Cuban cigars have long been revered for their rich flavours, impeccable craftsmanship and distinctive strengths. The strength of a cigar refers to its intensity of flavours and body, which can range from light and mild to medium and full-bodied. Understanding the factors influencing the strengths of Cuban cigars is crucial for aficionados and newcomers alike.
Cuban Cigars are usually categorised into 5 different strengths:
Light < Light to Medium < Medium < Medium to Full < Full
Lighter bodied cigars are perfect for beginners or those seeking a more relaxed and nuanced smoke. They can be enjoyed during daytime or paired with lighter beverages such as white wine or coffee in the morning.
Medium bodied cigars strike a balance between mildness and intensity. Medium-strength cigars offer versatility, suitable for both novice and seasoned smokers. They pair well with a range of drinks, including whiskey, coffee or even craft beers.
A robust and powerful smoking experience, full-bodied cigars offer depth, complexity, and strong tobacco presence. Full bodied cigars are a favourite among experienced smokers who appreciate the intense and lingering sensations they provide. They are often savoured after a hearty meal or paired with strong spirits like aged rum or a peated Scotch.
One of the main factors to take into account when purchasing a Cuban cigar is what sort of strength cigar is suitable. This may be determined by all sorts of factors such as the time of day you wish to smoke the cigar, whether it is going to be smoked before or after a meal and what drink, if any, you will be matching with your cigar.
It is normally recommended that a cigar novice start with a lighter bodied cigar (a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 for example) or medium bodied style of cigar whilst the more experienced often prefer something heavier, such as a Partagas or Bolivar. As a rule of thumb it might be preferable to start the day with a lighter cigar, perhaps have something medium bodied in the afternoon or evening leading up to a fuller bodied cigar. Likewise, a heavier, fuller cigar is better after a meal.
If you are planning on have more than one cigar in a session, think of them like you a wine: start with the lightest first moving through to the heaviest. Also think about pairing cigars with drinks, a lighter cigar will work better with a lighter drink and a fuller bodied cigar will work better with a heavier drink, think rums, whiskies, etc.
Of course, really it all depends on personal taste, some people prefer a lighter, floral cigar, some prefer a darker, spicier cigar. There are no strict rules!
Read more: A Guide to Different Cigar Cutters.