Strength is a measure of nicotine only… it’s a cigar’s “kick.” A very strong cigar delivers a lot of nicotine… examples: the Habanos Bolivar Belicosos Fino, or El Credito’s El Rico Habanos are very strong cigars; and the Dominican Romeo y Julieta Vintage Series are comparatively mild in terms of their strength. Most smokers, even experienced ones, get a nicotine kick or buzz from strong cigars.
Depending on your condition (e.g., thin, over-weight, over-tired, just
ate, empty stomach, drunk, etc., etc.)… a very strong cigar can produce either very pleasant feelings or very unpleasant ones… like feeling “lucid, mildly euphoric and/or energized”… or feeling “dizzy, green, nauseous and sweaty”. That’s nicotine… and it is a cigar’s strength.

Aside from its heady kick, nicotine can frequently be noted as a peppery or warming tingle on the lips and tongue, even before the cigar is lit. To enhance to your smoking experience, you might want to make a practice of tasting a cigar right before you light it up, for 15 seconds, or so. Just let your lips and tongue moisten the wrapper and the filler in the freshly clipped foot of your cigar… it’s a quick way to judge the strength of the smoke to come… and, you’ll also get an idea of how much of the flavor of the cigar comes from the taste (non-nicotine oils) of the wrapper and clipped foot, as opposed to the smoke itself. (You’ll be surprised how much it is!)

It’s also worth noting that young or “green” cigars (less than 3 months old) are at their peak nicotine concentrations (or strength). While aged cigars seem to mellow out, and loose strength over the years… with cigars 20-30 years old having very little kick (nicotine) left.


A full-flavored cigar (which should not be confused with purposely flavored cigars, such as vanilla treated cigars like Ornelas, or herb
enhanced blends like the Lars Tetens) is not necessarily a strong cigar. Flavor does not equal strength, even when the cigar is very flavorful. Nicotine does not give tobacco it’s unique tastes or flavors to any significant degree.

Aside from the particular SEED VARIETY (e.g., Cuban Seed, etc.), it’s the SOIL and CLIMATE where the leaf is cultivated that contributes most to a cigar’s distinctive flavors… as does when and how the leaf is harvested and fermented. Other “flavor factors” include: aging, blending, construction, storage and the density, length and girth of a cigar. Flavor refers specifically to the: NATURE and DEPTH of tastes a cigar produces on the palate and lips, and sometimes in the nose and throat as well.

The _nature_ of a cigar’s tastes are most often expressed through adjectives which are used to describe the kind of flavor (and scent/aroma) a cigar gives the impression of (e.g., nutty, coffee, cherry, sweet, salty, apricot, dog sh*t, chocolate, green tobacco, mature tobacco, acidic/fruity, leather, yummy, delicious, etc…. the list goes on and on)… and the _depth_ of that taste or flavor is a matter of degree… it can run the gamut from massive… to very little flavor (and is totally unrelated to the nicotine or strength.)


First a word of caution… this is heavily debated territory. I use the term body to describe the aggregate impression you get while
smoking a cigar. However, Body it does NOT incorporate Overall Quality. Body is a subjective composite of the combination of:
•FLAVOR (nutty, smoky, coffee, bitter, woodsy, sweet, etc.),
•DEPTH of flavor (bland, hints, overtones, massive, etc.),
•TEXTURE (creamy, smooth, biting, etc.),
•VOLUME of smoke per puff (thin, generous, thick, etc.)
•AFTERTASTE and its persistence on your palate (a cigar’s “length” or “finish”),
•and to a much lesser degree, IMO, STRENGTH (or nicotine).
A “full bodied cigar” is usually a stronger cigar with masses of flavor, volumes of smoke and a lingering aftertaste. It is full in so many
dimensions, that many smokers refer to this complex set of sensory impressions as “lush” or “chewy” or “huge”.

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