Technically a cigar`s body and strength are two different things, they are however often closely related. If you’ve recently started smoking new world cigars, this post will help you understand the differences and hopefully help you pick some great cigars. If you’ve been smoking new world cigars for a while, keep reading, we may change some commonly held misconceptions.
Strength is about nicotine, pure and simple, now it’s important to say upfront that nicotine is on it’s own not a bad thing. A cigar’s strength and body are correlated, because the leaves that provide the most flavor also have the most nicotine. Most cigar tobacco is picked in stages (called primings), the leaves at the bottom are picked first, before the pickers work their way up the plant in stages. The longer the leaf remains on the plant the more sun and nutrients it receives. Ligero is often the last regular priming of a tobacco plant. This leaf is oilier, thicker, has more flavor, and more nicotine than other primings. Because of these characteristics, it’s a hard to blend a full flavoured cigar without full strength.
There are some beers (ever noticed how I get beer into every blog as well… ) most people will be familiar with that can help explain this really well - go buy some and you can claim it’s for research!
A mild cigar could be described like Carling larger (yeah I know just imagine you like Carling while I make the point!), it’s alcohol % is relatively low - that is the strength. It’s flavour is crisp and clean - it doesn’t linger on the palate - that is it’s body.
The Ashton Magum is a great example of a mild new world cigar, perfect for those new to cigar smoking or an early in the day smoke.
A medium cigar could be described like a London Pride, it’s alcohol is amped up from Carling, but it’s still at the relatively sane and safe level of just over 4%. So compared to Carling it’s medium strength. It’s flavours have more hoppiness to them, it’s richer and deeper in flavour. You can feel it coat your mouth. Compared to Carling it’s medium bodied.
The La Galera Habano Bonchero No4 is a great medium strength medium bodied new world cigar
A full cigar could be described like a Thornbridge Jaipur IPA. It’s alcohol is amped up again from the London Pride, we’re into the ‘more than 3 of these and I might be in trouble territory!’ at 6%. Compared to the previous 2 we’re now into strong territory. Flavour wise it punches you in the face - in a good way, full of hops, hints of grapefruit, it leaves every bit of your mouth alive and coated with flavour that will last quite a while. It’s definitely full bodied!
If you like it amped up to max it's harder to find a better full bodied full strength cigar than the Camacho Corojo!
Now clearly new world cigars don’t taste like the beers I referenced above, so just because you don’t like Carling, it doesn’t mean you won’t like mild cigars!
On our website all our cigars can be searched by strength to help you find the perfect new world cigar. Don’t think mild to medium cigars are only for beginners, finding the perfect cigar is often about the moment as much as the cigar. If it’s early in the day and I’ve got a coffee I will often have an Ashton Cordial, a very small very mild cigar. A little later in the day still with a coffee or maybe a white wine, A Don Lucas Classic, after a big steak dinner with a glass of rum or whisky, hell a Plasencia Alma Fuerte!