Something both the industry and consumers get wrong: The differences between Body, flavor and strength.
In a perfect world when I am describing a cigar to a customer I would break it down into three categories (strength, flavor and body). While strength and body are the two most important elements of describing a cigar, I like to make things a bit more confusing. I like to separate body and flavor. I often hear people simply describe a cigar as mild, medium or full. However, that doesn’t really explain much when as a whole we misrepresent what that means. Let me try to break it down for you. This may get a bit confusing, but stick with me.
Strength should only refer to the cigars nicotine content and how it affects the body, or makes you feel. Nicotine can affect everyone differently. Additionally, it can affect the same person differently depending on what they have had to eat or how much sugar they intake while enjoying the cigar. A person needs to understand the nicotine content to know whether they can even appreciate the cigars body or flavor without feeling cigar sick.
Body and flavor are more closely related. When a cigar is considered full bodied, it should describe the depth of flavor not the level of nicotine. A cigar can yield a strong flavor, yet not have much depth of flavor(s).
Example: Warped Guardian of the Farm
My description of this cigar would be medium strength, medium flavor and full bodied.
Nicotine: I know it is there, but it doesn’t affect me significantly.
Flavor: There is plenty of flavor to enjoy, but you really have to think about what flavors you are tasting.
Body: There are a lot of transitions and complexity. There is some sweetness, some spice and some savory flavors.
As you continue on your cigar smoking journey, challenge yourself to try to identify each of these three characteristics. This will help you better understand what you really appreciate in a cigar and how to better select cigars in the future.
Note: Strength doesn’t equal experience. I smoke quite a few cigars and personally I do not do well with cigars that deliver a strong nicotine punch. We will take a deeper dive into this next week.