Social Smoking Versus Experiencing a Cigar

06 Apr

When I first started smoking cigars 5 years ago, it was a very social experience for me. We didn’t have a humidor so we always went out to smoke. Consequently, there was a lot of conversation amongst ourselves and any friends we would run into at our chosen cigar lounge. We talked about the cigars we were smoking, but only in vague terms. A particular cigar was “really strong” or “great” or “not very enjoyable”. A cigar would have a “great draw” or would “canoe”. For a long time, as my friend Dale likes to say, I would think of cigars as “good”, “eh”, or “bad”. It was all about kicking back with a drink and friends and relaxing. The cigar was part of the social experience. There were some I really liked and others that I didn’t, but I never put too much thought into why. I would read cigar reviews online and be in awe of all the details of the flavor profile. I never picked up on any specific flavors, but that was because I never gave myself the chance.

We went to a cigar event one night where the rep handed out pieces of dark chocolate and a small sample of scotch to accompany the cigar we were sampling. Before giving out the cigar, he told us at what point to have a bite of chocolate or a sip of scotch to enhance the flavors in the cigar. While it might sound a bit extreme, by doing so he made us think about the flavors in the cigar rather than merely smoking it. I started picking up some vague flavors that night, but still nothing specific. He also taught us that retrohaling a cigar is important, in that it helps detect more flavors since the smoke touches more taste buds. It would be a few weeks before I finally learned the art of retrohaling. While some of our friends thought it was a cool party trick, I found I was picking up even more detailed flavors.

I was intrigued by my newfound knowledge and did some reading on how to really taste the flavors in a cigar. I learned that I am not a super taster, and that I need to bring in the smoke on the forefront of my tongue to taste more of a cigar. I also learned to stop and focus on the lingering flavors in my mouth to pick up the subtleties on the finish. Once I started working on these details, I learned to pair my drinks to further maximize the smoking experience whereas before I would drink whatever I was in the mood to drink. A spicy cigar would be enhanced by a Malbec, whereas a mild creamy cigar was perfect with a cup of coffee.

It has been an eye opening transition over the past year, one that I am still making, I still do smoke socially and get involved in conversation or a sports game where I don’t pay so much attention to nuances of my cigar. But there are also evenings, where I can sit and relax with a smoke and really enjoy the flavor profiles and transitions that a cigar has to offer. I thoroughly enjoy both types of experiences, each in its own way.

I started this blog to share my experiences with cigars, whether it be a general experience or a review of a particular cigar. I hope to introduce you to new cigars and perhaps even help enhance your cigar experience.


Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Cigar Tasting


3 responses to “Social Smoking Versus Experiencing a Cigar

  1. DJ

    April 18, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Keep enjoying the smokes and a nice drink, DJCigarGuy via twitter

  2. Steve Catron

    April 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Since I’m new to Cigars, your piece was very interesting! Gave me alot to think about, and some direction to go getting new Cigars!

  3. dumpinjackflash

    July 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm


    This is a great topic and a source of debate between myself and a friend who has been smoking for over 20 years. I just celebrated a year smoking and have smoked EVERYTHING from a Nub to an Upmann #2 from 1993 and everything in between. Between my passion for cigars, the generosity of other B/SOTL, OCD, 🙂 and the camaraderie, I am hooked.

    ANYWAY, I can get quite effusive when I smoke a something great and am often txting or chatting with this friend about this smoke and that smoke, etc.

    One day he sat me down and gave me the “look, how much of that cigar do you think you get smelling that Gurkhafied air at the B&M and all the other smoke, conversations, TV, and being ankle-cuffed to that damn phone?”

    He proceeded to pull out two Tat Black CGs (jar release) and we lighted them in an empty house with no TV and just sitting and talking about the cigar…..and there were long silences, just enjoying.

    No dog-rocket smoke, no buzz-killers (you know who you are), no TV, and no ventilation system pulling the smoke away from you.

    Bottom line is I got stuff off of that stick that left me speechless. Now I know what you are thinking. Of course you did, it’s a GREAT smoke, a CC-killer, it’s got age, etc. As we continue to smoke in his home or patio depending on the weather, my palate has expanded and my ability to experience and enjoy smoking has intensified. I know choose what I smoke by venue, time of day, time alloted (rushing/hot-boxing no good), people in attendance, and probably a few other things like, mood or desire.

    But is a that last Cohiba Siglo VI from 03 worth sparking on a saturday at 3:00PM? Not if you want to taste the rich cashew I could have sworn I did when I smoked one in my garage on a spring afternoon. 🙂


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