Cigars 101

Why does my mouth feel dry after smoking some cigars?

Q: I’ve been smoking cigars ever since one of the guys in my office turned me on to them about a year ago. Sometimes we’ll go to a cigar lounge after work for a smoke. I like Fuentes, Romeo y Julietas, and Rocky Patels, but I noticed that sometimes when I smoke, my mouth gets very dry like there’s sand in it. I tried drinking water but it’s boring. Any suggestions?
– Jake in Redondo Beach, Ca

A: As far as treating dry mouth, I’m no expert, but I’ve seen commercials for dry mouth products, so you might want to look into one of them and try using it before you smoke. (Note that the flavor of the product may affect your palate.) You should also note which cigars in particular give you dry mouth and decide if you want to stay with them or move on to a different brand/blend.

I do know that cigars blended with a lot of Dominican Olor tend to make the mouth feel dry, so check the blend before you purchase certain cigars. For some reason, Dominican-grown Olor affects the part of the tongue that’s sensitive to salty foods. For example, Avo cigars, as well as other Dominican-made cigars, often use a blend of Dominican Olor and San Vicente tobaccos. San Vicente leaf activates the salivary glands, which counters the drying effect of the Olor leaf. This is probably why these two tobaccos are used in tandem so often. The blend is the key to how your palate will respond. Unless you have chronic dry mouth, a well-balanced blend should keep your palate balanced, too.

As far as what you’re drinking, water is good for getting a “feel” for the cigar’s character and complexities, but I also suggest trying some good Ports, whiskeys, or even better, try searching for a good cigar and libation pairing chart on the web. There are plenty of them out there.