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How did you develop your Flavor Palette?

Hi Fellow Cigar Enthusiasts,

I hope you are all well and safe. Today I smoked my first premium cigar - Olivia Connecticut Robusto and had a very underwhelming experience. As with all of the other "gas station" cigar experiences I've had, the cigar tasted like mild tobacco and I picked up no flavor notes of cream or light coffee. I tried the retrohaling method and also let it burn slowly (30-45 seconds per pull) and still had no luck.

What do you do to actually taste differences in cigars and make it more enjoyable? I see other newbies smoke flavored and infused cigars such as ACID, CAO, or Isla Del Sol but this seems like a very non authentic way to smoke. How do you go about choosing the right cigar and how do you taste the notes suggested by the experts? Not expecting the cigar to taste like a cup of coffee but I would think each cigar has some sort of distinct flavor? Is it just a matter of trail and error?

Best,
Mo

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Comments

  • CtheHamCtheHam OhioPosts: 206 ✭✭✭✭

    I am still quite the noob myself, and I am working on developing my palate as well. I started by looking at write ups or reviews on the cigar I was getting ready to smoke, make note of what I should taste, and then look for that. Now I smoke about 1/2 of the cigar, make note of what I tasted, and then see what a few websites say I "should" taste. It is working for me. Last weekend was really nice, so I actually smoked 2 in a row. The second one's flavor really stood out to me. I guess since my taste buds were used to the flavors of the first one, the tobacco itself really became the background and the nuances of the second stick really jumped out at me. Keep at it. It is a fun journey.

  • Mo_HarrisMo_Harris Posts: 10

    @CtheHam Very insightful, thank you for the comment. How did you go about choosing the cigars exactly? For me, I bought a sampler of various Connecticut cigars such as the Perdomo Champagne, Olivia Connecticut, Drew Estate Undercrown. I am wondering if i should've went with more variety in the wrapper and flavor profiles?

  • CAcigarguy007CAcigarguy007 Posts: 1,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Read up on the various wrappers and their respective qualities and generally expected flavors. Connecticut wrapped cigars are generally considered mild. Mild dose not necessarily mean less flavorful. More in nicotine strength with the body (main flavor make-up) being more nuanced. Whereas, higher nicotine cigars can have a more "slap you in the mouth" body that is straight forward and unambiguous.

    Try a few Maduro, Habano, Brazilian, Cameroon, EMS, etc wrapped cigars in different blends to see what your taste buds prefer. A lot of folks smoke many different types of cigars and choose their selection based on mood, time of day, occasion, or most usually, simply desire/taste. Get familiar with the various wrappers, growing regions, and with enough time, blenders and brands. Taste is subjective.

    Trial and error is the only way through. Buy 5 packs to start after doing your research of what sounds good to you. Don't buy a bunch of cheap stuff or commit to one style until you've tried a bunch and have your tastes dialed in. It's a journey, not a destination.

    It's a great time to be a cigar smoker! Get a humidor of some kind set up ( I recommend a plastic one with bovedas) and get out there and dig in!

  • PatrickbrickPatrickbrick Lake Zurich IlPosts: 7,255 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good advice from above, but I would buy singles to try instead of five packs.

    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".  Winston Churchill.
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  • CAcigarguy007CAcigarguy007 Posts: 1,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Patrickbrick said:
    Good advice from above, but I would buy singles to try instead of five packs.

    Problem with singles is that one cigar isn't really a good representation of a particular blend. Smoking two or three is more accurate embodiment of a blend. It also reduces those one offs of over humidified singles, especially from B&M's or long/hot transit times (you can rest a few), one off construction issues, and even user one offs, such as taste buds being off, mismatched beverage choice, post meal flavor imbalances etc.

    You also generally pay much more for singles. 5 packs are a slow way to start building a small collection, trying different blends, getting the best bang for your buck, and having a few to age and return to.

    Singles offer some advantages for higher end stick add ons but, just my opinion, aren't the best value overall. Although, it definitely helps reduce CAS which is almost a newbie right of passage..😆. I'm pretty the vast majority of us done it when starting out. It looks so nice to have a humidor full of cigars...lol. Then when you finally figure out what you truly like, it sadly represents what you "could have" bought instead. :smiley:

  • PatrickbrickPatrickbrick Lake Zurich IlPosts: 7,255 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In my opinion, when one has no clue what they like starting by picking up a handful of singles will help more and be cheaper than a handful of five packs. As one starts to get an idea of what they prefer then I agree scoop five packs.

    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".  Winston Churchill.
    MOW badge received.
  • CtheHamCtheHam OhioPosts: 206 ✭✭✭✭

    I personally went with multiple 5 packs. I got them from a couple websites. I did get a variety of wrappers and brands. I also keep a journal. I bought one off Amazon called "The Cigar Log Book". I take notes about the cigar and my experience each time I smoke. I don't have a great memory, so it helps me find a pattern of what I like, be it in wrapper, time spent smoking that cigar, construction and if I would consider buying it again. I have bought a few singles, but for me, I like the five packs. I do also keep my cigars in wooden humidors because I had a couple before I found out about other options. I started out with the PG fluid and the foam that came with them. Do not use those they don't work well. The Bovida packs are great. I however use a product called RH Shield which is like the Heartfelt beads that a lot of guys use. Bovida, Hartfelt and RH Shield are all 2 way humidification. Also use digital hygrometers not the analog dials.

  • d_bladesd_blades near Table RockPosts: 2,787 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found trying different blenders helps. I smoke a Lot of cigars by AJ, I get much different notes from Espinosa or EP Corillo's cigars. I also found I was power smoking, slowing down really brings out the flavors. The same robusto tastes different smoked in 45 minutes versus one that last over an hour.

    Turning money into smoke...about five bucks at a time, inflation adjusted to six bucks.
    My truck and I both smoke Diesel.
    Master of Yard Gars

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  • ShawnOLShawnOL The People's Communist Republic of MassachusettsPosts: 5,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think most new people start out with the mild to medium cigars, generally connecticut's and some mild maduros. You're going to branch out to stronger and more flavorful blends as the connecticut's wow you less each time.

    I went from Connies to maduros then to habanos, cameroon's and others. Unfortunately, it's not just in the wrapper. The filler makes a big difference as well. There are hundreds of combinations to be found among the different wrappers, fillers and binders.

    This is a topic that could fill pages if we went in depth.

    My best advice is to do the milder cigars until you crave something stronger and then move up to mediums and then dabble in the full-blast hit-you-in-the-face cigars.

  • YaksterYakster herf wardenPosts: 20,644 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I did the contrary, as I normal for me, and am working my way to appreciating more subtle flavors.

    I'll gladly bomb you Tuesday for an Opus today. 

                  Join us on the New Zoom vHerf (Meeting # 2619860114 Password vHerf2020 )
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 7,421 ✭✭✭✭✭

    RBeckom

    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  

    "There is nothing so in need of reforming as another person's bad habits."   Mark Twain
  • VisionVision Posts: 7,405 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ROY G. BIV

  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 7,421 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Can't give DZR all the credit.

    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  

    "There is nothing so in need of reforming as another person's bad habits."   Mark Twain
  • CAcigarguy007CAcigarguy007 Posts: 1,587 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2020

    @Vision said:
    ROY G. BIV

    Lol, I remember this from my kids watching Sesame Street. Had a flashback. I actually grew up with Eian Burton, who is LeVar Burton's son.

  • VisionVision Posts: 7,405 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I’m just shocked no one has said “Palate:
    1. The roof of the mouth, separating the cavities of the nose and the mouth in vertebrates.
    2. A person's appreciation of taste and flavor, especially when sophisticated and discriminating.
    "a fine range of cigars for sophisticated palates"

  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 7,421 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Vision said:
    I’m just shocked no one has said “Palate:
    1. The roof of the mouth, separating the cavities of the nose and the mouth in vertebrates.
    2. A person's appreciation of taste and flavor, especially when sophisticated and discriminating.
    "a fine range of cigars for sophisticated palates"

    I've tried that many many times.

    Also,

    One of the several reasons the original post is classic RBeckom.

    Could just be coincidence I suppose, but... Once bitten, twice shy.

    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  

    "There is nothing so in need of reforming as another person's bad habits."   Mark Twain
  • VegasFrankVegasFrank Real ManPosts: 13,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CAcigarguy007 said:

    @Patrickbrick said:
    Good advice from above, but I would buy singles to try instead of five packs.

    Problem with singles is that one cigar isn't really a good representation of a particular blend. Smoking two or three is more accurate embodiment of a blend. It also reduces those one offs of over humidified singles, especially from B&M's or long/hot transit times (you can rest a few), one off construction issues, and even user one offs, such as taste buds being off, mismatched beverage choice, post meal flavor imbalances etc.

    You also generally pay much more for singles. 5 packs are a slow way to start building a small collection, trying different blends, getting the best bang for your buck, and having a few to age and return to.

    Singles offer some advantages for higher end stick add ons but, just my opinion, aren't the best value overall. Although, it definitely helps reduce CAS which is almost a newbie right of passage..😆. I'm pretty the vast majority of us done it when starting out. It looks so nice to have a humidor full of cigars...lol. Then when you finally figure out what you truly like, it sadly represents what you "could have" bought instead. :smiley:

    I disagree. One cigar is often, like 99% of the time, a pretty good representation of that line. Once in a while you get one that is plugged or dried out or young or has some other weird issue. However, most of the time that single is somewhat representative of the brand.

    Don't look ↑
  • CAcigarguy007CAcigarguy007 Posts: 1,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VegasFrank said:

    @CAcigarguy007 said:

    @Patrickbrick said:
    Good advice from above, but I would buy singles to try instead of five packs.

    Problem with singles is that one cigar isn't really a good representation of a particular blend. Smoking two or three is more accurate embodiment of a blend. It also reduces those one offs of over humidified singles, especially from B&M's or long/hot transit times (you can rest a few), one off construction issues, and even user one offs, such as taste buds being off, mismatched beverage choice, post meal flavor imbalances etc.

    You also generally pay much more for singles. 5 packs are a slow way to start building a small collection, trying different blends, getting the best bang for your buck, and having a few to age and return to.

    Singles offer some advantages for higher end stick add ons but, just my opinion, aren't the best value overall. Although, it definitely helps reduce CAS which is almost a newbie right of passage..😆. I'm pretty the vast majority of us done it when starting out. It looks so nice to have a humidor full of cigars...lol. Then when you finally figure out what you truly like, it sadly represents what you "could have" bought instead. :smiley:

    I disagree. One cigar is often, like 99% of the time, a pretty good representation of that line. Once in a while you get one that is plugged or dried out or young or has some other weird issue. However, most of the time that single is somewhat representative of the brand.

    Too many variables to judge a blend by one cigar. I suppose one could "completely hate it" and that would be a good indication that further exploration and sampling would most likely be a waste of money. A cigar that one likes is another story. They can change drastically after a short resting period in an individuals ideal storage conditions.

    I've had plenty of cigars that I smoked soon after receiving, or worse, straight from a B&M, that were meh or burned less than ideal that I ended up liking a lot after some rest. Folks that don't have a lot of cigars are often the ones who are smoking cigars of this type. Those of us with a crap ton can often wait until they have been acclimated to our optimal conditions before partaking.

    Some couldn't care either way, a cigar is just a cigar, smoke em if you got em types that don't really taste particular flavors (or may have burnt out taste buds from years of cigarettes) and its simply "I like" "I don't like" and may not be interested in aging and comparative analysis. There is no wrong way. Smoke what you like, like what you smoke.

  • VegasFrankVegasFrank Real ManPosts: 13,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I see what you're saying, especially at where you are in your cigar quest. However this guy doesn't know the difference between Connecticut shade and Pennsylvania broadleaf. To that end, buying a single of A bunch of stuff and letting it sit in your humidor for a couple of weeks should be enough for him to judge whether it's meh or whether it's something worth smoking again.

    Don't look ↑
  • PatrickbrickPatrickbrick Lake Zurich IlPosts: 7,255 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Frank is saying what I was trying to say.

    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".  Winston Churchill.
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  • CAcigarguy007CAcigarguy007 Posts: 1,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @skydiverD said:
    I have heard multiple times, that to truly develop the palate and detect nuances, you need to associate yourself with the real versions of the flavors by taste and/or scent.

    So, when I see folks on here say that a ceegar tastes like Horse Sh*t, it makes me wonder..... (and feel very sorry for whomever kisses that mouth) :D

    If the cigar literally tastes like horse pucks then that is bad. Barnyard is a different matter entirely. I love when my cigars have barnyard essence. It's always delicious. PA Broadleaf has a lot of that poop factor going on and is fantastic. The Mrs. always complains when I open my humidors, especially when I do rearranging and open everything and lay it out..lol, "smells like shyt" she always says. Music to my ears honey, music to my ears. The more barnyard, the better IMO. Rich flavors are more than fine by me.

  • RhamlinRhamlin WVPosts: 8,763 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I didn’t. I like or I don’t. Granted I can make out stuff like cocoa, coffee and raisins, sometimes I can get a hint of nuttiness sometimes a metallic flavor which I don’t like because it usually means the cigar will turn bitter quick. but I’ve never tried to actually pick out anything. Sometimes when I read reviews it just makes me chuckle the way some people go on and on about what they taste.

  • avengethisavengethis Sorry, I ate all your bacon!Posts: 5,661 ✭✭✭✭✭

    IMO the original post is a two sided sword. Are you trying to develop a refined palate or find mor flavor out of cigars and find things you like?

    If you are trying to develop a palate then you need to have the associated scents/tastes/textures to physically associate with it handy. If you think it tastes like hints of leather, having a piece of leather to smell and chew on a bit is what you need to truly develop what that tastes like.

    If you are just trying to find something with more flavor compared to the mehhh flavors you are getting then it's probably time to look at a stronger cigar than a Connecticut wrapped cigar. While there are some out there with incredible flavors they are few and far between and usually they are subtle flavors that require a more refined/experienced palate to appreciate. Moving to a stronger cigar will help you get more noticeable flavor profiles and changes.

    Again this is my opinion and just like an a-hole, we all have one.

    Team O'Donnell FTW!

    "I've got a great cigar collection - it's actually not a collection, because that would imply I wasn't going to smoke ever last one of 'em." - Ron White
  • CAcigarguy007CAcigarguy007 Posts: 1,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Rhamlin said:
    I didn’t. I like or I don’t. Granted I can make out stuff like cocoa, coffee and raisins, sometimes I can get a hint of nuttiness sometimes a metallic flavor which I don’t like because it usually means the cigar will turn bitter quick. but I’ve never tried to actually pick out anything. Sometimes when I read reviews it just makes me chuckle the way some people go on and on about what they taste.

    Cigar Reviews by Phil 'Katman' Kohn. That dude must have a magic palate. I get a lot of flavors but more on the basic flavor wheel. That fella is on a whole different level...lol. Sometimes I'm like "wtf, really? . "Ice cream cone, shitake mushrooms, edemame, stewed goat, escargot, African chocolate, decalf coffee"..lol. Every cigar is like a twelve course meal; nonetheless, he has pretty interesting reviews.

  • RhamlinRhamlin WVPosts: 8,763 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CAcigarguy007 said:

    @Rhamlin said:
    I didn’t. I like or I don’t. Granted I can make out stuff like cocoa, coffee and raisins, sometimes I can get a hint of nuttiness sometimes a metallic flavor which I don’t like because it usually means the cigar will turn bitter quick. but I’ve never tried to actually pick out anything. Sometimes when I read reviews it just makes me chuckle the way some people go on and on about what they taste.

    Cigar Reviews by Phil 'Katman' Kohn. That dude must have a magic palate. I get a lot of flavors but more on the basic flavor wheel. That fella is on a whole different level...lol. Sometimes I'm like "wtf, really? . "Ice cream cone, shitake mushrooms, edemame, stewed goat, escargot, African chocolate, decalf coffee"..lol. Every cigar is like a twelve course meal; nonetheless, he has pretty interesting reviews.

    I love that dude. Is he still doing it? The only guy I thought knew what he was talking about. His stories are awesome!

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