something new).

Romeo 505 Nicaragua by Romeo y Julieta Piramide cigar

The Romeo 505 is an aggressive, romantic cigar, to be sure.

This Nicaraguan puro features tobacco from Plasencia farms in Estelí, Condega, and Jalapa. This means that, from filler to wrapper, you’re getting a taste of Nicaraguan soil through and through. Nicaraguan leaf has a lot to offer, and although we might tend to think of each country’s tobacco as having a particular character, most cigar fans understand that there can be tremendous variety within a single nation’s tobacco. Hell, even at a single set of family farms you can get wildly different kinds of leaf. So Romeo y Julieta’s Romeo 505 pyramid cigar is anything but boring.

In reality, this pyramid turns up the spice one notch higher than you might expect. It’s a bold smoke with a ton of personality, earning an 89-point rating from Cigar Aficionado. At 6 ½ x 54, you’re getting a really big format cigar, too. You’ll definitely be feeling all the potency of the medium-full strength of this one. It’s got that dark oily wrapper leaf that signals you that you’re in for a serious smoke. Leather, spice, cocoa, and lots more all await, and because it’s a pyramid cigar, you’re getting a fully concentrated draw of the flavors each time. Fans of potency and a zesty kick will get what they came for, and the shape will remind you of the ancient structures of Latin America.

What, you didn’t think it was only the Egyptians building pyramids, did you?

Partagás Black Label Piramide cigar

Boy, this one doesn’t play around. Just look at it! This chubby 6 x 60 mother comes in a black box and has a deliciously dark wrapper leaf. Beginners need not apply – leave this one to the seasoned smoke hounds. It’s a cigar that’s ready to bring full body and full flavor to anyone who needs a big smoke to really get in the groove. We’re miles away from sophisticated Ashton and Davidoff Connecticuts here.

Where to begin?

Okay, inside, the filler blend on the Partagás Black Label pyramid cigar includes both Nicaraguan and Dominican long filler tobacco. If you want the full name, you’ll see some “piloto Cubano ligero” in there, bringing intensity to the blend. Then comes the binder, a Dominican “La Vega Especial.” Apparently, you can’t get into this cigar if you’re just some plain old tobacco type – you need a unique name that communicates what you’re about. To finish things off is an absolutely sultry Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. Beautifully fermented and rich like the soil it came from, this one brings powerful flavors of char and licorice to the smoke.

At 87 points, you’re getting a smoke that’s a little more off the beaten path for people who focus only on top-rated blends. But if you’re after rustic cigars that set aside refinement for character, you might have a good night with this fatty.

This pyramid cigar is rolled to rock.

Trinidad Espiritu

Forget modern life. Forget modern cigars. Sometimes you just want to go back in time and smoke something that reminds you of decades gone by – even if you never experienced them firsthand. We’re still working on that time machine, but while we all wait, we can all enjoy cigars that are built using vintage tobaccos chosen to reflect an older blending style and smoker preferences.

For example, the Trinidad Espiritu.

This is a pyramid (or perhaps a belicoso) cigar that brings up memories of island-rolled smokes of yesteryear. Back in the Johnson administration, people were enjoying cigars from the Caribbean of a certain type. When they weren’t enjoying American Market Selection double claros (green and grassy candela-wrapped smokes), they were smoking island cigars that had easygoing natural flavors and a hint of spice.

The Espiritu pyramid cigar has found some success trying to emulate that flavor profile by using classic leaf varietals for a taste that Cigar Aficionado described as a mineral core, with notes of nuts and cocoa powder. These aromas garnered an 89-point rating, and marked this Nicaraguan puro cigar as one to put on the list if you’re looking for a cigar with a bit of a different shape. It’s
6 1/8 x 52, so you’ll get plenty of mileage out of it, and with medium-full strength, you’re going to get the potency and intensity that makes a cigar such an escape.

Want a quick peek at a different time? Check out this Roi-Tan commercial from forever ago.

Don Lino Africa Kifaru pyramid cigar

You already know this one has Cameroon tobacco, right? You can’t blend up a cigar called “Africa” and leave out that signature exotic leaf. Don Lino certainly did not, and this one certainly uses a nice authentic crop of tobacco to bring in that signature aromatic woody note.

Actually, it wasn’t “Don Lino” but AJ Fernandez who put this one together in Nicaragua. After many years on the market, the blend needed a revamp. AJ is one of the best in the business, so we consider fans of this popular line lucky to get a reissue produced by capable hands.

As you might expect, AJ relied on his tried-and-tested Nicaraguan tobacco for the filler (using leaves from Ometepe, Jalapa, and Estelí), and included Dominican piloto as well for a bit of rich earthiness. The Cameroon leaf then shows up as the binder, bringing its character to the smoke right in the center of the pyramid-shape cigar. Outside, the wrapper is a fantastic tawny brown Ecuadorian Habano 2000.

The flavor is quite something to experience. The Cigar Aficionado judges were in the meadow with this one, tasting tea, black cherry, and licorice. Herbal notes like that are quite common when trying to place the exact taste of a cigar using genuine African tobacco. It’s an 88-point smoke that gives ample size at 6 ¼ x 52. Take in medium-full strength draws and imagine what Miami Cigar Co.’s Nestor Miranda (the originator of the blend) originally encountered on a faraway continent that made him so inspired.

The Don Lino Africa Kifaru pyramid cigar has a side that’s wild and wonderful, just like Africa itself.