How to Understand & Identify the Different Tastes You Find in Cigar Flavor Profiles – & WIN Some SWAG Here!

You read a few different cigar reviews of the same stick and get three very different descriptions of that cigar. Or, maybe, just maybe you see similar descriptions about them. Hmmm. But you know what? There’s a reason for that.

You see, there really are only a handful of “basic” flavors in the profile of a cigar. The basic flavors are regular and dark chocolate, wood or cedar, nuts, coffee or coffee beans, earth, black pepper, citrus, leather, and even herbal notes. Now many of you can pick these up when smoking and that’s a good thing. And remember, these are flavors that remind you of a taste or smell (leather is a good example of that).

But then there are those of you who are more experienced smokers who can identify deeper notes such as dark fruit like plums and berries, cinnamon, anise or black licorice, floral, tea, honey, meatiness, brown sugar, caramel, raisin, and a host of other detailed flavors. Now if you can’t happen pick up these more advanced tastes, DO NOT worry about it for even one second. If you can just get the basic flavors I first mentioned, that is absolutely fine. But I think the longer you smoke, and if you smoke a number of different cigars, you will expand your palate.

But then there are the smokers who say they don’t get anything other than the taste of tobacco. And to that I say, if you are enjoying it, then there really is no problem here. But I might suggest reading up on it or take a tasting class to learn about the different notes. Master blender, Jose Blanco does a wonderful class on this and if he’s ever in your area, it is a must.

But the one thing you just have to remember is that tasting cigar profiles is an incredibly subjective thing. You might love only mild Connecticut, he might like medium bodied, and I might like darker full-bodied beauties. Heck, the guy over there might eat ligero for breakfast. The point is that our palates are very different. So, I think that if you’re reading reviews, you have to know and understand the subjective nature that is involved.

Ever read the top Cigar magazine’s reviews? They talk about orange zest, smoked rib roast, balsa wood, saffron, nougat, lemongrass, and a host of other flavors they picked up from the local smorgasbord that I frankly never taste in a smoke. Then there are the web reviewers who baffle the masses by getting 10 to 15 different flavors in one hand rolled stick, including certain brands of ketchup, potato chips and peanut butter, braised and curried meats and other flavors in a profile that I personally think is absolute bull, all done in the name of shock value.

So, let’s get back to the main overall point of the article that cigar reviews are subjective. And I personally feel that giving number scores or stars is meaningless because it’s just what one guy thinks. The best way to find out about a cigar is to read several reviews about it from different people and see what is similar and what’s not. And if you find a reviewer who likes your favorite type of smokes, that’s all the better.

And… while smoking that cigar for yourself is the best thing of all, note that time of day and what you ate or drank has an affect on what you are tasting as well. So, sometimes I’ll actually smoke the same cigar twice within a couple of days. Yeah, Damn.

So, again, if you want to expand your palate, smoke different cigars with different strengths and start to notice what flavors and smells in your taste buds that you pick up. By doing this you’ll also begin to understand what complexity is and how a nice cigar changes in flavor and strength as it goes along. But no matter what, just enjoy this wonderful hobby for the escape filled pleasure that it is.

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Ed Doherty
Ed Doherty
4 months ago

Enjoyed your article. It’s easy to get caught up in all the conversations and reviews. I know what I like, could I describe all the flavors in my cigar, probably not but I know what I like and I enjoy sitting back and smoking my cigar. I try different cigars but find myself always craving my go to brand. I try to keep it simple and enjoy

Tommy Zman
4 months ago
Reply to  Ed Doherty

I couldn’t agree more Ed. Keeping it simple is the way to go

J.B. @Zigarrenkonig
J.B. @Zigarrenkonig
3 months ago

Tommy, so glad to find you here. Being a independent cigar rep in Pa/Nj, I would love to meet up one day and talk shop over a cigar or two. I’m based in Bucks County.

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