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Refining Your Pallette

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Update, if anyone is interested (probably not), but I smoked two cigars this weekend and put to use some of the information from this post. Had an EP Carrillo on Friday, and a AB American Classic on Sunday. I was not able to read a review while I smoked, but looked afterwards, and some of what I picked up was listed in the review. I hope I can get better at this moving forward, but was pleasantly surprised at how much just slowing down helped.
 

ChefBoyRG54

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Update, if anyone is interested (probably not), but I smoked two cigars this weekend and put to use some of the information from this post. Had an EP Carrillo on Friday, and a AB American Classic on Sunday. I was not able to read a review while I smoked, but looked afterwards, and some of what I picked up was listed in the review. I hope I can get better at this moving forward, but was pleasantly surprised at how much just slowing down helped.
The more practice the more comes through in my experience. Also the more focus you can have(less distractions etc) helps.

Sounds like you're making progress.

And I was interested, don't be so insecure;)
 
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I have seen lots of posts lately in regards to "refining a palate" so I thought I'd toss my $.02 in.

The key reason for refining your palate is to aide in picking up the subtilties in your smokes, so here are a few tips that I believe will help you out:

1.) A "refined" palate doesn't come over night and isn't available to everyone. Genetics has a lot to do with it as well, so don't get discouraged. The main key is to try a WIDE variety of cigars and to concentrate on them when smoking. (ie: Don't be working on your car or mowing your lawn.)

2.) Smoke slower! Remember the one minute rule between draws. This is the most common reason people don't pick up certain flavors. For one, they smoke too fast which causes a cigar to get hot and bitter. Secondly, because they are smoking to quickly, they don't have a chance to savor the flavors and don't concentrate on them. Try it, I guarantee you will pick up more flavor.

3.) After taking a draw and expelling the smoke, take some air in through your nose and mouth (at the same time if you can do it). By drawing air through you mouth and nose you pull some concentrated flavors across your olfactory and can usually pick up a ton of subtle flavors this way.

4.) Drink water. Try not to drink anything that will over power or effect the flavor of your smoke. As you get good at discerning what flavors are in a smoke, you can then pair beverages that will compliment those flavors. (Rums, scotches, coffees, etc...)

5.) Read reviews. I am a firm believer in the "smoke what you like and like what you smoke" but reviews (and MRN's book) are a great GUIDE to leading you in the direction of smokes that fit your preferred flavor profile(s). I am not saying go buy a box of ANYTHING based on a review. If a review or a couple of reviews describe flavors that seem to be in your preferred flavor profile, then pick up a couple to try for yourself before committing to a box.

6.) Smoke a cigar that has been reviewed and try to follow along with the reviewer. You'll be amazed at how smoking along with someone else's notes will help you pick up flavors that you couldn't put your finger on.

7.) Take notes for yourself! Break the cigar down into thirds (first 1/3, second 1/3, final 1/3). Most cigars change flavor in these areas so it's a good general rule to follow. By taking your own notes, you slow down and concentrate on the flavors.

8.) SMOKE SLOWER! - It is worth mentioning twice.

9.) Once you get these basic techniques down and manage to concentrate on flavors and not techniques (like smoking slower!) I HIGHLY recommend blowing a little smoke through your nose about 2-3 times during each third. Some may argue that they do it every time but I do think there can be too much as the nasal cavity is sensitive and the hot smoke may effect it's ability to decern flavors later in the smoking experience. (You need to find a happy medium for yourself though).

I remember when I first tried it I did too much smoke and I thought my nose was going to burn off...my eyes wouldn't stop watering! LOL!

10.) Try new cuisines & beverages! Foods & beverages are a great way to develop a palate. Concentrate on each bit and try to pick up the herbs, spices, etc...

*Side note - I was smoking a small stick one time on my drive home from work and it had a certain flavor that I just couldn't relate to what it was. I was driving my crazy! So when I got home I opened the spice cabinet and sniffed through (and tasted) them all. Couldn't figure it out. A week later, I was enjoying dinner at one of our favorite places and BAM! I tasted the flavor in my meal that I had tasted in the smoke. Dried Apricots!

Hope this helps and happy smoking my friends!

~Mark
what you wrote was great, i try to follow all these when i review a cigar.
 
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Thanks Mark. Great post for us newbys!
I have seen lots of posts lately in regards to "refining a palate" so I thought I'd toss my $.02 in.

The key reason for refining your palate is to aide in picking up the subtilties in your smokes, so here are a few tips that I believe will help you out:

1.) A "refined" palate doesn't come over night and isn't available to everyone. Genetics has a lot to do with it as well, so don't get discouraged. The main key is to try a WIDE variety of cigars and to concentrate on them when smoking. (ie: Don't be working on your car or mowing your lawn.)

2.) Smoke slower! Remember the one minute rule between draws. This is the most common reason people don't pick up certain flavors. For one, they smoke too fast which causes a cigar to get hot and bitter. Secondly, because they are smoking to quickly, they don't have a chance to savor the flavors and don't concentrate on them. Try it, I guarantee you will pick up more flavor.

3.) After taking a draw and expelling the smoke, take some air in through your nose and mouth (at the same time if you can do it). By drawing air through you mouth and nose you pull some concentrated flavors across your olfactory and can usually pick up a ton of subtle flavors this way.

4.) Drink water. Try not to drink anything that will over power or effect the flavor of your smoke. As you get good at discerning what flavors are in a smoke, you can then pair beverages that will compliment those flavors. (Rums, scotches, coffees, etc...)

5.) Read reviews. I am a firm believer in the "smoke what you like and like what you smoke" but reviews (and MRN's book) are a great GUIDE to leading you in the direction of smokes that fit your preferred flavor profile(s). I am not saying go buy a box of ANYTHING based on a review. If a review or a couple of reviews describe flavors that seem to be in your preferred flavor profile, then pick up a couple to try for yourself before committing to a box.

6.) Smoke a cigar that has been reviewed and try to follow along with the reviewer. You'll be amazed at how smoking along with someone else's notes will help you pick up flavors that you couldn't put your finger on.

7.) Take notes for yourself! Break the cigar down into thirds (first 1/3, second 1/3, final 1/3). Most cigars change flavor in these areas so it's a good general rule to follow. By taking your own notes, you slow down and concentrate on the flavors.

8.) SMOKE SLOWER! - It is worth mentioning twice.

9.) Once you get these basic techniques down and manage to concentrate on flavors and not techniques (like smoking slower!) I HIGHLY recommend blowing a little smoke through your nose about 2-3 times during each third. Some may argue that they do it every time but I do think there can be too much as the nasal cavity is sensitive and the hot smoke may effect it's ability to decern flavors later in the smoking experience. (You need to find a happy medium for yourself though).

I remember when I first tried it I did too much smoke and I thought my nose was going to burn off...my eyes wouldn't stop watering! LOL!

10.) Try new cuisines & beverages! Foods & beverages are a great way to develop a palate. Concentrate on each bit and try to pick up the herbs, spices, etc...

*Side note - I was smoking a small stick one time on my drive home from work and it had a certain flavor that I just couldn't relate to what it was. I was driving my crazy! So when I got home I opened the spice cabinet and sniffed through (and tasted) them all. Couldn't figure it out. A week later, I was enjoying dinner at one of our favorite places and BAM! I tasted the flavor in my meal that I had tasted in the smoke. Dried Apricots!

Hope this helps and happy smoking my friends!

~Mark
 
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what you wrote was great, i try to follow all these when i review a cigar.
Absolutely some great information! Thanks for the post! I like to go along with reviews too its helpful to see what you're picking up that they arent and vice versa. I definitely try to retrohale at least 3+ times each third, but I also like to use a flavor wheel when I smoke new sticks to help focus in on the flavors to better discern what's what. I am going to try the inhaling trick through the nose and mouth simultaneously and see how it works out. Thanks again!
 
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Each time i read this I find it helpful.

Does anyone else have anything to add? Specifically, I'm wondering if you guys think smoking 1 a day is too much for a noob.
I know that I'm answering to a question posted 10 years ago, but just for the history of answers:
A cigar has no chemicals... Not like the tiny cigarette that contains 260+ chemicals, including the Arsenic. We puff Cigar, and not smoke it i.e. we do not inhale!
Therefore, I consider Cigar less, much much much less harmful with minimum effects.
If you consider the Cigar Aficionado Magazine Nov.December 2017 issue, with Michael Jordan photo on the cover page, he confessed smoking 6 Cigars a day, including one on his way to the game while driving in Chicago streets (which was a surprise to me).
Another wonderful youtube video of a vet in Texas, aged 109, smokes 12 a day, like Winston Churchill (12 as well).
So the question here is: do we have time for all those Cigars? (and sometimes enough budget to cover it).
But in general, as Cigar puffing is that special moment for each one of us, to enjoy and relax, I guess we barely can spare one a day!
Just my point of view, after 10 years of the post :D (joined the group last week)
Cheers!
 
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Hi @Monk357. You should consider doing some research on this. Anecdotes aside, cigars do present health risks, and definitely contain large quantities of most of the chemicals present in cigarettes. There are good reasons to think that the way cigars are smoked (small quantities, not inhaled) makes the health impact significantly less than cigarettes, but it's still there.

The FDA is currently deliberating on whether to regulate cigars as they regulate cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. One of the arguments they've used in the past is that smokers are incapable of making their own informed risk assessments, and therefore the government has to step in. The cigarette companies did themselves no favors by pretending away the health risks for decades, and neither do we if we do the same. If we want to keep our freedoms, it's our responsibility to face the facts head on: to say "Yes, I am aware of the risks, and I still choose to smoke cigars. This is my choice to make, not yours."

I don't mean to throw off the palate discussion; feel free to delete if it isn't appropriate to post this response here. I just really don't want to see fuel added to the FDA fire right now.
 
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Hi @Monk357. You should consider doing some research on this. Anecdotes aside, cigars do present health risks, and definitely contain large quantities of most of the chemicals present in cigarettes. There are good reasons to think that the way cigars are smoked (small quantities, not inhaled) makes the health impact significantly less than cigarettes, but it's still there.

The FDA is currently deliberating on whether to regulate cigars as they regulate cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. One of the arguments they've used in the past is that smokers are incapable of making their own informed risk assessments, and therefore the government has to step in. The cigarette companies did themselves no favors by pretending away the health risks for decades, and neither do we if we do the same. If we want to keep our freedoms, it's our responsibility to face the facts head on: to say "Yes, I am aware of the risks, and I still choose to smoke cigars. This is my choice to make, not yours."

I don't mean to throw off the palate discussion; feel free to delete if it isn't appropriate to post this response here. I just really don't want to see fuel added to the FDA fire right now.
I'll guess I'll create a new Discussion in the forum concerning the effects of Cigar smoking.
Just for the record, I never said it is with no harm; of course it is harmful. But as you said: better research about it.
Thanks for the info!
 
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One of the local B & M that understand to give the Steak, but sell the Sizzle (their business plan). Has sponsored a Davidoff Event about palette training. Apprently it is like $25.00 - $30.00, and you get a couple of special blend for palate training, plus DFavadoff expert does the event.

The big deal is apprently you get two sample a couple of cigars that are filler & binder only. There you move on too some the same stuff with a wrapper on it. This is so you I can become a sofisticated person, and cigar aficionado.

No I have not participate in the little school, know a couple of guy who did that have mixed reports.
 

bwhite220

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I have seen lots of posts lately in regards to "refining a palate" so I thought I'd toss my $.02 in.

The key reason for refining your palate is to aide in picking up the subtilties in your smokes, so here are a few tips that I believe will help you out:

1.) A "refined" palate doesn't come over night and isn't available to everyone. Genetics has a lot to do with it as well, so don't get discouraged. The main key is to try a WIDE variety of cigars and to concentrate on them when smoking. (ie: Don't be working on your car or mowing your lawn.)

2.) Smoke slower! Remember the one minute rule between draws. This is the most common reason people don't pick up certain flavors. For one, they smoke too fast which causes a cigar to get hot and bitter. Secondly, because they are smoking to quickly, they don't have a chance to savor the flavors and don't concentrate on them. Try it, I guarantee you will pick up more flavor.

3.) After taking a draw and expelling the smoke, take some air in through your nose and mouth (at the same time if you can do it). By drawing air through you mouth and nose you pull some concentrated flavors across your olfactory and can usually pick up a ton of subtle flavors this way.

4.) Drink water. Try not to drink anything that will over power or effect the flavor of your smoke. As you get good at discerning what flavors are in a smoke, you can then pair beverages that will compliment those flavors. (Rums, scotches, coffees, etc...)

5.) Read reviews. I am a firm believer in the "smoke what you like and like what you smoke" but reviews (and MRN's book) are a great GUIDE to leading you in the direction of smokes that fit your preferred flavor profile(s). I am not saying go buy a box of ANYTHING based on a review. If a review or a couple of reviews describe flavors that seem to be in your preferred flavor profile, then pick up a couple to try for yourself before committing to a box.

6.) Smoke a cigar that has been reviewed and try to follow along with the reviewer. You'll be amazed at how smoking along with someone else's notes will help you pick up flavors that you couldn't put your finger on.

7.) Take notes for yourself! Break the cigar down into thirds (first 1/3, second 1/3, final 1/3). Most cigars change flavor in these areas so it's a good general rule to follow. By taking your own notes, you slow down and concentrate on the flavors.

8.) SMOKE SLOWER! - It is worth mentioning twice.

9.) Once you get these basic techniques down and manage to concentrate on flavors and not techniques (like smoking slower!) I HIGHLY recommend blowing a little smoke through your nose about 2-3 times during each third. Some may argue that they do it every time but I do think there can be too much as the nasal cavity is sensitive and the hot smoke may effect it's ability to decern flavors later in the smoking experience. (You need to find a happy medium for yourself though).

I remember when I first tried it I did too much smoke and I thought my nose was going to burn off...my eyes wouldn't stop watering! LOL!

10.) Try new cuisines & beverages! Foods & beverages are a great way to develop a palate. Concentrate on each bit and try to pick up the herbs, spices, etc...

*Side note - I was smoking a small stick one time on my drive home from work and it had a certain flavor that I just couldn't relate to what it was. I was driving my crazy! So when I got home I opened the spice cabinet and sniffed through (and tasted) them all. Couldn't figure it out. A week later, I was enjoying dinner at one of our favorite places and BAM! I tasted the flavor in my meal that I had tasted in the smoke. Dried Apricots!

Hope this helps and happy smoking my friends!

~Mark
Mark is the greatest thing to ever happen to this site.

Thanks for posting this, man!
 
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