Turn It Up to Eleven

Hayward TenneyI promise this is relevant to cigars, so please…bear with me.

The Loudness War has seen recorded music compressed into oblivion, forsaking dynamic range (the difference between quiet & loud parts) for apparent loudness throughout any given track. The resulting records pack more punch, but are fatiguing to listen to.

In the classic Mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, guitarist Nigel Tufnel is proudly displaying his assortment of guitar amplifiers. Among them is one particular model whose knobs all go up to 11, for when they need that extra punch (“It’s one louder than 10, innit?”).

full-bodied cigar

The Joya de Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo is one of the strongest cigars available today.

Haven’t cigars basically done the same thing? It used to be that Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, and La Gloria Cubana were strong, full-bodied cigars. Besides ample strength and body, these cigars had tons of nuance. But these do not compare in strength to La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero or Camacho Coyolar Puro, let alone the newest crop of full-bodied cigars that feature ultra-strong blends: Cain F, Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo, EO Brands’ La Bomba, among others.

Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy a really strong full-bodied cigar now and then. I really do (I’m smoking a 601 Green as I type this). And I grant you that everything becoming more extreme is sort of a sign of the times. But where do we draw the line?

Have cigars forsaken character for raw power? Have your say below with a comment!

Hayward Tenney

Author:

When he's not busy writing, editing, smoking cigars, or raising his many, many children, Hayward "It's Lou, not Hayward" Tenney spends his days combating confusion about his real name (it's Hayward, but please - call him "Lou") and mourning the matrimonially-induced loss of his moustache (what's he gonna do with all that moustache wax he made?).

Comments

  1. Tom Braceland says:

    I have not smoked any of the cigars you mentioned. I am smoking a Gran Habano Connecticut #1 Gran Robusto right now. Which is mild to medium. I am afraid to try those super strong ones. An occasional CAO Brazilia, Joya De Nic Antano dark natural, RP Cuban Blend or Punch Magnum are about the strongest I go. My tongue tends to be sensitive so I have to be careful. There are so many wonderful cigars in the mild, and medium to full range that keep me satisfied. I would like to try some of those super full/strong ones you mentioned, but will wait till someone shares one with me!
    Stronger is not always better, and in my case fries my tongue and ruins my palate even for a mild cigar.

  2. John - O says:

    I enjoy all sizes and strength ranges of cigars as long as there is deliciousness present. I do shy away from the extremely mild – no flavor – as well as the extremely strong – where the flavor is overwhelmed by the strength. I’ve noticed lately a lot of cigars I would classify as medium carry a mild label, probably due to the shift towards the power house type cigar as the norm for ‘full’. Anyhow, if a guy likes an eye watering, ligero laced booster rocket to smoke I say cheers. For me, I’ve been dissapointed in some of the new breed of stogies for lack of nuance and balance.

  3. William Cloonan says:

    I certainly echo your thoughts Hayward. I’ve
    Been smoking cigars a good many years and
    It appears to me that the really bold and brutal
    Smokes detract from the overall enjoyment oa
    A really good mellow stick. I am a Rocky Patell
    And Partagus fan.

  4. Joe Maduro says:

    The silent majority of cigar smokers still prefer a balanced cigar with lots of character. It’s the vocal minority of cigar bloggers who keep demanding stronger sticks. Cigar makers would gain more repeat customers if they made less potent cigars for mainstream cigar smokers. Maybe the small boutique cigar companies know that they would not be able to keep up with the demand, so they target a small niche market that is willing to pay a premium for power bombs that most mainstream smokers just do not like?

  5. John-O says:

    I wonder if this is a pendulum swing type of thing where everyone gets tired and suddenly mild cigars are back in. I noticed Punch is now considered medium, used to be full. Felipe Dominicana has enough umph for me to put it at medium but it’s listed as mild. I enjoy sticks that I would consider full such as Saint Luis Rey but I find Cain to be overrrated. Cigar tatstes are obviously very subjective but if you enjoy 2.8 cigars a day like me, this new crop of high octane smokes can be a pallette killer.

  6. Chris W says:

    I love ‘strong’ cigars. However, you have to keep in mind that many people use the term ‘strong’ to describe full flavored cigars. I am guilty of this myself. And so, while I do very much enjoy the Cain F which is both full flavored and strong, I also am able to enjoy cigars such as the Rocky Patel Old World and Padron (classic line) that are medium bodied but full of flavor. In a nutshell, it is all about the flavor…not raw strenth. Having said this, I can’t wait to try the La Bomba.

  7. Chuck says:

    I feel alot more satisfied after a good full-bodied cigar like the JDN’s. I enjoy medium ones too but am dissatisfied just because I didn’t want that cigar to end.

  8. Jim E says:

    Most comments are bogus, pretentous BS., Like mine