About those “flavors” found in premium cigars

Q. How do these “cigar tasters”identify the flavors they detect, like “white chocolate?” I find it difficult to taste “white chocolate” when I am eating white chocolate,” let alone taste it in a cigar! They say that the cigar has “spice,” “notes of “leather,” “hints of “pepper,” “almonds,” etc.,I have been smoking and enjoying cigars for many years, and the answer to this question has always eluded me.
– Pat G. in Whitehouse Station, NJ

A. First of all, you’re not alone. A generous segment of cigar smokers never taste any of these “flavors” in their cigars, yet there are many others who do. It has mostly to do with the sensitivity of each person’s palate. Although I would persinally classify most cigars as tasting primarily “woody,” I have discerned flavor attributes such as nutmeg, roasted nuts, caramel, cocoa, leather, cinnamon (sweet spice), red pepper (sharp spice), and coffee bean in a number of premium cigars. Moreover, if a cigar is very spicy, regardless of how sensitive your palate is, it’s pretty hard not to pick up on that trait.

I would add that many of these so-called “flavors” stem from the cigar’s aroma. Since your taste buds (what you taste) and olfactory senses (what you smell) are interconnected, it seems logical that a cigar smoker would pick up on these “flavors” and include them in his (or her) description of a specific blend.

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