Strength can be Subjective

You have a friend who is asking you about this or that cigar. You know that this cigar is right smack in the middle of the medium bodied spectrum and that is what you tell him. But then, much to your chagrin, your friend doesn’t like the cigar because it is too strong. What happened here?

One thing that could have happened was that your friend is a newer cigar smoker and their idea of medium bodied is your idea of mild. After they have smoked more cigars and become accustomed to the strength of different cigars their perceptions might also change.

Another thing that might have happened here is that your friend just hasn’t had enough to eat throughout the day. Cigars, like liquor, affect you differently based off of how much you have had to eat during the day. If you are smoking a Joya de Nicaragua Antano in the morning and on an empty stomach you are not going to like it all that much unless you have some serious amount of tolerance built up. Even then, it is the rare person who can smoke a cigar with that kind of heft without feeling much if any of its strength.

On the other hand some cigars just affect people differently. Some people might be able to smoke a Camacho Coyolar without any problem but when they light up a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel they tend to get a little queasy. My guess is that there is something unique going on with a person’s physiology to account for a difference like this. Some people can drink a lot of whiskey but when they drink a little vodka they get sick, same thing with cigars. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the only way you are going to be able to find out about these differences for yourself is by smoking more cigars.

So, what is the point of all this? Well, I guess the first point would be to be self aware. If you know how you react to different kinds of cigars you will know what cigars to pick in the future. This would hopefully prevent you from picking a cigar that is just too strong or too weak for your taste.

Having a better grasp of strength in cigars will also help you give better recommendations to your friends. For example, your friend asks you about this cigar you know to be in the medium-full bodied range. You like it and it is comfortably within your strength range but your friend, who has been smoking a couple of cigars a week for a couple of years, probably would not like this cigar because he sticks with cigars medium bodied or milder. What you could do in this situation is tell your friend to smoke this medium-full bodied cigar after dinner; hopefully, the meal will help ameliorate the affects of a strong cigar.

Basically, the moral to this story is that the more you know about your and your friend’s cigar smoking preferences the better the smoking experience for everybody.

Published by Travis Lindsay

I am a guy who smokes cigars.

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  1. Travis,

    Hey buddy, long time no hear! Another tip I recommend to newer cigar smokers is if you’re not sure of the strength of a new cigar to you, go VERY slowly on that cigar. Instead of pulling on it say, once a minute, slow it down to once every 1.5-2 minutes instead. That gives your body time to adjust and deal with the strength a little better.

    I also recommend keeping a can of sugery soda (Colas seem to work better than “clear” sodas) handy. If the cigar is just way too overpowering (stealth attack or just not paying attention), sipping on a sugery soda helps quell the quesiness you might be feeling. Sounds strange, but its worked for me several times.

  2. @John: Point taken. Subjectivity can still play a part though. For example, someone who mainly smokes milder cigars may still smoke Opus Xs on occasion and not be deterred by their strength because they think they should like those cigars. I think subjectivity can still play a role in a person’s perception of strength in a cigar.

  3. Travis

    Taste is more than subjectivity.

    It is physiologically influenced because our sensory tools (taste buds, etc.) are unique to each person. It is psychologically influenced since research suggests mood can influence perception or opinion.

    What matters is what tastes good to each of us regardless of brand or price.