From the soils of Nicaragua till into the hands of the aficionados, an impressive number of operations are involved in the development and sales of a cigar. Throughout those processes, constant efforts are essential to the achievement of a quality cigar.
Inaccurate drying or fermentation can permanently deteriorate perfectly grown and harvested green leaves. Imprecise rolling can forever ruin some outstanding brown leaves. Similarly, poor conservation by the merchant or by the aficionado can alter a torcido perfectly produced by the manufacture. The continuum of attentions is long; starts in the fields and ends with the aficionado. One single careless moment can shatter all the previous efforts.
Thus certain conditions must be met in order for a cigar to fulfill its difficult task of meeting the demands of the taster. Aficionados should be aware of the extraordinary complexity of the object they hold between their fingers, personified by a marriage of 5 different leaves ready to be reduced to ashes and smoke.
So how should we judge the quality of a cigar?
Objectively and subjectively.
Cigars are said to be excellent when they bear a flawless wrapper with an attractive look. Their draw and combustion are impeccable. Their aromatic complexity and sweetness flatter the most refined noses. Their taste woos demanding palates with their diversity. And these cigars become even more charming when their progression remains balanced and well-rounded all during the tasting. Tasting this kind of cigar brings an aficionado into a world of pleasure and meditation.
We also can meet cigars which at first glance and touch appear to be modest or even disappointing. But to the surprise of a curious mind this cigar can deliver very interesting surprises during the tasting. Unfortunately, the reverse may also occur. A perfect looking cigar may give promises of greatness but may only plunge the smoker into considerable disappointment after the first puffs. The frustration can be even greater if, through lack of a good draw, the aficionado decides to reject a newly lit cigar. This frustration can reach a peak when the rejected cigar is made out of good tobacco leaves.
How to select the right cigar?
How then to predict a cigar’s quality before its lighting and tasting?
How to highlight signs of improper storage?
How to prepare a cigar before lighting?
How to assess a cigar during its tasting?
And finally, how to put-out a cigar after tasting?
Being a beginner or expert, all amateur raises these issues regularly.
Besides experience and knowledge, smart use of sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste contribute to the appreciation of the integral quality of a cigar. With those sensory evaluations, physical analysis of the cigar's burning is also important.
Very innovative, this 5 senses approach is an original assessment that allows the aficionado to have a full grasp of the cigar. Although long and difficult, at first, and if it is taken seriously, this exercise will become natural and unconscious thereafter. The time of tasting a cigar will thus become an exquisite moment of intense and multifaceted pleasure.