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Interesting how your taste evolves/changes.

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I mentioned this on one of the first posts I made last month when I joined this site...but I have casually smoked cigars over the past decade or so and enjoyed a lot of them. I had some very very rudimentary knowledge of them, and abided by the "light wrapper = mild" logic. I was fortunate somewhat in that the friend who introduced me to them had what I now recognize as good taste. He was an Ashton guy and that is pretty much most of what I smoked. I think I tried the occasional R&J, and was treated to some Cuban Cohibas once, which were superb. In short, I have always enjoyed a good cigar, but never really gave them much thought.

I decided to get into cigars as a hobby and learn all about them. Last month I ordered a Connecticut sampler, and that has been what I have been working through of late. But as I tried those sticks, I noticed that while I definitely enjoyed them (save for a Perdomo that just tasted like burning), they were largely underwhelming.

I had a theory...so when I placed my next order, I had the goal of expanding my horizons and stepping out of my usual "mild/light" comfort zone. I kinda suspected that all of those years, I didn't so much want a "mild" smoke as I wanted a "not harsh" smoke. I had read reviews talking about "leather, cedar, pepper" and such associated with different wrappers and thought "gross...who would want to taste that?". But then I decided that maybe I was missing out. So, of the 11 sticks I ordered, only one was a Connecticut. The rest were all manner of everything else, but each seemed to be highly regarded. Since they arrived, I have been letting them acclimate in the tupperdor (and instead smoking the rest of the mild sampler sticks) until this past weekend, when I tried the first of them, with an open mind. The stick in question was an Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic.

Let me tell you, when I fired it up, I was blown away. I tasted those cedar and spice notes that people talked about...but instead of being gross, they were delicious. It really still doesn't make sense to me. I don't see myself wanting to gnaw on a piece of leather or a chunk of cedar...but damn if those flavors don't make for a yummy smoke. So I guess my tastes have evolved...and I am super excited about my next smoke this coming weekend. Can't decide which one to pick though...maybe the CAO Italia or the Oliva Serie V.

It's just really cool to learn more about this thing and to expand your horizons. Also pretty neat to have a place to discuss a hobby that bores your spouse to tears...she got so tired of hearing me say "Damn, this is a GOOD cigar"...though I guess I am glad she was at least willing to hang out on the porch with me. :D
 
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Boudie

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Most of us wouldn't want a bowl of barnyard but it is a common note. Same as manure, hay, moss, must, leather etc. If you look for "reminds me of" instead of "tastes like" you'll be able to identify more flavors or hints of flavors.

Find a good flavor wheel, there are hundreds out there and look over the flavors as you smoke a cigar, you may be surprised just how much a cigar changes while you smoke it and over time. Make notes of your tastings.
 
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It's not your taste buds, it's your olfactory gland located in your sinuses. Ever ate something that reminded you of how something else smelled? Or smelled something that reminded you of how something else tasted? That's the olfactory. It's also why you can't taste anything when you have a cold or sinus congestion. This is why it's important to breathe when smoking and not hold your breath, you'll experience more. Since the olfactory extends to the area near those memories you keep upstairs, your sense of smell (and taste) has the strongest ties to memories than any other sense. Hence why people smoke cigars during celebrations and special occasions. They are literally burning strong connections to memory.

While exploring, you may want to pay attention to what you smell, eat and drink the days that you have cigars. I have had things influence what I smoked that day. One of the most noticeable instances is when I went to a pipe shop and was smelling a variety of tobaccos. A strong Cavendish aroma stuck with me and a cigar I smoked a couple of hours later took on very similar notes. There are multiple aspects relating to the person that can influence what they pick up while smoking.

(y)
 
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Well, I think it is confirmed. It wasn't "mild" that I wanted, after all. I was lucky enough to try two different sticks two days in a row that totally blew me out of the water! And oddly enough, both of them are (at least according to the internet reviews i read) considered to be fuller strength, in spite of the fact that they tasted smooth and gentle as could be to me. The La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva, and the CAO Brazilia. Both were absolutely amazing, particularly the latter. I learned that I REALLY love espresso/black coffee/leather/bitter chocolate notes. I mean, I'm thinking these are my favorite things to taste in a cigar thus far. Looks like the one thing these sticks have in common is that they both have Nicaraguan filler. Hmmmm. Is this the key?

My experiments will continue! Next up:

- Maduros: I have about 6 maduros I ordered as I suspect that I will love this kind of stick. We shall see!

- Nicaraguan: A lot of it (save for the Oliva Serie V I tried) keeps hitting me as harsh/peppery/ashtray. Do I just not like pepper notes? Better try some more just to make sure.

- San Andres/Brazilian wrappers: My two favorite smokes so far have these wrappers. Will I like others with the same wrapper?

The adventure continues, brothers!
 
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Although not exclusive, those tasting notes are common with Nicaragua tobaccos. It can be difficult to judge a blend from just one stick. Some of the ones that seemed harsh may have just needed more rest. Or maybe they just weren't the best examples. Some of those may be worth trying again at some point. Exploring cigars is a lot of fun though, I really enjoy the different varieties.
 
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