The ‘body’ of a cigar is a very subjective term and is used along with other descriptive words to describe the type of smoking experience you may have with a certain cigar or type of tobacco. In this short article, I will attempt to give you some insight as to how you can interpret this nebulous term used so freely in the cigar industry to tell us something that is very subjective.
Most cigar smokers have differing opinions about the meaning of the word ‘body’ when it comes to describing a cigar. Usually it has more of a reference to the ‘flavor’ of a cigar, and is measured in varying degrees such as ‘mild’, ‘medium’ or ‘heavy’, which is sometimes called ‘full’. The word ‘body’ therefore can also be linked to the ‘strength’ of the cigar, but I have had full bodied cigars that I would consider mild to medium in strength. Are you confused yet? Most of us are, and most equate the strength of a cigar as to how bitter it tastes. Hey, if it really tastes bitter, then it is probably not a good cigar, and you should not waste your time trying to evaluate it, since you might never smoke it again.
So what really constitutes body? Let’s stick with flavor, as it is much easier to describe…. Hah, yeah right. There are almost as many ways to describe flavor as there are adjectives in the English language. How about if we try to list some of them; cinnamon, peppery, butterscotch, caramel, toffee, chocolate (dark and milk), cocoa, fruity (and all the fruits you can think of), nutty (and all the nuts you can think of), earthy (and all those earthy terms like woodsy, cedar, oak, pine and so on), and then there are metallic words like copper, lead, iron, and then other than other terms that refer to chemicals like formaldehyde, or other nasty tasting stuff. But let us not forget all those floral words (and all the various flowers to describe stuff). And finally, I have to include leather, which is one of the worst taste descriptive words that I have used, since I hate anything that tastes like the way old shoes smell, yuck. Oh, I almost forgot, all the beverage words like coffee and its various types, like espresso, Columbian, French Roast. And last but not least, the many kinds of alcohol, such as bourbon or scotch.
Whew, that is a mouthful and after all, this is what makes all these cigars distinctive. The art of blending has much to do with the mixing of these various flavors to make a full bodied cigar – one which has a lot of flavor but is not necessarily strong. Okay, I said it. Body is flavor. Not strength, but that is what we are looking for in a cigar, whether we like strong or mild cigars, they must have body ---- FLAVOR.