Smoking your favorite cigar after a long and successful day at work is one of the most enjoyable experiences out there. When you are just getting started in the cigar world, however, there will be plenty of information you will have to absorb.
One of the most important aspects of a cigar, along with its origin, wrapper, and filler leaves, is its strength. Cigars are typically divided into mild, medium, bold, or light/full, and others. In this cigars strength guide, we will discuss all of these levels of boldness and make it much easier for you to choose the ideal strength and taste for you!
Generally, cigars are divided into three groups based on their strength. These are:
Additionally, some Cuban manufacturers also use a different type of scale that goes from Light to Full. We will discuss that further down as well. Let’s take a look at each of the strength categories now and see which might be the best pick for your taste!
One of the main reasons cigars have different strength categories is because some are meant to be smoked earlier in the day, compared to others that are a great way to finish your day off. For example, mild cigars go along perfectly with your morning beverage or coffee. That is because they don’t have such a long nicotine effect and won’t get in your way later in the day. These cigars are also ideal for someone who is just now entering the world of cigars. That makes them the ultimate beginner’s choice and also a top choice for the casual cigar smoker!
Strength aside, mild cigars are rarely inferior to cigars with medium, bold, or full strengths. In fact, they are often feature-rich and have plenty of taste notes in them, ranging from earthy to creamy and chocolatey flavors. Some of the most common mild cigars are:
- Montecristo Joyita
- Romeo Y Hulieta Petit Julietas
- Montecristo Open Master Tubos
Based on how cigars are made, they can include different wrappers and filler leaves. Bolder filler leaves make a cigar stronger, while the wrapper leaves mostly play a role in the cigar’s notes. Medium cigars are slightly stronger than mild cigars and are often smoked by cigar smokers with a little bit of experience behind them. That being said, if you’re a complete beginner, I’d recommend starting with a mild option first and then moving your way up to medium cigars. Smoking medium cigars typically removes the overload that some bold cigars bring but still packs a powerful mix of flavors.
Some common medium cigars are:
- Hoyo De Monterrey Le Hoyo Rio Seco
- Montecristo Petit Tubos
- Oliva Serie G Belicosos
Medium cigars also often offer a very good price-per-value ratio as they are extremely well made and some of the most common out there. They also come in large boxes that pack some great value for your money.
As their name suggests, bold cigars are quite strong and can pack a punch behind them. These are also called full-bodied cigars and are the ideal option for an experienced cigar smoker. Due to their strength, they aren’t suitable for beginners or even smokers that have been smoking for a few months. These cigars go well with a nice beverage after dinner and are smoked at a slower pace than others. They are also often thicker and burn slower too. With these cigars, you can practice a lot of cigar pairing with harder beverages like whiskey or strong coffee. This typically works in their favor as it balances out their intense notes.
Some very famous bold cigars are:
- Partagas Presidentes
- Bolivar Royal Coronas
- Bolivar Belicosos Finos
While most companies use Mild, Medium, and Bold for their strength classifications, others use slightly different terminology. Another notable way to rank cigars by their strength is using these terms:
- Light (light-bodied) cigars
- Light to Medium
- Medium (medium-bodied) cigars
- Medium to Full
- Full (full-bodied) cigars
Using this classification gives manufacturers even more flexibility when it comes to ranking their cigars based on their boldness. Light cigars and light-to-medium are often used for beginners and have soft, fruity, and floral tastes. They are barely any trouble for an experienced smoker and, just like mild cigars, they are smoked early in the day. Medium is used in both classifications, so it works both ways and it essentially means the same in both. Medium-to-full-bodied cigars often a step between medium and bold/full giving an extra layer of complexity and strength to regular medium cigars. They are used by experienced smokers and have a powerful and robust taste.
Full-bodied cigars are quite harsh and often only found in Cuba’s best. They are ideal for cigar connoisseurs and use Ligero leaves for their fillers. They burn slower and last longer, so you can enjoy a stronger beverage with them.
How can you tell a cigar’s strength?
While there are certain ways to determine a cigar’s strength before even tasting it, the strength of its effects is always felt when you start smoking. Typically, the more experience you have with cigars, the easier it gets for you to determine how strong a cigar is. Apart from information about the wrapper and filler, you may also feel the effects of a cigar on your esophagus and stomach. Usually stronger cigars create a more acidic reaction in your GI tract and also have a stronger kick when it comes to your nervous system. This kick is often in the form of light-headedness.
If you also want to learn more about cigar sizes and shapes, make sure you visit this detailed article on the topic!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the strongest cigars out there?
There are quite a lot of cigars that can kick pretty hard, however, few are the ones known for their boldness. One of the best examples are Olivia’s El Combre, Camacho Triple Maduro, Joya De Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo, and others.
Do cigars give you a nicotine buzz?
Cigars are known for having much more nicotine in them compared to regular cigarettes. However, there is no nicotine buzz associated with them. Why is that, you may ask? Well, the reason for it is because cigars and pipes offer a longer and slower nicotine ramp-up in your blood. This gives your body more time to adapt to the effects of that. Now, that doesn’t mean that you won’t feel the full effect of the nicotine, quite the contrary. It only means that it won’t jolt you the same way it does with cigarettes.
Are darker cigars stronger than lighter cigars?
This is a particularly good question because it involves two things – the cigar’s wrapper, and the cigar’s filler. Cigars with dark wrapper leaves tend to be on the heavier side. However, this doesn’t always mean that they are strong. If the filler is darker colored, though, it will almost definitely mean that it is a stronger cigar.
With this Cigars Strength Guide, I hope that you are now more able to determine the ideal cigar for you. In general, mild cigars are often a choice for beginners or people who enjoy smoking a cigar with their morning coffee. They aren’t strong in any way but pack a bouquet of flavors. Medium and bold cigars are for the more experienced cigar smoker and can pack a powerful punch behind them, making them a less-than-ideal choice for someone who is just now entering the world of cigars. Medium cigars are the most common and have the widest range of taste, shapes, and sizes, so if you’re looking to diversify your humidor’s content, these are the way to go.