Cigar 101: Flavours
Our Cigar 101 series aims to be a comprehensive guide to the world of cigars. After discussing the size and strength of cigars (as well as their anatomy), we are now turning our attention to the rich and complex field of cigar flavours. We are not referring to cigars infused with artificial flavour, but the natural taste of a good smoke.
Cigar lovers know that different cigars have different tastes and can even distinguish the brands after a few draws; flavour is incredibly important in cigars and a lot of different elements work together to create something specific and unique to that brand or cigar.
There are many different ways to describe and classify flavours, although every cigar lover will describe them differently. Most smokers, whether they are experienced or new to the cigar world, know that a way to describe cigar flavours is through food terms. In fact, you may have come across many of them already. Words like spicy, vanilla and nutmeg are commonly used to describe cigar flavours and understood by aficionados everywhere.
As an example, the Montecristo Media Corona possesses an earthy flavour whilst still remaining light in body. It is less peppery and spicy than other cigars from the brand, but you can still easily detect a coffee bean and leather note. The uniqueness of flavour makes this cigar a one-of-a-kind smoke.
Some of the most popular flavours include:
- Grass – often found in milder cigars
- Tea – a rare flavour that is usually found in aged smokes
- Wood – this includes several different types of flavours, like cedar and oak
- Cumin – a smoky and musky flavour
- Liquorice – this flavour is typically found when finishing a great cigar
- Orange – a recognisable flavour present in many cigars
- Walnut – this nutty flavour is slightly dry on the palate
At the end of the day, because there are literally hundreds of cigar flavours, your favourite one will come down to personal preference. When you are relaxing by the fireplace and enjoying a good cigar with a whisky, you’ll choose the smoke that comforts, challenges and delights you.
For instance, the Romeo Y Julieta Belicoso offers a multifaceted blend of flavours that you’ll enjoy uncovering. These cigars are brimming with mineral notes and cedar, as well as green tea, charcoal and leather – a stunning combination that makes it, undoubtedly, a beautiful cigar for both beginners and experienced smokers.
How is Flavour Created?
Flavour is an interesting concept. Some people have an enhanced ability to distinguish flavour when compared to others; for instance, supertasters, who make up 25% of the world’s population, have more fungiform papillae (which contain taste buds) than other people and this enables them to differentiate between more flavours.
But you do not need to be a supertaster to thoroughly enjoy the intricate and nuanced flavours of cigars. The flavour of a smoke is not ‘built’ merely by a single element; on the contrary, its flavour depends on components like the wrapper, the blend of tobacco, the age of the leaves, the rolling process, and more.
While trying to decipher all the flavours present in a cigar can feel overwhelming, it is a very rewarding experience. It will allow you to savour your smoke in an entirely different way and enjoy unique and complex flavours that will make your taste buds dance with joy.
A good way to enjoy your cigar is to smoke it slowly. The slower you go, the more you will notice the intricate flavours in your cigar. Let the smoke linger in your mouth for a few seconds and leave time between draws, so as to better enjoy its taste.