"Mild" vs. "Medium" vs. "Full cigars"...What are you afraid of?
Today's blog was written by my good friend and coworker, Humberto Gonzalez. This is also the first article by other cigar experts & enthusiasts who will now be contributing to this blog. Enjoy the read. - G.K.
This question has plagued me as of late. As the self proclaimed "sampler guru" of Famous Smoke Shop, I am charged with the task of putting together exciting and affordable, unadvertised "phone-only" deals for our call-center staff to introduce to their customers, among other things. Some of the latest versions of these sampler deals include "The Muscle" and the "Jet Black," both containing some respectably fuller flavored cigars. Although many of our customers seem to be enjoying them, a sizable number of our phone-in customers wouldn't touch the offer with a ten foot match. It appears people associate strength with harshness. Being a seasoned cigar smoker myself, this issue has become a pet peeve of mine (Believe me. I have many.) So let me set the record straight. There’s nothing to fear.
I was a road cigar salesman for a few years before coming back to Famous this past July. In my travels, I learned many things from a variety of interesting and knowledgeable people in the industry. One of those things is that there is a distinction between full body and full flavor. It was a concept I did not understand until a few respected cigar manufacturers cleared it up for me. They explained that strong, "kick-ass" cigars are probably not meant to be that way. By virtue of a variety of fermenting and aging mistakes, stronger cigars end up being harsh and sometimes unpalatable.
Cigar smokers characterize such cigars as "strong" or "full." (I could name a few branded examples but wouldn’t want my in-box flooded with hate mail.) They also went on to tell me that a properly constructed cigar, from start to finish, should never be so overwhelmingly strong as to get you dizzy or develop a cold sweat. After all, a cigar is supposed to be a refined instrument for the purposes of relaxation and enjoyment. Not something for the masochistic.
I've seen many people on the streets actually relish in a "stronger is better" attitude, like they have something to prove by being able to endure the punishment that an improperly fermented ligero leaf has to inflict. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that from an individual point of view, but it sends a negative message to many new cigar smokers. So, they stay away from some real gems that could prove to be a newly found favorite.
For the sake of making the distinction, a full-flavored cigar, on the other hand, means its ingredients are fermented and blended in a manner which amplifies the taste experience you may expect from a mild or medium-bodied cigar. Well cultivated, cured, and processed tobaccos blended properly will usually yield a smooth, satisfying experience. A full-bodied cigar really has nothing to do with the cigar's strength. It has more to do with the amount of smoke it produces. I think most cigar smokers will agree that more smoke equals greater pleasure.
The bottom line is this: If you’ve shied away from stronger cigars because you fear their effects, don’t be. You may be missing out on a very pleasant experience. I'll continue to create cigar samplers that display the full spectrum of strengths and flavors for you smokers. In time, I'm sure you’ll understand what I'm talking about. So go on, add a little spice to your life.