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Ideal Palate Development Sampler?

Puff_DougiePuff_Dougie Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodPosts: 4,601 ✭✭✭✭✭
This may be a stupid question, but if you were to put together the perfect sampler to help someone new to cigars to develop their palate, what sticks would you include? Would there be an ideal mix of smokes that you think would provide a broad experience of different strengths, flavors, and blends? If you had to pick, say, six cigars for an Intro to Palate Development Sampler, what would they be, and why?
"When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Comments

  • ejgormanejgorman Monroe, WIPosts: 1,115 ✭✭✭
    Although I haven't tried enough to offer any specific advice, I'm interested in seeing what our more experienced members come up with. Personally I've only encountered 2 cigars that have stood head and shoulders above the rest, but as someone new to cigars I would think offering some contrast in terms of strength and flavor profile would be a huge help to developing someone's palate.
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  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    While I'm far from experienced enough to really be qualified to answer this question, here's my attempt:

    San Cristobal Elegencia-it's different for Pepin but the flavors are more distinguishable than some Connies thanks to his style.

    La Riqueza-nice firecracker by Pete Johnson and Jaime Garcia

    AF Hemingway Short Story Maduro-I think this is a good intro to maduro.

    Ashton VSG-good intro to how strong can also be smooth

    MOW PA-these have so much oil, you can feel it on your lips. So very different from other cigars out there, but still with some interesting flavors.

    The last one is a toss up for me. I'm not trying to pick my favorite sticks here; rather, I'm trying to pick ones with some good and distinguishable flavors and different feel, body, and finish. I'm tempted to go with a really mild Connie, either Oliva CT Reserve or Avo Classic. On the other hand, I might suggest the Oliva Melanio for the beauty of the wrapper and a full sensory experience, but I'm a Melanio pimp so I try to rein in my tendency to suggest it. I'd consider JdN Celebracion in the Consul or Corona size. But as I think about it, I might just lean towards the Sol Cubano Cuban Cabinet. I've only had one of these, so that goes out on a limb, but I thought it was good, great for the price. Only problem is that it's another AJ blend. For that reason I might lean toward Avo, some other Kelner blend or even find some other blender to highlight.

    I think these are fairly common sticks; nothing super-premium to make a new smoker feel like they had to like the cigar because of the price. Nothing extremely budget, either. Oh, and I tried to pick sticks available from c.com, too.

    This thread is a great one. I wish I'd gone this direction when I started, with more of a focus on learning blenders and their style instead of looking for a country or type of wrapper.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • catfishbluezzcatfishbluezz Posts: 7,001
    Palate developer? Stop smoking for a week. Start back once a day after dinner with mild-medium the next week, think connys. Then Dominican for a week medium stuff. Take notes on everything, smoke alone, and drink ice water. All of the sudden the fuller blends you might've been used to might not be so distinct. Third week only Nica puros on the fuller side. Fourth week only San Andreas. You will start to get the feel for what it good and what you like from each region and profile. As you progress, each week concentrate in specific regions or blenders. Best thing you can do is only smoke Cubans a month and then go back. It will give you a while new appreciation for the better blends from each region. Really what I am trying to get at, is most smoker go through a natural progression from mild-full. Take some time off, and go back through it again and concentrate on specifics. That will get you in tune with nuance from regions, blenders, etc...
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 5,172 ✭✭✭✭✭
    How new to cigars is the person? That would be my first consideration. If they're very new, I'd start with the CCOM house blends sampler, gives them a chance at different styles without breaking the bank. After that? Martels suggestions are spot on, I don't think I could top that line up.
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  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Amos Umwhat:
    How new to cigars is the person? That would be my first consideration. If they're very new, I'd start with the CCOM house blends sampler, gives them a chance at different styles without breaking the bank. After that? Martels suggestions are spot on, I don't think I could top that line up.
    Sweet, someone agrees with me!

    My first order was a house blends sampler, but I wish I'd just bought regular cigars. The house blends are fine as they go, but I don't think they represent the best of cigars. They're more a close approximation. Some of the best house blends around, but I don't think they're great for developing a palate. At least I didn't think so. They'd be great as a comparison, though.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • Lee.mcglynnLee.mcglynn HahahahaaaaaPosts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭
    IMHO the la aurora preferidos is a great way too see how wrappers really affect the blend. They are med bodied and all have the same blend...difference being the wrappers oh and yup the figurado shape really helps as well. But if you just want too pick up different notes in a cigar then that's a different story all together
    Money can't buy taste
  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,673 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've concluded that cigars are like people. They're all different, and even as individual cigars they can seem to change depending on outside influences on them and on my palate. But, I'm diggin' this discussion. I have tried what seems like a lot of cigars at this point, but I can't easily explain exactly why I like or don't like a particular cigar.

    I have also wished for a similar sampler. A sampler of cigars that each has one single specific flavor that is obviously dominant over all the others in order to learn how to better detect that single flavor among the other flavors present in a cigar. But I would suspect that an "educational" sampler like this would never exist unless created for that purpose because a great blender wouldn't let a single flavor dominate to that degree. Would they?
  • Puff_DougiePuff_Dougie Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodPosts: 4,601 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great list, Martel! Thanks for putting some thought into this. I think/hope this thread will be helpful to many of us who are relatively new to cigars.

    catfishbluezz:
    Palate developer? Stop smoking for a week. Start back once a day after dinner with mild-medium the next week, think connys. Then Dominican for a week medium stuff. Take notes on everything, smoke alone, and drink ice water. All of the sudden the fuller blends you might've been used to might not be so distinct. Third week only Nica puros on the fuller side. Fourth week only San Andreas. You will start to get the feel for what it good and what you like from each region and profile. As you progress, each week concentrate in specific regions or blenders. Best thing you can do is only smoke Cubans a month and then go back. It will give you a while new appreciation for the better blends from each region. Really what I am trying to get at, is most smoker go through a natural progression from mild-full. Take some time off, and go back through it again and concentrate on specifics. That will get you in tune with nuance from regions, blenders, etc...
    Another great suggestion, Dustin! Are there specific sticks you would recommend in each category?
    "When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
  • Ken_LightKen_Light Posts: 3,539 ✭✭✭
    I can see taking this in one of two directions, and I'm not sure which is best.

    1) "Bombs" A chocolate bomb, a pepper bomb, a leather bomb, etc. etc. so that the person really gets what those flavors taste like.

    2) Similar cigars that vary on some major facet, like wrapper, as someone suggested with the La Aurora Preferidos. Another way to do something similar would be one cigar in multiple vitolas to be able to realize the differences that can create.

    I feel like for the absolute beginner number one works best. Kuzi has a thread on developing your palette where he suggests actually tasting the flavors before or along with the cigar to really be able to pull them out of the cigar's flavor. That might work well in conjunction, although there is some debate (in the thread) as to whether anyone wants to actually taste leather! Number two might be a good second step if someone is really trying to refine their palette though, so as others have said it depends on experience.
    ^Troll: DO NOT FEED.
  • catfishbluezzcatfishbluezz Posts: 7,001
    Puff_Dougie:
    Another great suggestion, Dustin! Are there specific sticks you would recommend in each category?
    Sure, I mean you would be looking at several samplers really. For Conny, I'd say:

    Avo , Perdomo Champagne, La Aurora, Cabaiguan, Mac 2006, Jameson Red, Monte white, Angelenos... Basically an assortment of mild-med conny's from different regions. You will start to notice the differences in tobacco from the different region. Similar wrapper type, yet totally different flavor profiles.

    DR try stuff from Henke, La Aurora, Rodrigo, Fuente, etc... Nica DPG, AJ, Plasencia Boutiques, Carlos Fernandez, etc... San Andreas (jsut a suggestion as there is a ton) stuff like Padron, UC, or the many others out there. You could Penn Broadleaf, Ecuadorian Habano, Rosado, etc...

    The point i am trying to get at, it back off the heavier cigars and start over light again after a good break. You will notice flavors there you might not have noticed before. As you work your way back up into full bodied cigars, you will look at them much differently. When I take a note, it is normally after I detect a flavor, then drink ice water, and wait to see if that specific flavor is still there in my mind and on my palate after 5-10 minutes. If it is, that's a note. I've been lucky enough to review and get samples from all over, so by making myself look at each cigar by region, blender, body, etc..., I kind of forced myself to grow. At times, it does seem like everything has the same notes. However, when you consider they might all be coming from the same place, that's what sets the good guys apart. The ability to use the same types of tobacco with the same types of notes, yet create a bouquet of complexity that is unique.
  • Puff_DougiePuff_Dougie Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodPosts: 4,601 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Awesome! Very helpful suggestions from everyone! And some fantastic recommendations! This is exactly what I had in mind.
    "When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
  • catfishbluezzcatfishbluezz Posts: 7,001
    Once you understand regions, you can understand how complexity develops in a blend with tobacco from several regions. Once you understand San Andreas as a wrapper, or say Mata Fina, then you can understand how that might affect a Conny as a binder. Make sense? Or how it may influence the finish as a filler.
  • Puff_DougiePuff_Dougie Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodPosts: 4,601 ✭✭✭✭✭
    catfishbluezz:
    Once you understand regions, you can understand how complexity develops in a blend with tobacco from several regions. Once you understand San Andreas as a wrapper, or say Mata Fina, then you can understand how that might affect a Conny as a binder. Make sense? Or how it may influence the finish as a filler.
    Oh how I wish I could say, "Yes sir! Makes perfect sense!" Unfortunately, at this point I just read, "Blah blah blah tobacco... blah blah conny.... blah blah blah binder... blah blah filler." I really appreciate your knowledge, Dustin, and will be seeking to grow in my own understanding and appreciation as I gain experience. One day, my goal is to be able to re-visit these comments and say, "Yes! I get it! THAT's what Catfish was trying to tell me!"

    In the meantime, I will make it a short term goal to try your suggested strategy of taking a week off from smoking, then working up through the milder smokes. Thanks again for taking the time to educate us!
    "When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
  • RainRain Posts: 8,960 ✭✭✭
    A week off? Heck to the no!!! Newbie sampler? Smoke everything.That was easy.
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Agree with Martel & Amos.....
    Cast a wide net & smoke everything. Especially starting off and then start to notice a pattern of flavors like & dislikes then take a closer look at where those cigars came from, wrappers, blenders etc. and you can narrow it down. Once you know what you like you can focus on a narrower path if you choose.

    And keep the price low starting out IMO. Nothing like spending $20 on your first cigar and hating it....

    Rain:
    A week off? Heck to the no!!! Newbie sampler? Smoke everything.That was easy.
    MOW sampler FTW??

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • RainRain Posts: 8,960 ✭✭✭
    If a new guy smoked the MOW (FTW) sampler....he would be hooked for life. Conny? Got one. Maduro? Chyeah. Overwhelming power? MOW effing PA FTW.Oh, I like other cigars too. Quesada Tributo for DR and a Partagas short for ISOM.
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Rain:
    If a new guy smoked the MOW (FTW) sampler....he would be hooked for life. Conny? Got one. Maduro? Chyeah. Overwhelming power? MOW effing PA FTW.
    #WINNING
    Rain:
    Oh, I like other cigars too. Quesada Tributo for DR and a Partagas short for ISOM.
    Maybe, only after smoking MOWFTW though. ,

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    i would spread it out over several days/weeks.

    I would go with the Avo XO to understand musk
    Illusione Cruzado for a feel of leather
    Emilio AF1 for a good spice
    Illusione -R- Rothchildes for a vegetable style sweetness
    four kicks for a cedar note
    JdN dark corojo for coffee
    room 101 connecticut for a licorice note.
    onyx reserve for a chocolate note.
    Oliva G maduro for a nice earth (on the sweeter side)


    thats nine of the most common flavors you can find in cigars. most of the above cigars are generally not hard to find.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    or we can look at this a different way...

    for Dominican:
    Opus X, Rodrigo La Fortaleza, Davidoff Millennium blend (i know Ecuadorian wrapper)

    for Nicaraguan:
    Oliva Serie V.

    for Honduran:
    Punch Gran Puro, Camacho Criollo, CLE Corojo, Humo Jaguar

    Cameroon:
    Arturo Fuente Don Carlos #4


    Cuba:
    Partagas Series D no4, Monte 2, Bolavar Belicosos Finos




    i wouldnt say that all of the cigars i mentioned in this thread are my favorites but they will give a decent selection of whats out there and what to look for.
  • Puff_DougiePuff_Dougie Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodPosts: 4,601 ✭✭✭✭✭
    kuzi16:
    i would spread it out over several days/weeks.

    I would go with the Avo XO to understand musk
    Illusione Cruzado for a feel of leather
    Emilio AF1 for a good spice
    Illusione -R- Rothchildes for a vegetable style sweetness
    four kicks for a cedar note
    JdN dark corojo for coffee
    room 101 connecticut for a licorice note.
    onyx reserve for a chocolate note.
    Oliva G maduro for a nice earth (on the sweeter side)


    thats nine of the most common flavors you can find in cigars. most of the above cigars are generally not hard to find.
    Great list, Kuzi! Thanks!
    "When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
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