Cigars 101

Is taking an occasional break from smoking cigars good for you?

I’ve discovered there are times when I just have to give my palate a break. That said, unless I’ve got a cold, the break is usually a day to two, because I really miss smoking my cigars. So, there you have it: “My name is Gary and I’m a cigar addict.”

The longest I ever intentionally went without a cigar was a few years ago when I stopped smoking cigars for an entire week prior to attending the IPCPR convention. The idea was I wanted to sample all those new cigars with a “clean” palate. What made it tougher was being surrounded by my cigar-smoking colleagues at work, but I prevailed.

Presuming that you take an occasional break from your cigars, sickness or certain conditions notwithstanding, there are several factors that may necessitate a nicotine hiatus. It could be that you’re smoking too many “cheapo” cigars. Lesser quality tobaccos tend not to taste as good due to inferior fermentation and curing. Additionally, because the cigars are cheaper, you may tend to smoke more of them, too; which leads me directly to another cause – you’re smoking too many cigars. I’ve also noticed that a lot of cigar smokers who tend to over indulge also tend to “lose their palate” or sensitivity to the nuances and/or complexities of the cigars they smoke. Of course, there are exceptions to everything.

Before preparing this article, I took a little in-house survey on palate burnout, and the first thing that came to mind for a lot of people was smoking too many full-bodied cigars. This has often been the case for me, and is one of the reasons I prefer to mix it up between mild, medium and full-bodied cigars. Mood plays a factor, too, but I’ve also found that if I buy a box of cigars and smoke through the box within a month, I get bored with them, even if they’re a regular favorite, and I may not order those cigars again for months.

There’s another phenomenon that I call “literal palate burnout.” That’s when the tip of your tongue feels irritated each time you puff. As I write this article I’m smoking an Oliva Cain Serie F 550 Habano. It’s only the second cigar I smoked today, but though I love the flavor of this cigar, my tongue is starting to wear out, and as I take the cigar out of my mouth after each puff, it feels like I’ve burned it. Maybe I should puff less often, or not keep the cigar in my mouth while I’m writing, because hitting on a cigar too often tends to make it turn bitter. Though this Cain F doesn’t taste bitter, my tongue seems to have had it. One would think I might simply put it down and let my tongue rest, but it tastes SO GOOD I can’t stop. That said, I’ve found that if I let the cigar rest a bit longer, my palate revives itself to some degree.

In closing, I’ve found that if I haven’t smoked cigars for a couple of days, they tend to taste better – especially that first one. Mmmm.

Have you had similar experiences? Am I off-base, or did I touch a nerve? I’d really like to get your take on this, so, I hope you’ll leave a comment. By the way, I wound up nubbing that Cain F 550.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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