Updated: Sep 25, 2018
Strength, Body & Flavor
What is the difference or what do we mean when we describe a cigar with terms like strength, body, or flavor? We get this question a lot and want to give you some insight on what this means. These are terms we use to describe cigars to help you decide what cigar you want to smoke. They represent three different descriptors and we are going to take a look each.
The strength of a cigar is probably the biggest factor for most people when selecting a cigar, but should it be? The strength of a cigar is what your receptors react to and how they make you feel. The easiest way to describe this is when you first started smoking and you got a cigar that was a little too strong. You get that head rush or woozy feeling in your stomach. A lot of people experience this and stop smoking cigars. The nicotine is the key factor in this reaction. That’s why we recommend new cigar smokers start with a lighter strength cigar and work your way up.
We experience the body of a cigar through the effect the tobacco has on the touch and taste receptors in our mouth and nose. This is the way you feel the cigar on your palate and in your nose, not the way it tastes. We use terms like texture, richness, mouth feel, ect… A lot of people confuse body and strength. When someone says a cigar is full bodied that makes lighter strength cigar smokers shy away. What we mean when we say this is that the cigar has a more dense smoke or will cause your palate and nose to tingle when retrohale. It is similar to smelling spicy food. You can tell without tasting is that it has some sort of spicy flavor that causes the receptors in your nose to tingle and kick your salivary glands into overdrive.
Flavor is exactly what it sounds like. The distinctive taste of the cigar. If you have ever read cigar reviews from some online forums you will hear some crazy stuff on flavor. I saw one reviewer describe the flavor to have a hint of yellow highlighter. There are a large range of flavors you can get from a cigar but don’t stress too much about it. If you only taste earthy and leathery notes then that’s what you taste. If you get cotton candy and yellow highlighter then that’s what you taste. Not every person will taste the same cigar exactly as you do. That’s the beauty of cigars. Everyone has their favorite flavors. When we describe a cigar as full flavor we mean that the flavors stand out more than a mild flavor cigar.
Hopefully this will help you in your search for your next cigar and help you better understand what you hear or read when someone describes a cigar to you. As always, stay smokey my friends.