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Understanding Cigars: What’s the Difference Between Body and Strength?

Understanding Cigars: What’s the Difference Between Body and Strength?

Cigars are broken down into the following types to help you make an educated decision when selecting your next smoke:

  • Mild
  • Medium
  • Full

These distinctions are usually applied to body and strength, meaning that we often see classifications such as medium-bodied and medium strength. Usually a full-bodied cigar is also listed as full strength, but that’s not always the case.  Here’s why! 

What is the body of a cigar? 

As mentioned in our How to Smoke a Cigar Guide, body pertains to the depth (or fullness) of flavor in a specific cigar. The body of a cigar determines how much of it we can taste.  A mild-bodied cigar would be considered shallow, light on the palate, and would be akin to Bud Light, Reisling wine, or weak coffee.

What is the body of a cigar?

Conversely, a full-bodied cigar would be similar to scotch, strong coffee, Doppelbock beer, or Merlot wine.   To give you a better understanding, beer enthusiasts describe body as the thickness of a beer, wine enthusiasts describe it as the moath-coating density, and coffee enthusiasts describe it as the weight or density of flavor.

What is the strength of a cigar?

The strength of a cigar strictly refers to the nicotine content and the subsequent effect that it has on your body.  This makes cigar strength a relative term because we all react differently to nicotine according to our tolerances, body fat percentage, elapsed time of last meal, etc. 

A cigar that’s classified as having mild strength shouldn’t affect your body too much if it’s enjoyed as intended (without inhaling or smoking too fast.) Stronger cigars may impart the euphoric nicotine buzz or, if you’re smoking above your tolerance levels, the negative side effects of nicotine sickness.  If you’ve experienced vomiting, sweating, headaches, dizziness, or worse you’ve probably smoked a cigar that was stronger than you prepared for.

What is the strength of a cigar?

A cigar’s strength and body are correlated because the leaves that provide the most flavor also have the most nicotine.  In tobacco that is picked in stages, they begin harvesting leaves at the bottom and work their way up the plant over time. As the sun continues to impart it’s divine blessing from the cigar gods, subsequent primings provide the remaining leaves with more nutrients for growth.

Ligero is the last regular priming of a tobacco leaf (not counting the Corona or Medio Tiempo) and soaks up the most sun and nutrients over time. This leaf is oilier, thicker, has more flavor, and more nicotine than other primings.  Because of these characteristics, it’s a challenge to blend a full flavored cigar without full strength.  

To help you experience and taste the differences between body and strength, we’ve put together a sampler with a wide variety below!

Dunbarton Todos Las Dias Half Churchill

Body: Full

Strength: Full 

The difference between cigar body and strength: Full Strength Todos Las Dias

Speaking of the balance required to blend a full-bodied, full strength cigar, Steve Saka’s latest addition is like walking a tight rope with a 315lb barbell! Todos Las Dias (in the Half Churchill size) perfectly exemplifies a full-bodied, full throttle, full flavor cigar. And if you’re looking to see what even higher octane nicotine smokes like, pick up any other size for a high octane experience that should come with a helmet! 

Liga Privada T52

Body: Medium-Full

Strength: Medium-Full 

The difference between cigar body and strength: Medium-Full Strength Liga Privada T52

Liga Privada’s T52 is a classic example of a Medium-Full cigar in both body and strength.  The earth and cocoa nuances come together to form an experience that many claim is the greatest achievement from the Liga Privada line.  Interestingly enough, the infamous T52 wrapper uses stalk cut tobacco that wasn’t picked in primings but cut and cured all at once.

Illusione Haut 10

Body: Medium-Full

Strength: Medium 

The difference between cigar body and strength: Medium-Full Body Illusione Haut 10

Illusione’s Haut 10 builds in strength and intensity throughout the smoking experience.  Initially, a medium-bodied flavor profile lures you into wanting more before it gratifies you with exactly that, resulting in a crescendo of flavors. Haut 10 does all of this despite using a blend that’s Seco heavy, a lower priming of a tobacco plant.

Warped La Hacienda

Body: Medium

Strength: Medium

The difference between cigar body and strength: Medium Bodied Warped La Hacienda

Warped is known for producing flavorful, medium-bodied and medium strength cigars.  La Hacienda is iconic in this regard, often pointed to as the iconic Medium blend as well as the iconic Aganorsa puro.  The retro hale of this cigar features wonderful accents of fruit, nuts, and spice without overwhelming your senses.

Montecristo White Series

Body: Mild

Strength: Mild

The difference between cigar body and strength: Mild Montecristo White

The Montecristo White Series is a perfect cigar for beginners, coffee pairings, and cigar explorers.  In order to reset your baseline and remember what a mild cigar is, we invite you to try this Montecristo again.  This cigar delivers delicate, pleasant flavors with a true mild strength and body.


The difference between cigar body and strength Sampler


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