Cigar tasting is in much respects similar to wine, tea, coffee, or beer tasting. For example, just as wine grapes are affected by variations in soil and climate, so too are tobacco plants. Such variations can produce many different traits in the taste of the final products.
Some cigar enthusiasts use a vocabulary similar to that of wine-tasters to describe the overtones and undertones observed while smoking a cigar. Evaluating a cigar is similar to evaluating a glass of wine. Like fine wines, cigars are described by their appearance and flavor. Cigars can have a wide variety of tastes.
To evaluate the cigar flavor, hold the smoke in your mouth for a few seconds (don’t inhale into your lungs) and allow your tongue and upper palate to savor the different taste sensations. A cigar’s flavors can range from spicy, sweet, peppery, salty, harsh, nutmeg, earthy, woody, cocoa, roasted, nutty, cedar, oak, fruity, leathery and much more. The range of cigar flavors goes on and on.
Ultimately when it comes down to how good a cigar tastes is based upon personal preference. Each person is different and prefers different flavors on other cigars. The same cigar may taste different to each person and one person may like the taste and the other dislike it. So, the ultimate judgment of how a cigar tastes rests in the opinion of the smoker.
If you smoke a lot of cigars and want to keep record of all the cigars you smoked and their flavors, a great way to keep track of all the cigars you smoked is using a cigar journal. Cigar journals are available for recording personal cigar flavors, taste, ratings, sizes, brands, etc. You can also go digital and create an online cigar journal for recording all your cigar smokes.
“What part of the cigar makes up most of the cigar’s flavor?”
The filler is the heart of the cigar. It gives it most of its characteristic flavor and strength. The filler makes up most of the volume of the cigar, and is comprised of at least two and usually no more than five different tobaccos, and are rolled together to form the “bunch.” The blend of these filler tobaccos provides the other main flavor component of cigars. The mix of different fillers from different countries or even regions of a country, and the proportions used in the filler give different cigars their uniqueness.
The binder is a piece of tobacco leaf that is wrapped around the bundle of filler tobacco and holds the filler of the cigar together. The binder typically complements the filler’s strength and flavor, but does not add much in terms of taste. The Binder leaves are usually thicker, tougher leaves than those used for the wrapper. Chosen for its durability, the binder is normally a coarse leaf that is often found on the upper part of the tobacco plant.
Along with the filler and the binder, the wrapper helps make up the cigar’s character and flavor. Although opinion varies about how much flavor the wrapper gives to the cigar. Depending on the type of tobacco used for the wrapper, it can provide a great deal amount of the flavor for a cigar.
Generally, darker cigar wrappers will tend to have a sweeter, fuller flavor, while wrappers lighter in color tend to be milder. But again, flavor does vary according to the blend of the filler.
“What can ruin the flavor & taste of a cigar?”
There are many different things that can ruin the flavor of your cigar. Here is a list of some of them:
Avoid using a candle to light your cigar as these can add odd flavors to your cigar. Also, do not use lighters that run on gasoline or lighter fluid because they give off a petrol-like order that can ruin the flavors of the cigar. Read more at Cigar Lighting
Cigars need to be kept in the correct environment for it to retain its flavors. Cigars need to be in humid environment and that is what humidors are for. If not, the natural oils in the cigar will dry out, resulting in a unpleasant, bitter-tasting cigar. Read more at Storing Cigars & Cigar Care
The process of cigar aging and maturing also changes the flavor of a cigar. Read our next article on Cigar Aging.