Cigar Flavours: What are they and how are they created?
In this blog post, we are going to look deeply into the rich and complex world of Cigar flavours. We’re going to let you in on a few of our secrets and give you a deeper understanding of the ways in which the natural elements and processes of our Cuban cigars create their distinctive and multifaceted flavours.
Cigar lovers worldwide appreciate particular brands for the flavour they create in their cigars, with many using food/wine like vocabulary to connote which flavours are their favourites and those that are not. Many believe that within the first few draws of a cigar they are able to differentiate between their favourite brands like Cohiba and Bolivar.
Just like people enjoy talking about the different combination of flavours in a dish and the varying aromas found in different wines, most cigar smokers enjoy distinguishing the diverse flavours found within one cigar and its difference to others using very similar terms.
For instance, our Cohiba Behike 52 provides core flavours of leather, balanced by notes of caramel and honey over the course of the smoke.
As you may have noticed, leather is not within the field of food, and that is where terminology borrowed from other categories has come into play.
Here is an extensive but not all-inclusive list of other terms used by reviewers worldwide:
Citrus- used when describing a cigar which has a distinctive bite to it.
Cherry- subtle but sweet.
Cocoa- chocolatey smooth.
Coffee- strong and sweet, mostly found in the finish.
Cream- mild and milky.
Honey- often used when describing aged cigars
Mocha- found in the sweeter spots, when cigars are found to emit the combination of chocolate and coffee.
Meaty- strong and savoury.
Orange zest- similar to citrus
Vanilla- sweet and smooth, with a small element of spice.
Tea- usually found in the aged cigars.
Cumin- smoked, woody and musky.
Cinnamon- hot but sweet.
Liquorice- usually found in the final third of the cigar, this terms almost always connotes excellent taste.
Pepper- white/red and black variety used to describe different flavours.
Cedar- smoky and well rounded.
Grass- Usually used to describe a milder cigar.
Moss- similar to grass, mild in flavour but a little musty.
Oak- drier on the palate, typical of aged cigars.
Lead- metallic undertones.
Carlos Fuente Jr, world-famous cigar connoisseur, doesn’t like to use what he calls ‘elaborate food language’ and in turn uses words like:
Acidic, Balanced, Bitter, Bite, Heavy, Full-bodied, Rich, Smooth, Sour, Sweet
Obviously, just as everybody is different, and personal preferences will always be down to the individual’s palate, your cigar of choice will be down to your preferred flavours. For example, I enjoy the sweeter and earthier flavours found in the cigars because I find them to be smoother and softer on my palate, but you may enjoy the spicier kick to those found in the likes of our Bolivar Cigar.
So how are the different flavours created?
Our Cigars have a number of elements which gives them their unique flavours and tones. The tobacco blend, the age of the leaves, the rolling process and even the wrapper all help create these.
Tobacco grows in various forms and this has a huge impact on its flavour, but the flavour is affected by where its grown too. The geographical location of the tobacco field will either enhance or reduce their spiciness, sweetness and general strength.
In our cigars we use various blends of tobacco and combine them in many of our cigars. For example in our Cohiba Piramides Extra cigars we use Seco, Ligero and Medio Tiempo, which gives it its core earthier tones, softened by the sweeter tones of vanilla and flowers.
Just like an excellent wine, the aging process can too have an outstanding effect on our cigars. The general term when describing an excellently aged cigar is usually oak, which gives rise to an image of a wise old oak tree standing tall and stoutly in the middle of its forest.
All of the time and effort that would have gone into combining and aging these tobaccos would be futile, if the rolling process is not done to an equally fantastic standard. That’s why our cigars are all hand rolled to impeccable quality.
Last, but not least, the wrapper is the final touch to create the perfect finish. Loaded with our finest tobaccos, our wraps will enhance and develop their flavours.
So there you have it, now that you are more knowledgeable about what flavours can be found in our cigars and how we do it, the better their taste will be. Enjoy!