Body, strength, flavor, and blends
All too often, smokers confuse, or blur together, the concept of body, strength and flavor in a cigar. You had posited smoke volume as a possible component – interestingly enough, smoke volume does indeed relate to these factors as well – more on that in a moment.
Most smokers define a cigar’s character to two primary components:
- BODY (or ‘strength’, and even ‘intensity’), and
- FLAVOR (the ‘taste’ that characterizes a particular cigar)
A full bodied cigar would be perceived as ‘strong’, but not necessarily as ‘flavorful’ – naturally, the converse is also true. Incidentally, many veteran smokers favor cigars characterized by both full body, and full flavor.
As an illustration…
Many inexperienced smokers mistakenly assume that all Cuban cigars are ‘full bodied’ – in fact, a large number of the great Cuban cigars are prized for their ‘delicate’ (what some might regard as medium or even light) body. A classic case in point are the larger Cuban Hoyos (and many of the Cuban Montecristos) which are characterized by their unrivaled complexity of ‘taste’ (full flavor), and relatively mild (as compared to other Cuban cigars) body. Likewise, there are a few Cuban cigars that are found be to quite strong (full bodied), but not very flavorful (some of the Sancho Panza, and El Rey Del Mundo come to mind).
While it is true that a smoker will select a type of cigar on the basis of body (full, medium or light), many assume (wrongly) that all smokers desire cigars that are full flavored. Just as some individuals are put off by ‘full flavored’ cuisine (Szechuan, or Cajun for example) some smokers desire cigars that are more ‘gently’ flavored (the Macanudos are a prime example).
As you can clearly see, we’re obviously not talking science here. In a discussion of cigar body and flavor, of paramount consideration is experience, and a frame of reference. As one embarks on a lifelong relationship with cigars, a DR Cohiba might be perceived as a wonderfully robust smoke — however, after a year or two of smoking, that same cigar will cause the smoker to wonder if the manufacturer altered the blend of this ‘once’ great smoke. It’s all a matter of …taste.