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Cigar 101

How to Tell if a Cigar Is Mild

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Mild cigars have less nicotine and are often characterized as offering creamy, silky, and nutty tasting notes. Mild cigars are less likely to make you light-headed when you’re smoking, making them great smokes for beginners. It’s easy to search for the best mild cigars online. But how do you pick out a mild cigar in a store with thousands of unfamiliar options when you’re new to cigars? Most cigar shops group their products by brand, not by strength. Here’s some guidance for your next shopping excursion.

Guide to Cigar Strength

How cigars get their strength depends on the types of tobacco leaves chosen by a cigar-maker for a blend. Tobacco plants are harvested, or primed, one section at a time, and there are four main sections of tobacco leaves on a plant. From top to bottom, they are Ligero, Viso, Seco, and Volado. Each of these sections of leaves receives varying amounts of sunlight due to their position on the plant, and the amount of sunlight influences the strength, or nicotine content, of the leaves. The cigar-maker creates a specific recipe of tobaccos for every blend he produces, with certain leaves selected for the binder, filler, and wrapper tobaccos. And these tobaccos often come from different farms, different regions, and different countries. The climate and soil, specific to where the tobacco is grown, impacts its strength. Finally, all of the tobacco that goes into a premium cigar is fermented, aged, and rolled together in a way that further determines how strong or mild the blend will be.

Wrapper Color

A lot of rookies mistakenly believe that light-colored cigars are milder than dark cigars. That’s a common misconception when it comes to Natural versus Maduro. There are all kinds of mild Maduros, like the Ashton Aged Maduro, which is finished in a dark-brown Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. This nutty and chocolaty smoke is creamy and easygoing despite its dark complexion. At the same time, there are light cigars, like My Father Connecticut, which are more robust in strength than you might expect.

Wrapper color, on its own, is not the best barometer for strength. However, a lot of great mild cigars are blended with either a Connecticut Shade or an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper. Both varietals are golden blond in color, and you’ll find them on a disproportionate number of today’s best mild cigars, including Ashton Classic, Macanudo Café, Montecristo, and La Aroma de Cuba Connecticut. While you can’t judge a cigar strictly by its wrapper, it’s a safe bet to start your search for mild blends with the best Connecticut cigars.

Online Cigar Descriptions

If you’re in a cigar store wondering if the cigar you’re staring at is mild, whip out your phone and look it up online. A cigar’s strength is one of the main attributes identified in its product description. We’ve got over 500 premium brands listed on the Holt’s site, and every product description identifies the cigar’s strength along with its blend, tasting notes, the cigar-maker who produces it, and what country the cigar is made in.

Cigar Taste & Aroma

Taste is personal, but lots of mild cigars share similar tasting notes, such as cashew, almond, coffee bean, cedar, and cocoa. Mild cigars won’t overpower your palate with too much spice, and their aroma is silky and easy to pass through your nasal cavity when you retrohale. Mild cigars also impart a soft finish, meaning their taste doesn’t linger on the palate for a long time. A cigar's body and strength are closely related but not identical. What a beginner considers mild may be different from a more experienced smoker, but mild cigars are not overpowering or too spicy. They’re elegant and approachable, but that doesn’t mean they are void of flavor. The Ashton Cabinet, for example, is mellow but its tobaccos are aged for five to seven years, giving it an unparalleled smoothness with rich notes of nuts, white pepper, and coffee bean.

Ask the Experts

If you’re visiting a store with a knowledgeable staff, ask for a recommendation for a mild cigar. Although demand for full-bodied cigars has grown exponentially over the past two decades, mild cigars still enjoy the greatest number of consumers. The professionals in a cigar shop can easily recommend dozens of great mild cigars to smoke. In the meantime, check out our large selection of mild cigars online to get started.

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