Don The Safety Goggles, Light The Bunsen Burner – It’s Time to Experiment
There was a time when you had a cigar brand and you stuck to it.
If you were a Montecristo man, Montecristo was all you smoked.
There was a comforting rhythm to your everyday life – and your favoured cigar was another brick in the wall of your personality. A man knew where he stood when he had a favourite cigar and stuck to it.
Or did he?
While he might have got a warm and fuzzy feeling when he clipped his favourite stick, what he wouldn’t have got is a surprise, a new taste – or heavens to betsy – something he may actually prefer.
The only way to find out what’s out there is to experiment. You don’t need a tripod, a gauze, a petri dish and a pair of forceps either, despite what the headline to this blog insinuates. What you need is an open mind.
Nothing will educate your palate faster than tasting different cigars.
Not only will you quickly discover what you like, dislike, can tolerate and would cross oceans to try again – you’ll also be better informed about the myriad of tobaccos on offer across the globe.
Mexican San Andres leaf? Spicy, exotic. African Cameroon? Toothy and sweet. Filler from Jalapa – bold as brass. Cuban puro – a plunge pool of flavour. You won’t know any of this if you don’t get out there – you gotta be in it to win it.
Pick up a handful of sticks on your next visit to your cigar merchant and make sure they are from a variety of different manufacturers and countries. Sampler packs are a good way to start; if you ask your friendly neighbourhood cigar specialist at Sautter, they’d be glad to advise and put something together for you.
To help you out, the finest premium, handrolled cigars are made in countries such as Honduras, Cuba, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic. Tobaccos from these countries and their regions all have very different characteristics. Cuban cigars are always Puros – meaning they’re made from tobacco solely from Cuba itself. But in other countries, blending tobaccos from elsewhere has become an art form. It’s by no means unusual to find a cigar with four, five or more different tobaccos in it. The fun in your experimentation is in trying to pick out the flavours and characteristics of each.
And along the way, you’ll discover a leaf that really floats your boat; it might be Ecuadorian sungrown or it might be the beautiful Rosado wrappers you sometimes find on spicy versions of the Partagas Serie D No.4 but whatever it is, it’s wonderful to nail down specifics on cigars you like.
Then, next time you fancy doing a little cigar shopping, you can look out for those cigars with your new-found favourite leaf combinations. It takes a lot of the hit and miss out of trying new cigars.
You don’t have to be a mad scientist, attaching electrodes to your cigar’s nether regions, to extract the best out of it. Just be determined to sample a broad spectrum of flavours – and never be afraid to experiment.