There are many ways to develop your palate but sometimes all it takes is that A ha! moment. Below you’ll find our picks for cigars that contain an abundance of a certain flavor to help you break through to the next level of cigar enjoyment.
This is intended as a two or three part series, with today’s selections designed to pinpoint several top-level flavors. It isn’t an exhaustive list by any means as several key flavors are missing such as leather, nuttiness, coffee, etc. Expect the second and third installments to go over additional top-level flavors as well as secondary tasting notes.
Today's Tasting Notes:
Additional Tasting Notes:
Volume III: Peanuts, Floral, Hickory, Grass, Honey
Develop Your Palate – Cream | Warped Colmena Reina
Of all the tasting notes that we’ve selected for today’s article, we’re starting with the hardest one to describe. That’s because cream can be both a texture as well as a flavor. Cigar smoke can be creamy as well as maintain the flavor profile of different forms of cream: heavy whipping cream, home-made whipped cream, butter, you know the deal.
But most of the time when cigar enthusiasts describe a cigar as being creamy, they’re describing the creamy texture of the smoke. Enter the Warped Colmena Reina, an exclusive cigar to Small Batch that delivers on both accounts. Once lit, you’ll find that creamy texture as well as sweetened home-made whipped cream among other complex flavors.
Develop Your Palate – Earth | All Out Kings
Earth comes in many shapes and sizes but is unmistakable in just about any cigar in the Liga Privada series. To broaden our horizons, we selected the All Out Kings collaboration between Robert Caldwell, Willie Herrera, and Jonathan Drew. This cigar features the Liga Privada T-52 wrapper and is the perfect introduction to an earthy cigar.
Of course, earth is such a broad term that once you discover it you’ll be hard-pressed to just call it earth afterward. There’s dry dirt, wet soil, clay, damp (dank) earth, etc. And different cigars will project different nuances of earth over the course of the experience. Once lit, All Out Kings will initiate you into earthy tasting notes with what Andrew calls, “sweaty earth.”
Develop Your Palate – Cedar | Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff
Cedar is probably one of the easiest and hardest tasting notes to identify in today’s selection. Once noticed, it sticks out like a sore thumb, but this flavor is extremely adept at blending into a profile. For that reason, we chose a veritable cedar bomb to bring the concept home.
Cedar is just one of many woods that are commonly tasted in cigars, with oak and the occasional hickory flavors following suit. One easy way to identify the cedar in this cigar is to take a piece from a cigar box and smell it while you enjoy the Blind Man’s Bluff. Once lit, you can expect a non-stop cedar experience.
Develop Your Palate – Dark Chocolate | Crowned Heads Le Careme
Jon Huber and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. conceptualized this cigar to taste like a chocolate soufflé after it’s namesake, Marie Antoine Careme, the champion of soufflés. And we think they hit the nail on the head with this one, showcasing the perfect example of dark chocolate in a cigar’s flavor profile.
It’s important to note that chocolate comes in many varietals, and we chose Le Careme for dark chocolate bordering on cocoa powder. This version of chocolate is stronger, more bitter, and less refined than milk chocolate. Once lit, Le Careme will illustrate several different forms of dark chocolate in a very unique way.
Developing Your Palate – Pepper | Quesada 40th Petite Belicoso
When searching for a cigar that demonstrated pepper, we wanted to make sure to give you an unparalleled pepper experience. While Pepin is known for pepper, this little firecracker shows up to show out. The Quesada 40th Petite Belicoso is another exclusive made just for Small Batch.
Like everything above, there are caveats to this tasting note as well. When developing your palate, you’ll notice that there are flavors of peppercorn as well as the heat associated with it. When most cigar enthusiasts discuss pepper, however, they’re describing the spicy nature unless it's denoted as peppercorn. And getting further into the weeds, advanced palates can occasionally distinguish the differences between white, red, and black pepper. Once lit, expect this particular Quesada 40th to resonate pepper for the first inch or so before dialing it back for some much needed relief.
Tips You Can Taste
Contrary to popular belief, not every tasting note is actually tasted. For instance, several flavors that cigar enthusiasts discuss are sensations or scents. Leather, earth, and cedar are some of the most prominent notes that exemplify this notion, as they’re mentioned frequently but very rarely tasted. When we talk about these tasting notes, we’re talking about the smell.
The act of tasting something is a perceived sensation (chemosensation) that comes from our nose, mouth, and throat. This is why many cigar enthusiasts like to retro hale, a technique that focuses some or all of the smoke up through the nasal passages. It’s important to make the disctinction that this isn’t inhaling, but rather using all of your taste potential.
The hotter your tobacco gets, the less distinctive it will be. Bitter, acrid flavors will trump any of the finer tasting notes that you may get from your cigar. Slow and steady doesn’t just work for the tortoise, it works for cigar enthusiasts as well.
Drink pairings actively change your cigar experience much like different instagram filters change your picture. While training your palate to recognize certain flavors, it’s always suggested to drink a flavored beverage sparingly so that the cigar isn’t overpowered.