Updated: Oct 21
When talking about cigars, balance is also referred to as harmony. This characteristic has a few different meanings centered around how components of the cigar work together or marry. One way to think of balance is between the filler, binder, and wrapper. Another is the blending of body and flavor.
In a 2010 CA article, James Suckling and George Lopez discuss the balance of body and flavor. Note the impact of using leaves from just different parts of the plant. "This same idea was explained to me recently by Dion Giolito of Illusione cigars, which are made in Honduras and Nicaragua... What I like about Illusione smokes, in particular the Epernay range, is their balance. They have beautiful perfumes and aromas and fresh and clean palates, with just the right amount of rich tobacco, almost cappuccino, flavors. They smell as great as they taste when burning.
Dion uses no ligero in his Epernay line. He said that he uses viso seco and viso ligero (which is far milder than normal ligero as it grows lower on the plant) in varying proportions. I liked the way Dion explained why he doesn't want the powerful ligero in the Epernay blend." He wants to maintain the balance of the blend - "to keep the cigar smooth with rich flavor and didn't want to spice it up too much with ligero."
This also gives some insight into how choosing the right tobaccos is not enough. The leaves must be placed correctly. A cigar with a Connecticut wrapper and Maduro binder will taste different from a cigar with Maduro wrapper and Connecticut binder (like the CAO Bones). The Friends of el Habano Forum had an informative exchange about this same topic.
"Balance is used to describe how these how the various tobaccos used interact with each other. Both in terms of how strong the cigar smokes but also how the flavours of the various components complement each other... If you detect some nice flavors, but they are almost hidden behind a strong tobacco taste, your cigar lacks balance. But, if these nice flavors are too fleeting, they don't "stay" in your mouth, have no impact on your body (no nicotine), your cigar lacks balance as well."
A well balanced cigar will not only taste good, it won't over power your senses!