Cuban Cigar Deal of the Week: Romeo y Julieta Petit Coronas - Just $119 for 25 cigars!

24 responses

  1. Jojo Abuan
    April 25, 2013

    Awesome post. Thanks for this. Helps me better refine my palate.

  2. Gara
    April 25, 2013

    Holy cr@p! What a great article this is. Thank you for your time involved in this. I truly love it. Really deep and specific details. Now we have a task to taste and nose things we missed before. And the graphic (chart) part is just wow. Thank you sir!

  3. William
    April 25, 2013

    What happened to MOLASSES as a flavor? Notable example: PINAR DEL RIO Small Batch Maduro. Pure MOLASSES, from start to finish, and the flavor remains very nearly unchanged. I think this flavor is sometimes called “raisins”, but “molasses” fits better. I enjoyed that PDR a lot, but the flavor profile was boring, because it never changed. I couldn’t finish it, because I was bored.

  4. jjo
    April 25, 2013

    I’m glad that you saw fit to note that some of these flavor descriptors are not necessarily ones that you have been able to pick up. I do think that “lead” should be changed to “pencil lead”, which is graphite. Who wants the actual element lead in their smoke? ;) I tend to think of the mineral flavor as more like iron or tin.

    Thanks for a great article!

  5. Bacciagalupe
    April 25, 2013

    I have always felt that what one calls lead should be referred to as graphite as well. One additional note that I come across is orange zest. Very different than citrus.

    Thank you for the great write up.

  6. Jmorena
    April 25, 2013

    I’m lost when it comes to flavor descriptions. I just know what I like when I taste it. I smoke a good amount of Cuban Cohibas and the flavor has been described as “grassy”. Good description. Ive seen a better description not on this post for Cohibas, “dried beans”. Great description of “grassiness”. Cohibas taste like the smell of a handful of dry kidney or white beans, shoved in your face. It is good!!!

  7. Buddhababy
    April 26, 2013

    Thank’s for a great article. But I feel that the habano wrapper offers a lot of coco or chocolate flavors. I agree though that this is mostly noticed at the retro hale of the cigar. Notably in Padron series and Torano’s Master Maduro lines. Same goes for raisin like flavors in the Torano’s Exodus 50 year series,Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor series as well again at the retrohale. But that’s just my two cents. Great article!

  8. Robert
    April 27, 2013

    Thanks for doing this. Just like the proverbial “tasted like smoke; I liked it” review you used above, I get bored reading reviews that just say (usually repeatedly) “wood, nuts, earth, and some coffee, with a spicy finish.” Really?!? Those flavors could pertain to nearly every cigar ever made, or the vast majority of them anyway. A good reviewer will say what proportions these flavors are in and how they developed; the kinds of wood or nut flavors they are getting; what type of earthy flavors – I’ve had cigars that tasted of dry humus like peat, and others that tasted of wet clay; what type of coffee (light, dark, espresso, mocha); and what spices they are getting from the cigar. Hopefully your list helps folks to develop this skill.

    BTW, I would add that cumin also has a musky, almost BO-like smell/taste to me. That’s one of the ways I identify it.

  9. Tee
    April 27, 2013

    Great article.
    I would add currant and plum to the list of flavors I’ve experience in more complex cigars.
    I’m interested in your opinion of “spicy.”. All too often, I am overwhelmed by a cigar that is too spicy. Some of the larger Ghurkas come to mind. Personally, I don’t care for it; reminds me of Kung Pao Chicken where all you taste is the chili..

  10. Ross
    April 27, 2013

    Great job!! I’m still new to cigars but I like to think I have an acute sense of smell and taste. I’ve noticed cigars are made up of a lot of the tastes you have so accurately described. That brings me to this question. How do they get those tastes in the cigar? Is the tobacco chemically treated to have those flavors? Or is it that the tobacco naturally has those flavors?

  11. Zen Cigar
    April 27, 2013

    Thanks for your kind words guys. I’ll be updating it with some of the suggestions and will also have somebody design a flavor wheel based on the content of this article.

    @Tee
    For a lot of people “spicy” means “peppery”, more precisely black pepper. Nicaraguan puros have a lot of it (especially in the first third). Again, it’s quite a vague term.

    @Ross
    Glad you enjoyed this post. To answer your question, for the most part, it comes naturally. Just like wine, it’s just the differences in the varietals, soil, and location. All of these things and more contribute to a premium cigars flavor.

  12. MikeMas
    April 28, 2013

    Hey, maybe you can explain one I’ve been seeing a lot recently: Buttery.
    I usually see it used in the context ‘buttery smooth’ or ‘a buttery draw’. A flavor, or simply an embellishment on smoothness of the draw?
    Thanks for the great post!

  13. William
    April 28, 2013

    I think clearly “buttery” is an expression of a feel in the mouth, rather than a flavor. I don’t recall ever seeing it used, but probably I have.

    More than anything, I think that it’s because different people, who of course bring their life experiences wherever they go, have several different ways of expressing the same flavor/sensation.

  14. Zen Cigar
    April 28, 2013

    @MikeMas
    Thanks for the question. It’s hard to try to peer into the mind of the original reviewer, but I can give you more reason on what I could consider to be a buttery draw or something being buttery smooth. I have tasted butter flavors before in some rich Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigars. But to me a buttery draw I would take as a bit of artistic flare by the writer to state that the smoke had a velvety texture in their mouth. Sometimes the smoke can feel dense to the point that it feels like you could chew on it. Other times it feels almost liquidy – and maybe this is where the comparison to butter came in. Or it simply could have meant that the draw was nice and easy. Hope this helps!

  15. Mr. Trinidad
    April 29, 2013

    I would add one more category to your wheel, probably right before “Earthy”, and that would be “Animal”. This category could be broken up to better identify a whole host of cigars classified as “dog rockets”. :)

  16. jmj_203
    May 5, 2013

    Great write-up Zen. I’m really working on getting more into describing the flavors and aromas I enjoy, instead of just knowing I like or don’t like this or that cigar. This helps a lot and is a great aid to everyone developing their palates. Mr. T, I think that would be more along the lines of “Animal Excrement” for dog rockets. I always assumed thats what people meant by dog rockets, the mine field man’s best friend leaves in your backyard.

  17. Scotty_Boy
    May 9, 2013

    Great article! I hate to admit though that I struggle to discern “flavors” in a cigar. I’ve been enjoying fine cigars for many years. It used to frustrate me that I was having a tough time finding the same “flavors” in my sticks that others/ reviewers did. I would buy cigars because they had chocolate, cedar, mocha, or some other enticing “flavor”in their profile… light em up and realize I wasn’t tasting anything even close to those “flavors”. Finally, I just gave up trying to analyze the sticks and bought those that tasted “good” to me and gave away the ones that didn’t. Ha!

  18. Scotty_Boy
    May 9, 2013

    Oh..and what’s the difference between spice n pepper. Could it be that one hits you in the back of the throat, whereas, the other nails you farther up your tongue (palate)? Leather…? Did the reviewer actually chew on a belt to figure out what leather tastes like? And eat dirt to taste the taste of Earth? I just don’t get what all the fuss is about, honestly. Color me as feeling it’s all pompous and unnecessary…sorry!

  19. William
    May 9, 2013

    Scotty-Boy: Don’t be put off by taste descriptors simply because you don’t taste them. I want to make it clear, though, that folks DO taste those flavors. It’s not just some imaginative flight of fancy.

    In recognizing these flavors, people are just trying to increase their enjoyment by exercising ALL their flavor and aroma senses – including the best one: consciousness.

    I don’t think anyone’s out to put you down for the way you enjoy cigars. You’re enjoying them, and that’s the important thing!

  20. ScottyBoy
    May 9, 2013

    @ William: I certainly enjoy my cigars… and lots of them! My point was, I feel the whole “flavor” thing is cooked up by cigar companies in an effort to make their products sound more appealing to the consumer. I don’t dispute the fact that most sticks exhibit flavor, but those flavors are purely subjective. No two palates are alike…just as no two individuals are alike. Ofit tastes good to ya..smoke it! And iI am actually intrigued by how a tobacco leaf can have different tastes/profiles. It’s why I started smoking cigars in the first place. Ha!

  21. William
    May 9, 2013

    You’ve taken a mile when an inch was offered. Are you suggesting we could eat bacon, and you’d taste bacon and I’d taste pistachio? Flavors are NOT subjective. Your tongue (and mine) has different taste sensors on different parts of the tongue. We may differ on nuances, but salty is always salty, and sweet is always sweet. They are not subjective.

    Similarly, those flavors i cigars are REAL; they’ve imparted to the curing leaf by essential oils and flavonoids, as well as esters.

    I said you are free to enjoy cigars without bothering with the nuances of flavor descriptors; I never said they didn’t exist! Because they DO.

    The cigar makers don’t make up the descriptions; cigar smokers do. It is NOT fictitious, it’s real.

  22. Bkamp
    June 18, 2013

    Please turn this into an app! I’d love to journal my smokes using this info!!

  23. Jon
    April 5, 2014

    Great Article!

    I also feel a lot of the flavor descriptions are over done, but for me a couple of things. I see creamy as more of a texture thing i.e. the smoke is smooth, has lots of volume and coats the mouth, buttery is more the flavor side. Spicy is another one I pick up and is my preferred flavor. I think of spicy as a bakers spice flavor, so cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice type thing with a hint of sweetness to it, think hot cross buns or cinnamon scrolls. Peppery on the other hand tends to be a dry type flavor and is not one I am all that partial to. Try some five spice vs ground pepper on your tongue. .
    Spicy is a flavor I get from Cubans like SLR’s, Juan Lopez and well aged Partagas and also well aged Bolivars like the Petite Corona’s. Pepper I get from a lot of NC’s like My Father and Don Pepin cigars etc.
    Cherry I do get from some Cubans like some of the R&J’s say Exhibition 3’s and especially from H Upman Royal Robusto’s. Gingerbread is another flavor I pick up from smokes like Ramon Allones SS, so a bit spicy but also bready.

    Nutty and coffee bean flavors I get from most good cigars but couldn’t be more specific.

  24. Mark schilling
    September 21, 2014

    Fantastic article. I’m just getting into cigars and this is really going to be a big help in developing my palate and discovering what types I like.

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