Body vs Strength
First, a clear distinction must be made between body and strength; two elements that are frequently mistaken for one another.
Body refers to the depth of flavor and how thick or dense its smoke is on the palate. In terms of body, cigars are generally classified as either mild, mild plus, medium, medium plus, full, or full plus.
Though strength is designated using the same classifications, it simply refers to the level of a cigar’s nicotine content. Full bodied cigars are often also strong – but not exclusively so.
For me, a full bodied cigar that is medium plus in strength really hits the sweet spot.
But hey, that’s just me.
A Proliferation Of Strong Cigars
Though choosing flavor as a starting point in which to build a good cigar is traditionally the best strategy, a growing number of cigar makers are opting to choose strength as their raison d’être for creating a certain cigar.
This can be a slippery slope.
While cigars that are constructed with higher than normal amounts of Ligero do have the ability to create a very robust and complex smoking experience, they also pack quite a punch in the nicotine department – which can be a very fine line to tow between resulting in either an enjoyable experience – or an unsavory one.
For the novice or unprepared smoker, an overly strong cigar can potentially provide a wallop of nicotine that can lead to a form of nausea that produces a sensation akin to sea sickness.
Nicotine nausea is no fun.
The likelihood of nicotine nausea from a strong cigar can be drastically reduced by employing the following strategies:
- Not smoking on an empty stomach
- Being well hydrated
- Using a straight cut instead of a punch cut
- Smoking a smaller sized cigar or stopping before the bottom 1/3rd
- Reducing the frequency of cigar puffs.
Personally, I like to aim for a puff every minute to a minute and a half when smoking a strong cigar.
Of course, personal tolerance will vary from smoker to smoker. This means that what may be too strong for one, may be perfectly fine for another, and as with anything, there’s always a variety of possible factors at play.
In the event of the onset of nicotine nausea, a having either a teaspoon of sugar, some candy, or a high sugar liquid can effectively quell the uneasy sensation after a few minutes.