What does cigar body mean?

This is the term that gets the most mix-ups from the cigar community.  When a cigar manufacturer or retailer labels their cigars as “full body” or “medium body” what does that mean?  Well, there’s a few ways to take it.

Does it have to do with the size of the cigar?  Some brand new cigar smokers naturally assume body to be the physical stature of the cigar.  A gordo 60 x 6″ being full bodied and robusto a medium body.  For veteran cigar smokers we have a slight chuckle at this but it is a logical connection without a range of experiences.

Is it the strength of the cigar?  This is the most common miscorrelation of the term.  We’ve seen several blogs and reviewers that actually define it this way.  We’ve even seen bloggers say that certain countries produce certain bodies of cigar.  You may even be in this camp right now.  The strength of the cigar is the affect that the nicotine has on your body.  On our site we list the strength as “strength” – makes sense.  A newer cigar smoker can enjoy a mild strength, full body cigar.  On the other hand a person who has transitioned from cigarettes to cigars may prefer a strong cigar but with a lighter body.

What is the body of a cigar referring to?  People who consider themselves connoisseurs of wine, spirits, or beers have an easier time understanding this term.  It is essentially the way that the flavour fills and coats your mouth.  In cigars, this is often associated with the volume, richness, and colour of smoke produced when you draw on your cigar.

Michael Herklots, Vice President of Nat Sherman Cigars in New York, and just a very cool cigar guy, recently posted this super helpful video on his Instagram channel.

What affects the body of a cigar?  Generally speaking, it’s the leaves.  This isn’t an article on leaves so this paragraph wont be exhaustive.  Thicker leaves like a ligero generally pack more flavour and often more strength but don’t burn very well.  They are typically blended with a certain amount of seco or viso leaves which burn well, can be strong or mild in strength, and produce a lot of smoke.  The leaf choice and manufacturing method will have an affect on how much of that smoke is produced.

Finally there is your perception of the body of the cigar based on your past experiences.  Neptune Cigar gives a few more things to think about: “How old is the cigar? Is it too dry, too humid or just right? What did you eat before? What are you drinking during?”

What other ways have you heard cigar body defined as?  Do you agree with the definition we use?

– David