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  • Writer's pictureBen Balliro

I’ve noticed something...

Every time the IPCPR Event happens, cigar manufactures start releasing new blends of “exotic tobaccos” and “old brands brought back to the surface”. While I respect the cigar makers in their endeavor to capture the audience I find it confusing sometimes to follow which tobacco from which region and which farm from which year so forth and so on. You see where I’m going with this. Although I think it’s important to tell the consumer where the tobacco comes from, I get the impression that the more exotic the names they use, the better the tobacco must be. Some of the best cigars I’ve ever had were puros or single nation blends. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up who’s brand and which line I enjoy.

Of course I will argue the variety of premium quality cigars today far outweighs the confusion of where the tobaccos come from, but sometimes simpler is better. There is a fine line between innovation and confusion. If you watch the videos on Cigar Aficionado when one of their editors are interviewing the owners of a particular brand, whenever the questions comes up, “What is this that I’m smoking?” The reply is similar to ,”’it’s a cigar made with love and care’, ‘it’s a cigar made with rich tobaccos’...”. They don’t say, “it’s a cigar with a Semilla 702 wrapper, the binder is a Sumatra Ecuador and the filler is a complex blend of Semilla 192 Seco Yamasa, Piloto Visus, Piloto Seco Santiago Rodriguez, San Vicente Ligero Jicome, and Ometepe Visus”. That description I just gave you is from one of Davidoff’s premier cigars; the Zino Platinum Z Crown Stout.

Here’s what I recommend.

Have you and/or the shop owner pick out a few cigars with a few regions to choose from; say a Cameroon wrapper, a Dominican cigar, and a Nicaraguan cigar. Smoke one of them and make a journal entry as to what you experience. Specifically it’s strength, it’s flavors, and smoke texture. Wait 24 hours and drink water to cleanse your palette and give it time to reset. Smoke the second one and make another journal entry. Same thing, note the strength, flavor profiles, and smoke texture. Repeat this process for the third and perhaps a fourth cigar of a different region. By giving your palette time to adjust and reset you increase the chances of a more accurate representation of how each region’s tobacco leaf behaves. This in turn will help you determine what kind of cigar you like more than others as well as you give a familiarity to your taste profile. Personally I like Dominican style cigars and some Honduran smokes. It’s just what my palette is drawn to and what I like.

My point is this, simplify your smoking experience and enjoy what you like, don’t let the fancy names of farms and long words distract you from what you really enjoy. Enjoying a premium cigar doesn’t have to be confusing, instead it can be fun and otiose. Thanks for reading.

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