A Beginners Guide to Smoking: How to Taste Cigar like a Pro

There is a lot to enjoy in cigars if only you smoke it the right way. Sometimes you can miss the flavor and aroma that comes out of your favorite cigar if you are occupied. Tasting cigar is one of the most challenging things for new smokers.

Since taste is subjective, individuals may have different impressions and flavors for the same brand of cigar. Some cigar brands have flavors that are easy to identify within seconds of lighting them up, while others may take you some time before you can tell the exact aroma they give out.

It can take you years to have the right skills to differentiate cigar flavors. To get the best out of your cigar, you must know how to taste it like a pro. That is why you need this beginners’ guide to tasting cigars.

Have a taste of the cigar before lighting it 

This makes a lot of sense if you’re an experienced cigar smoker. You can taste your cigar and get its ideal flavor even before lighting it up. Hold the cigar in your mouth before you light it up and get the flavor of the smoke you are about to enjoy.  

If the cigar tastes acidic and salty, then it means the cigar’s tobacco is of low quality. A good quality cigar should have a sweet, bitter flavor.  

Sniff through your nose 

You can use your nose to taste your cigar. Your nose can detect a lot of flavors out of the cigar than your tongue does. Hold the cigar close to your nose to get the smell coming out of the tobacco filler. Do this before lighting up the cigar.

While smoking the cigar, you can take a puff and release three-quarters of it through your mouth. You can then try to push the smoke through the back of your mouth using your tongue and exhale through the nose. It is called ‘retro-hale,’ as most experienced smokers would say.

If you are going to taste cigars through your nose for the first time, you should start with mild cigars. This way, you can avoid coughing a lot and harming your lungs.

Check your flavor wheel. 

There are various culinary terminologies used to describe the tasting notes of cigar. Sometimes you can lack the right words to describe your cigar’s exact taste, which makes it difficult to explain what you want when you walk into a cigar shop.

When you shop for some quality cigars, you will likely find these words used to describe the taste: coffee beans, cashews, toast, dark chocolate, cayenne, maple, molasses, espresso, etc. Some cigar brands use trees like oak, hickory, and cedar to describe taste.

At times your cigar can taste metallic, floral, and even earthy. If you want to understand more about cigar tastes, you need to have a cigar flavor wheel by your side. This tool helps you to understand the different notes and flavors in your cigar.

There are different flavor wheels, so you should always choose one that you are more comfortable with. Some flavor wheels will use pencil lead, wet dogs, petrol, and tar to describe low-quality cigars. There is more to tasting cigars.  However, what matters most when tasting your cigar is the quality of tobacco filler and the smoke that comes out when you light it up.

Most complex cigars have a variety of tastes and notes. The flavor of your cigar tends to transition as the smoke nears the palate.

Smoke it slowly 

When you’re occupied or smoking your cigar in a hurry, you are not likely to get the exact flavor and taste in it. That said, you should take your time whenever you light up the cigar. If you want to expand your flavor experience, you should not hesitate to smoke your cigar slowly.

Take a minute between each draw, puff, and allow the smoke to settle inside your mouth for some time. This way, you can have the time to taste your cigar in full and get the after-taste when you finally exhale the smoke out. Once you slow down your smoking, you stop your cigar from overheating, which brings out a brunt smell.

IMG00172 | Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but sometimes … | Flickr

Cleanse your palate 

It is impossible to get the exact taste of your favorite cigar when you smoke on a contaminated palate. You’ve been taking meals all day, and that means there is some food debris stuck on your palate.

Always ensure your palate is clean before you start smoking your cigar.  Brush your tongues if you can to remove the coating brought by food. When smoking a cigar alone, you should sip through some pure cold water or lemon juice to cleanse your palate.

Drinking soft drinks brings out some sort of taste, and you may end up not getting the ideal flavor from your stogie. When you stay hydrated as you smoke, you are more likely to experience the real flavors and notes from the cigar.

If you like smoking multiple cigars at a go, you can start with the mild ones and proceed to stronger brands. This way, you can easily detect all the subtle notes in the mild cigars and enjoy your smoking.

Use your taste buds 

You can use your taste buds to recognize the different tastes from your cigar and tell whether you like the taste or not. Your tongue can easily detect salty, umami, bitter, sweet, and sour. Umami taste is a meaty and savory taste. Most Cuban cigars taste salty because they are grown in soils with high sodium and lithium concentration.

Another common taste in most cigars is bitterness, which is recognized on the flavor wheel as dark chocolate, citrus, and coffee. Cigar flavors can also include sweet and sour. A combination of different tastes you get whenever you smoke helps you determine the best cigar brand. You can choose cigars that are earthy, spicy, and nutty, depending on the kind of flavors and notes you like most.

Balance the cigar

Balancing your cigar is about trying to get all the five basic tastes from it: umami, salty, sour, bitter, and salty. The taste receptors in the tongue can detect all these five tastes. When your cigar is balanced, it means it can impact all the tasting regions on your tongue.

It is unbalanced if it only overwhelms one part of your tongue. A high-quality cigar gives out a mix of spicy and creamy taste. If the cigar is unbalanced, it gives too much spice and bitterness, leaving some parts of your tongue irritating. Therefore, when choosing a cigar, you should pick one with a perfect mix of quality tobacco. A balanced cigar gives you the perfect taste and flavor when smoking for the first time.

Final Thoughts 

It takes a lot to perceive the ideal taste and aroma of your favorite cigar. As a beginner in smoking, you have to try a couple of stogies before you know which one works best.

The truth about tasting cigars is that we all have different perceptions about taste. Cigars taste different from person to person. Therefore, when you find one that gives you a perfect taste and aroma, you better stick to it.

When smoking, cleanse your palate with lemon juice and try not to overwhelm your tongue. Take time to and let the smoke diffuse in your tongue before you exhale it through the nose. Apply the tips we’ve shared to shop for the best cigars and enjoy smoking.

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