The Difference Between Cigar Strength and Body

May 19, 2023

Body and strength are two common terms used to describe cigars. Yet the two terms can easily be mistaken for each other by both newcomers and seasoned cigar enthusiasts.

A cigar’s body or strength is defined as either mellow, medium, or full. However, it’s essential to understand the distinction between body and strength, remembering they are different things. For example, a full-bodied cigar won’t necessarily be full-strength.

Let’s identify the differences between the two to find the type of cigars you enjoy most.

Cigar strength vs. body


A cigar’s strength relates to its nicotine potency. The higher the nicotine content, the greater the effect on your body. Light (or mellow) strength smokes won’t have much impact, while a full-strength stogie may give you a bit of a buzz.

Nicotine can affect everyone differently and will influence your enjoyment of the cigar one way or the other. This is why you should devour a good, hearty meal before smoking a full-strength cigar. Full-strength cigars are generally only recommended for experienced smokers as they are typically too much for beginners.


The body of a cigar reflects its depth (or fullness) of flavors. Consider the characteristics of the smoke and how it resonates on the palate and mouth. You can better describe a cigar’s body through sensory effects like richness, texture, weight, and overall mouth feel.

A practical way to look at how much of a cigar’s flavors and intensity level can be tasted is to compare it to drinks like wine or coffee. Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are classic examples of full-bodied wine, showcasing bolder, complex flavors and being very rich on the palate. With their similarities in depth, a full-bodied cigar would be comparable to an indulgent glass of Malbec.

A mild-bodied wine like Pinot Noir has a more approachable taste and a softer body than a medium or full-bodied wine. Think fresh, light, and zesty. A wine such as this resembles the depth average of a mellow-bodied cigar.

Understanding mellow, medium, and full cigars

As mentioned, a cigar’s body or strength is classified as either mellow, medium, or full. Let’s investigate these cigar body types and strength levels and what they mean for your smoking experience.

Mellow-bodied cigars might feel creamy, soft, and silky. The smoke is thin, delicate, and does not coat the mouth (think water). It won’t overwhelm your taste buds with a blast of nicotine or heavy notes of spices. This is why mellow-bodied smokes are a great starting point for beginners, as the soft smoke allows them to ease gently into smoking without feeling nauseous.

They are enjoyable with your morning coffee or leisurely activities like playing a few holes at the golf course.

In terms of cigar strength, a mellow or light-strength stogie will have little nicotine content that may even be undetectable — similar to weak or non-alcoholic cocktails.


A medium-bodied smoke searches for the optimum balance between mellow and full-bodied cigars. It is more impactful than a mellow cigar and slightly heavier on the palate, with a jump in flavor intensity. The smoke has substance and may likely coat the palate (similar to low-fat milk).

Like mellow-strength cigars, medium-strength stogies can be enjoyed at all times of the day, but you can still detect a moderate amount of nicotine (think good cocktails).


Thick and dense smoke is emitted from full-bodied cigars and coats the mouth thoroughly, similar to eggnog. It will feel heavy and substantial, but the complexity and intensity of the different flavor elements should still create a robust balance.

Full-bodied smokes include many more Ligero leaves in the filler than other cigars. These leaves have the fullest flavors as they are the most exposed to sunlight. They also contain the most natural oils and sugars, adding to the subtle sweetness — the reason Maduros are often described as sweet.

In terms of strength, a full-bodied stick packs a powerful punch because of its noticeable high nicotine content (think neat whiskey). This is why it’s important to pace yourself when smoking stronger cigars. Enjoy it slowly and ideally with a full belly — stronger drinks like coffee and whiskey also help balance the intensity of the cigar.

Are dark cigars stronger than light ones?

A common misconception is that cigars with a dark wrapper (for example, Oscuro) are more potent than light ones (e.g. Connecticut Shade). A cigar’s strength depends more on the filler blend than its wrapper leaf. However, darker tobacco generally indicates a higher nicotine content, equating to stronger smoke.

This is why it’s crucial to find out about the tobacco types inside it (the filler blend) before choosing a cigar, rather than using the wrapper color as a gauge of strength.

Why are Some Tobaccos More Expensive Than Others?

Final thoughts

While a cigar’s body and strength aren’t always the same, there is some crossover between them. Tobacco leaves with a high nicotine content also tend to be the fullest in flavor, meaning the cigar’s body and strength fall under the same description.

Remember that, despite body and strength being two different entities, many fantastic cigars from incredible brands like Cohiba, Partagas, and Rocky Patel deliver complex and flavorful cigars regardless of strength and body. Summon the strength to visit today to discover them and many more premium smokes at fantastic prices.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What's trending now...