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Cigar Tasting Ė 31 Flavors and Counting?

Ever read cigar reviews and the cigar is described as chocolaty, earthy, leathery, spicy, creamy, and nutty? Sometimes I read those reviews and while smoking the cigar, taste something completely different than what the reviewer has written. So how valid is the use of these words when describing a cigarís flavor? Tobacco tastes like tobacco, right? In my opinion I think these reviews are valid, but not completely.

There are three major aspects that affect a cigars flavor profile. The first is the type of tobacco seed that is planted. Some well-known seeds are Cuban, Connecticut, Cameroon, and Corojo. And there are new hybrid seeds being created all the time through cross-pollination. All these seeds will produce a slightly different type of tobacco leaf with different flavors.

The region the seed is grown in will also greatly affect the flavor. This is due to differences in soil Ė sandy, marshy, volcanic, rocky and so on. The regions cloud cover and amount of rain will also affect the tobacco. A Connecticut seed grown in Connecticut will taste different than Connecticut seed grown in Honduras. Even within the same country different soils are present, and the same type of seed grown in two different fields will yield slightly and sometimes greatly varying flavors.

The cigarís blend will also affect the flavor greatly. The various types of tobaccos that make up a cigar work together to give the cigar its distinct flavors. The filler alone in made up of three separate types of tobacco leaves Ė Seco, Volado, and Ligero. Then there is the binder and Wrapper. Each of these parts from one cigar can be grown from different seeds and in different countries, or all from the same farm.

A cigarís unique flavor comes from the seed, the region, and the blend, so how do we decide a cigar is ďchocolatyĒ. Taste is very subjective and these cigars have these extremely different flavors, and we canít make up tastes to describe them. So, when you are smoking a cigar and that certain flavor or flavors hit you, the mind immediately begins to make connections to other flavors you have tasted and catalogued in your taste memory. Whatever that flavor reminds you of, that is the flavor of the cigar. Iíve had a cigar taste like smoking a steak Ė rich and meaty, and slightly sweet like a medium-rare steak. Others have told me that same cigar reminds them of coffee beans. So who is right? We both are. The cigar ratings and tastings are valid, but they are also opinion. Have fun with picking out the flavors you taste. You canít be wrong; itís your cigar.
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