When hunting for cigars, you will often come across the words medium, mild and full to describe the body or strength of the smoke. Body and strength are two factors that might seem somewhat interchangeable, or might even be mistaken for the other. Whilst it is fairly common for a cigar’s strength and body to be the same, for example, medium strength and medium body, this is not always the case. Body and strength actually refer to two separate things, and aren’t always matched up.
Here are the differences between cigar body and cigar strength.
What is Cigar Strength?
The strength of a cigar is based on the nicotine content – whilst the term strength gives an idea of how intense the nicotine level will be in the cigar, it is something of a relative descriptor, as many different factors can contribute to how your body reacts to nicotine.
For example, you can be more or less affected by nicotine depending on when you last ate; for the most part though, mild strength cigars won’t have that much of an effect, whereas full strength cigars may give you a bit of a nicotine buzz. This can go into the negative, as smoking a cigar that is too strong for your body to handle at that moment, you could develop nicotine sickness.
There are many different misconceptions about the strength of cigars. The well-known phrase, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ certainly applies to cigar wrappers and their strength. It has been a long-held belief in the cigar community that the darker the wrapper, the stronger the cigar. Whilst this used to be a fairly safe rule to follow, it doesn’t always apply to modern cigars. Although the wrapper will play a part in the strength of the cigar, most strength comes from the filler which makes the colour less of an indicator.
What is Cigar Body?
The body of a cigar refers to the depth of its flavour – meaning how much of the flavour can be detected and tasted, and how intense these flavours are. A good way of looking at it would be to compare it to drinks. A full-bodied wine will be deeper and richer, with bolder notes and thicker mouth-feel, whereas mild-bodied wine will be fresh, light and zesty.
Body and Strength
Whilst discussed above, body and strength are different things, there are some strong correlations between them. This is due to the fact that the tobacco leaves that contain the most nicotine are also the most flavourful. Therefore it is fairly typical for a cigar’s strength and body to fall under the same descriptor (mild, medium, full).
When looking to try cigars based on their strength and body, it is important to consider what you can handle. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you start off with milder bodied and mild strength cigars – jumping in head first with a strong cigar isn’t always advised, as you might not be ready and it could put you off cigars for good.