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webmostwebmost Dull-AwarePosts: 6,067 ✭✭✭✭✭
So four of us got to talking today on RobbyRas' roundtable, and we stumbled onto a question which we figured only Kuzi could answer. What makes a cigar change flavor as it burns? Is there different tobacco in each third? Isn't each leaf in the filler full length? Is there something which cooks up as it burns? Or is it something which changes in your taste buds?

What's up with that?

“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


Comments

  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    webmost:
    So four of us got to talking today on RobbyRas' roundtable, and we stumbled onto a question which we figured only Kuzi could answer. What makes a cigar change flavor as it burns? Is there different tobacco in each third? Isn't each leaf in the filler full length? Is there something which cooks up as it burns? Or is it something which changes in your taste buds?

    What's up with that?

    there are many factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

    the first thing you mentioned is different tobacco in different parts of the cigar.
    there are a few blenders that do this. the one that comes to mind is AJ Fernandez. If you notice, when you light an AJ blend there is often a blast of spice in the first inch or so. this is because he front loads the cigar with spicier tobacco to get that signature maneuver.
    on a similar note, there are cigars out there that take this to the Nth degree. the Viaje 50/50 has one blend in the beginning half and a different blend in the second half. the transition is obvious.


    the second thing you mentioned was about the filler leaf being a full leaf.
    in long filler cigars the filler generally runs the length of the cigar (save for above mentioned tricks)
    the longer the cigar is the longer the filler leaf is.
    the length of the leaf does have different nutrient distribution.a discussion of how NUB cigars came into being helps illustrate this concept:

    sketch "A" is a picture of a standard tobacco leaf. there is a stem in the center and veins coming off of that stem that supply nutrients to thew rest of the leaf. the farther up on the leaf you go and the farther away from the stem and the stalk (not shown) the lower the nutrient concentration

    sketch "B" is the wrapper leaf after it has been cut to become a wrapper. the stem has been cut out along with the thickest part of the larger veins and the edges cut down a bit to make a more uniform wrapper.

    Sketch "C" is the addition of the wrapper leaf to the cigar. the binder is already holding the filler together at this stage. as you can see the leaf is being rolled at an angle. if you have ever looked how the seems in a cigar twist around it like a barber pole this is where it comes from.

    Sketch "D" shows you how the NUB is cut. (sort of, keep in mind this i a very quick sketch. the actual cut is way more curved and leaves more on one end to make a cap out of) there is more taken off from the edge of the leaf and a bit taken off the tips. these are the areas that do not have as many nutrients reaching them from the stem. this also results in a narrower band of tobacco that can be used as a wrapper so shorter cigars are required. the large ring can remain because the length of the leaf is not that much shorter.

    a similar process takes place with the filler leaf. in a "full length" cigar the filler leaf is folded back on itself or cut until it is about the right length. this has a tendency to make the end have less of the rich part of the leaf. with a nub, only the nutrient rich center part of the leaf is used (sweet spot)

    image

    .
    in the vitola commonly known as the "A" (usually in the range of 9 or so inches long) the filler leaf, when bunched, is not folded over or cut. this means that through the length of the cigar you get all points in the leaf.
    as discussed above, the different areas of the leaf get different nutrients in different ways. the flavor of a singular leaf will not be uniform throughout. the "A" vitola is the most likely to showcase the complexity within the filler.



    the next thing you brought up was if it is something that cooks up while its burning.
    now that there is a difficult topic to fully understand.
    as the cigar tobacco burns it creates smoke and tars and all kinds of stuff. all of this stuff runs through the unburned part of the cigar and leaves trace amounts on the tobacco. the more that is burned, the more trace amounts are left in the part you are about to smoke.
    these trace amounts of leftover smoke do influence the taste.

    homework
    1) obtain 2 inexpensive yet respectable churchill cigars.
    2) Cut one down to the size of a robusto
    3) light and smoke the full sized cigar as normal down to the size of the newly made robusto.
    4) once the full sized one is the size of the cut cigar light and smoke the cut cigar. you should notice a difference in flavor.

    if you have a partner in crime, you can have the partner smoke the full length down and pass it off to you while you light the cut down one so you can have a cleaner palate to compare.



    I suspect that there is a change to the taste buds as well. i dont see how it cant be a factor. however, that may be more in depth than i can say. a simple look at logic helps here. you can taste the cigar hours after it is done no matter the size. there is a residual there.

    i hope that helps.
  • RainRain Posts: 8,960 ✭✭✭
    This may be the most in depth answer I've ever seen on the forums. Thanks Kuzi!
  • webmostwebmost Dull-AwarePosts: 6,067 ✭✭✭✭✭
    wait a minute... wait a minute... wait a minute...
    I'm gonna have to start all over from the beginning and read this again...

    wait a minute... wait a minute...

    If there was ever any doubt, Kuzi is the man.

    So who wants to meet up at the cigar lounge to smoke a pair of churchills?

    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • biodarwinbiodarwin Western NebraskaPosts: 265 ✭✭
    Amazing information. Thank you!
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    a good chunk of that was in my Blending 101 thread.

    just read through the entire thread. theres all kinds of fun stuff there.
  • biodarwinbiodarwin Western NebraskaPosts: 265 ✭✭
    kuzi16:
    a good chunk of that was in my Blending 101 thread.

    just read through the entire thread. theres all kinds of fun stuff there.
    Even better, thank you.
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