When a cigar is full bodied, your palate will likely be graced with complex flavors, a velvety mouthfeel, and rich dense smoke with every puff. The wide variety of full-bodied cigars offer distinctive flavors, strengths, and aftertastes; learning how the body and strength of a cigar affect you and can help you determine your favorite cigar brands.

OK…but what exactly does “full-bodied” mean?

Full Body in Cigars: What it Means and How Best to Enjoy It

Cigars with a full body will produce a textured, rich, weighty smoke and are meant to be savored. But let’s face it: A novice smoker might find smoking a full-bodied cigar takes a little getting used to. It’s worth powering through to find one you like, because full body cigars come packed with complex flavors. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced smoker, these solid pointers are helpful when indulging in a full-bodied cigar.  

  • Bill Clinton once said he smoked (whacky tobacco) but never inhaled. Whether or not Slick Willy was being honest, this makes perfect advice for a person ready to enjoy a cigar. It’s standard practice to take the smoke into your mouth but not into your lungs. 
  • Draw small amounts of smoke into your mouth while you get used to it. If too much is taken in, use your pandemic social skills and suppress that oncoming cough. 
  • When the end of your cigar is cut straight, the draw (taking in of smoke) will be less concentrated. A straight or guillotine cut cigar will naturally distribute the smoke evenly. This provides a pleasant, but not overwhelming, mouthfeel. 
prepping full bodied cigars for smoking
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Not Into the Full Bodied Cigar Experience Yet?

Full-bodied cigars can be pretty intense if you’re not sure what to expect. Some people will start with lighter cigars that pack less of a punch and build their way up to a more complex cigar. If you want to go that route, there are a couple of great cigar options before you reach more full-bodied varieties.  

Mild-Bodied Cigars

These cigars are more subtle and will not overwhelm your palate. A mild cigar is easy to enjoy for beginners because the volume of smoke is low and it offers lighter flavors to fit your budding cigar taste preferences. A mild cigar will have an airy silky smoke and typically a sweeter tobacco taste than ones that are bolder. A lot of new cigar enthusiasts are well versed in milds because they are so approachable, not to mention something of a crowd pleaser. 

Medium-Bodied Cigars

A step up from mild cigars and a stepping stone to full-bodied, as far as the complexity and intensity of flavors are concerned. If you’re new to the cigar world, try a variety of medium-bodied cigars to find out how they differ and which ones you like the most. It’s fun to explore different flavors, textures, and strengths when you’re a novice so you can understand what each type of cigar has to offer.  

Cigar Strength

A cigar’s strength is determined by how potent the nicotine is. People routinely confuse this with a cigar’s body—but they are two different things. A really strong cigar can be light-bodied, and a cigar with smaller amounts of nicotine can have a full body. 

Because a strong cigar delivers a lot of nicotine, it’s meant to be puffed slowly over time. To get used to a strong cigar, you can take in very little smoke at a time. If this is too much too fast, let the cigar sit between your lips for a while before lighting it. The tobacco will have a pleasant warming effect that will make your lips tingle. Once you have a feel for the cigar you can cut it, light it, and draw in its wonderful flavor. 

When you smoke a strong cigar its nicotine will have a noticeable effect on you, especially if your tolerance hasn’t been built up. Smoking cigars is classy, but being nauseated and sweaty definitely is not, so you’ll want to be prepared for the strength of your cigar. 

  • Nicotine makes you believe you’re less drunk than you actually are. (Wait, isn’t that your friend’s job?) So take note of your alcohol consumption while smoking your cigar so you can enjoy both without any consequences. 
  • Smoke on a full belly. An empty stomach is no place for nicotine and you’ll feel it right away. 
  • Take time to thoroughly savor your cigar, it’s meant to be a leisure activity. 

When you smoke slowly and intentionally, the nicotine in your cigar can actually make you feel slightly euphoric and energized. Once you experience many types of cigars, you’ll be able to tell the strength and body type right away. 

smoker enjoying smoking full bodied cigar
Image by Canva.com

Full-Bodied Cigars: Balance and Finish

When you begin to taste how complex a high quality full-bodied cigar is, you’ll realize how important balance and finish are to your overall cigar experience. 

Balanced cigars should grace each tasting area on your tongue evenly. When bitter, sour, salty, and sweet are hit by your cigar smoke at the same time, you have a nicely balanced cigar on your hands. This means you won’t experience a purely bitter cigar, or one that is too peppery. You can liken this to coffee or whiskey, which you might be more familiar with at this point. You know when your favorite whiskey isn’t too sweet and you know the best coffee is not too bitter. Same goes for cigars. 

What is a Cigar’s Finish?

What you taste and how your mouth feels between draws and when you’re done smoking is called the cigar’s finish. Some cigars will have residual tastes that linger, and some finishes will be more clean and short lived. A cigar’s finish makes a big impression and it’s all about the smoker’s preference. 

Are you a “hit it and quit it” type of smoker? Or are you one to make more of a commitment? If you know which type you are, you’ll have a good idea of what kind of finish is right for you. 

Full-bodied cigars have a complex flavor profile, voluminous and rich smoke, and take time to savor. Your favorite full-bodied cigar will be even more satisfying when you share with your friends. 

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