Describing a Cigar: Body and Strength


Meat is murder! Tasty, tasty murder.
Body, to me, is depth of flavor and mouthfeel. If a cigar has lots of bold flavor and comes right out and tells you about it, I call it fuller bodied. Examples are numerous but include Opus, VSG, PAM, and most LFD offerings.

It has nothing to do with the nicotine kick for me. That's strength in my world and the two components are distinctive.


I'm around...
I agree... The body of a cigar should include it's flavour profile and the strength should be the nic level.


Well-Known Member
I've always used the term "body" to describe the way you state the industry does.
With modifiers, such as "Chewy smoke".

Flavor intensity is how I approach the other how easy or hard it is to detect flavors.

I do like the way you break out strength, because I have smoked a lot of Nicotine laden smokes where they
punched me in the gut in a sneaky way. The mouth feel and flavors were light, with no real indication that
I was about to get clobbered.

Excellent post Wilkey. :thumbs:


Padilla Lanceros, yum yum!!
I still refer back to Augie754's website about cigar terminology. Linky. To me, it makes the most sense, although as far as the sense of smell is concerned, mine are different based on the origins of the stimulus.

Odor is the smell of the cigar in it's unlit state, as it naturally releases, for lack of a better word, chemicals into it's surroundings and fills a humidor with that undeniable tobacco odor.

Aroma is the smell of the cigar AS you are smoking it. A lot of this comes from the draw, and the sense of smell comprises a lot of what I taste.

Scent is the smell of the cigar as it is burning, but no drawn upon, or the trail smoke.

It could be argued that aroma and scent are the same thing, but the way I perceive it, when drawing upon a cigar, the extra heat produced during the active burning period of the draw produces an entirely different smell as opposed to the smoke coming out of the cigar during it's resting (or latent) burning period.

The use of Body has been a double edged sword when enjoying a cigar imo. On one hand, it summarizes the cigar's expected experience, but on the other hand, it over simplifies and detracts from the nuances a person might expect from smoking it. I focus more on the sense of smell, because it is broken into three parts, and adds more to the cigar overall.

For example, the prelight draw is an oral tasting of the cigar's odor, however when lit, and drawn upon, the odor (the unlit part of the cigar) and scent combine with heat to make the aroma, and that is what you smell from the second hand smoke. Of course, body tries to unsuccessfully incorporate these sensations into it's definition in combination with nicotine strength and flavour. Case in point, blowing the smoke through the nose or inhaling the scent through the nose while drawing might give you the but doesn't define the cigar's "body". With that, I really focus on 6 components individually- draw, flavour, odor, scent, aroma, and nicotine strength.



I think that using three synonyms for "the smell of a cigar" unnecessarily complicates matters and introduces terminology for the sake of it. There really isn't any definitional reason why "scent" should be more appropriate for the smoke that issues from the lit end. However, I think that recognizing the "three smells of a cigar" is a worthy model of the sensory input via the sense of smell. In fact, I do pay attention to all three and note them, as others here do.



Tibi ipsi esto fidelis.
I'll start here because I never think of the word "strong" in relation to nicotine but rather to taste. The amount of nicotine in a cigar has no bearing on my enjoyment (or lack thereof) of that smoke. Strength is similar to richness for me. To me, the statement, "This is a very rich cigar" is very similar to, "This is a very strong cigar".

The flavors the cigar shows. Nuts, cream, coffee, dried fruit, caramel, citrus, grass, wood, and yes, tobacco. These are all flavors that I taste. The flavors I taste, in and of themselves, do not in any way dictate strength, body, or any other aspect of the cigar. Taste is just that – what the cigar tastes like to me. A nuanced cigar showing a symphony of flavors is not necessarily stronger, weaker, lighter, or richer than a cigar that just tastes like plain old tobacco – it is just a cigar with more complex flavors.

Body is comprised of several things.
1 – The quality of the smoke. A thicker, heavier, "chewier" smoke tends toward fuller body for me. A thinner, lighter, more "airy" smoke tends toward lighter bodied.
2 – The prominence/intensity/"strength" (there's that word), NOT the complexity, of the flavors. Generally, cigars with very pronounced flavor(s) I think of as fuller bodied. Cigars with several, more subtle and/or fleeting flavors I tend to think of as lighter bodied. This is NOT to say that I cannot taste them
3 – The finish. Longer finishes tend toward fuller body for me while shorter, more ephemeral finishes are lighter bodied.

For example, I think of Tatuaje Brown labels and LFD Double Ligeros as stronger, fuller bodied cigars. I find their flavors to be bold and pronounced with little required on my part to detect and enjoy them. On the other hand, I think of Cuban Saint Luis Reys and La Gloria Cubanas as gentler, lighter bodied cigars. I find that they show their flavors more subtly and I might need to concentrate a bit more to fully detect and enjoy them. While all four of those cigars put out fine, full mouthfuls of smoke and have wonderful and intricate tastes, the smoke from the first two seems to be very "present", almost heavy in my mouth while the smoke from the second two seems to be lighter and shorter-lived.

Generally speaking, I think of cigars with bold flavors and "rich", "heavy" smoke as fuller bodied and cigars with delicate, nuanced flavors and "airy", less substantial smoke as lighter bodied.

Anyway, this is all just my opinion...

- Tim

Rodrigo de Jerez

I get to give myself a title?
The olfactory system allows us to discriminate between a wide variety of odors. So far as I understand, it would also be responsible for our detection of "nasal spice," specifically referring to the spice detected when a person exhale smoke through the nostrils.

Spice is also detected on the palate, or what I like to call "palate spice."

My problem is categorizing the spice sensation (not to be taken as new terminology). In order to determine whether a cigar is generally spicy, both palate spice and nasal spice come into the fold. For the sake of specificity, I will describe the spice with the aforementioned separate terms. There are smokers, however, who do not account for both of these aspects and their judgment about a cigar becomes highly skewed.

Where does all of this fit? I am not exactly sure or possibly unable to grasp what has already been explained to me.

The experience of smoking a cigar is not easily definable. Maybe rather than defining a system for all, it would be better to try and grasp what an individual means when he/she describes a cigar/smoking experience. As for the various cigar publications, each should valiantly attempt to clarify by what measures it describes the cigar/smoking experience.

There might be no way to solve this little problem and that is understandably frustrating to fans of informational efficiency. Then again, CPers are a pretty creative bunch.

edited to add. Moki, I appreciate the link and I did not read it before I posted. I've come across it before but I've not reviewed it in some time. Thanks for the read!


Tibi ipsi esto fidelis.
What do you guys think? Are your conceptions different? How do you break up the sensory experience of cigar smoking?

Here's how I do it. I still think that mood and expectations play a much larger role in cigar taste/enjoyment than most people believe (or want to believe).
Andrew, I agree with you 100%. I find that I tend to get deeper into a cigar when I am either alone in my home office or among others who appreciate cigars; for example, at my regular Thursday night herf. In those and similar places I expect to appreciate and enjoy the cigar.

It's a far different thing than, for example, smoking that same cigar during a big backyard BBQ at someone's house where there is a lot going on. It's not that the cigar is different, it's the environment that has changed and my expectations along with it. I'm less focused on the smoke and more involved in the environment.

Similarly, if a trusted friend gives me a cigar he has raved about, I am probably predisposed to enjoy it, or at least give it the benefit of the doubt. But when one of my herf buddies slams a cigar, I approach it with caution.

It is obvious to me that environment and state of mind have a definite effect upon my perceptions.

- Tim