Cigars and the seductive scent of death


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Cow manure, burnt hair, horse dung, must, fungus etc etc etc.

Something lots of cigar enthusiasts struggle to accept within themselves is, that often a cigar (both cold and hot) can put out, a twinned aroma (and less so taste), that which Is far more associated with things that you might find in your dust bin than in your humidor. So why does it float our boat?

When ever I hear someone put forward a flavour profile that is as follows "slight sugary donut, with caramel fudge and vanilla sunday banoffe undertones' I just think hmmm!? Maybe their palette does register this degree of Disneyland sweetness, but more likely I just think it's nonsense. I could believe it more with NC, that seems to have all sort of Willy Wonka sh*t going on. But we are all human, and one thing that has been an oddity of humans since time immemorial, is that we seem to be seduced by odours and aromas that are a mix of something sweet and something rotten.

I completely buy into this. I remember El Pres and Ken batting around a descriptor that one had called "musty fungal" and the other had translated as "rich truffle". Personally I love all gastronomic experiences that test us, whether is be pigs intestines, monk fish livers, shiso leaves, blah blah. So much occurs in our pleasure receptors that can either form pleasure or displeasure. I think the great importance is, is to register them all. You may have had a cigar that tasted like honey for 75% of you experience, and had a short interlude that was distinctly turd like, don't just gloss over it as a bad third, there is a good chance that third of 'eau de arse', was what made the cigar truly great.

Attached is a great article of why we are attracted to the sweet smell of death. Whether is be Abergris (petrified whale vomit, Musk dear gland (read testical), cat piss!!..... all are mixed into some of the most famous and sought after perfumes in the world. 

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/our-pungent-history/

 

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I've always had a chuckle when people describe leather or earth in a cigar. Me? I can't say I've ever knowingly tasted either so I can't compare them.
Anyway, very good post you've written.


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I can generally recognize "sweetness" or bitterness.  Still have not tasted "Chocolate" or "cocoa" from say a montecristo. I think i'm getting there though.  Maybe eventually.

I do notice things that are unique to brands, for example Ramon Allones which has become my favorite. There is something unique in there, I can taste it, but cannot describe it.

 

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40 minutes ago, PapaDisco said:

No matter what you're smoking, all of the scents and flavors are carried on a backbone of burning tobacco, which in its scale overwhelms everything else.  Now you could choose to focus on this massive background 'noise,' or the more entertaining endeavor is separating out all of the other flavors; many of which imitate the description without being from that element ('hints of cream' or 'milk coffee' for example).  They are just tobacco elements that tickle the same spots as the descriptor.

Something similar happens with wine.  A newbie will sniff a fine red and only sense spoiled grape juice.  The rest of us have been seduced by the alcohol and are now acclimated to that; overlooking that dominating flavor and enjoying very much the rest of the flavor palette. :cigar:  :party:

 

No, I wasn't really suggesting that the starting blocks of a palette pick up the rougher aspect of cigar flavour, then as your edges get sanded off you start to pick up more finesse. i.e hating olives when you're a kid, then liking them in adulthood.

I was saying that a blender if he or she is on the top of their game will mix a bit of dirty animal in with the floral top notes, and what you end up with, is something that seems to connect with humans on a very primative leval

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9 minutes ago, Cep said:

I can generally recognize "sweetness" or bitterness.  Still have not tasted "Chocolate" or "cocoa" from say a montecristo. I think i'm getting there though.  Maybe eventually.

I do notice things that are unique to brands, for example Ramon Allones which has become my favorite. There is something unique in there, I can taste it, but cannot describe it.

 

Yep, Chocolate was something that I'd not really experienced until the Epicure especial, and even then is was sort of mexican spiced 'dusty' savoury chocolate.  Partagas Maduro 1 is pretty stand out, for this profile. 

RA was my bogey brand for years, if you love them stack up on the Club Allones, wonderful wonderful cigar. Lots of people on here say stewed fruit is RA, I think there pretty much 100% nail on head. for me it's canned prunes, 

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Thx. Ya i just picked up my first box of the RACA recently. Also traded for a few.  I generally have not been a fan of LE however.  

I was gifted 2 RASS from 2007 and I smoked one the other day. It was truly exceptional :)

 

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"I have a palate for ****. Therefore I don't believe it when other people say they taste so and so in a cigar."

 




Have you tasted wood? Charcoal? Leather? Earth? Poop?
(Chuckling). I'm in the camp of "I can taste different things as the stick progresses but I cannot describe those flavors."

Mostly it's I like it, I REALLY like it, or I don't like it
However, I can tell the flavor shifts, just that I cannot describe the individual flavors.

I can pick out distinct flavors in good wine, cigars not so much... yet. I'm learning, tho.


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1 hour ago, Randy956 said:

Have you tasted wood? Charcoal? Leather? Earth? Poop?

Sometimes it's a matter of a flavor reminding one of something they've smelled. So perhaps you've smelled leather, and something you taste in a cigar reminds you of that. You might use leather as a descriptor for that flavor. I taste what I describe as saddle leather in a number of Bolivar cigars.

The smell of earth - any number of cigars have an earthy element for me. I've tasted what burning rubber smells like (thankfully only once). Combine that with textural elements, and we can begin to paint a bit of a broader picture.

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Have you tasted wood? Charcoal? Leather? Earth? Poop?


Given how much of our taste is sensations in our olfactory system, yes.

It's an unpleasant example, but if you've ever changed a sick baby diaper, you can say you have "tasted" poop. It's not pleasant but other dads can back me up here on what I mean.

My wife makes candles, bourbon and leather are two of the scents. You can almost taste the aroma. Tobacco is another one, it reminds me of warm pipe tobacco, and when lit I can just about taste that pipe smoke.

Taste and smell together make up what I think of as flavor and just an aroma can produce what I think of as a "taste."
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Given how much of our taste is sensations in our olfactory system, yes.

It's an unpleasant example, but if you've ever changed a sick baby diaper, you can say you have "tasted" poop. It's not pleasant but other dads can back me up here on what I mean.

My wife makes candles, bourbon and leather are two of the scents. You can almost taste the aroma. Tobacco is another one, it reminds me of warm pipe tobacco, and when lit I can just about taste that pipe smoke.

Taste and smell together make up what I think of as flavor and just an aroma can produce what I think of as a "taste."

Point taken. :)


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6 hours ago, Randy956 said:

I've always had a chuckle when people describe leather or earth in a cigar. Me? I can't say I've ever knowingly tasted either so I can't compare them.
Anyway, very good post you've written.


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Never chewed on the laces of your baseball glove?

I love the taste of leather, reminds me of summer ball!

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This cigar tonight was definitely on the animal/human side of the spectrum. This box of Non-Plus has been great, but this one.  Uhm no. If I were to assign a smell/flavor to it I would say if you gave your dog a bath in a cheap perfumed human shampoo and used your tongue to lick off the gritty mud from its fur that would about nail it.  I can assure this wasn't a pleasant thing.  I did not enjoy it.  I kept wondering where was the salty tobacco woodiness these always have in spades.

I've never tasted mud from a dog being bathed, but I suspect if this elicited a pleasant memory i.e. the smell of washing my champion hunting dog off after he won some field trial in a muddy field I could see how this cigar might taste good to me....no...no I can't...sorry...I take it back, I can't imagine this being a profile I would enjoy ever.  This picture was taken right before I chucked it.  Perfect burn, perfect ash, beautiful example, hopefully an anomaly or over-humidified by accident.  Fingers crossed.  

IMG_0357.JPG

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9 hours ago, 99call said:

Cow manure, burnt hair, horse dung, must, fungus etc etc etc.

Something lots of cigar enthusiasts struggle to accept within themselves is, that often a cigar (both cold and hot) can put out, a twinned aroma (and less so taste), that which Is far more associated with things that you might find in your dust bin than in your humidor. So why does it float our boat?

When ever I hear someone put forward a flavour profile that is as follows "slight sugary donut, with caramel fudge and vanilla sunday banoffe undertones' I just think hmmm!? Maybe their palette does register this degree of Disneyland sweetness, but more likely I just think it's nonsense. I could believe it more with NC, that seems to have all sort of Willy Wonka sh*t going on. But we are all human, and one thing that has been an oddity of humans since time immemorial, is that we seem to be seduced by odours and aromas that are a mix of something sweet and something rotten.

I completely buy into this. I remember El Pres and Ken batting around a descriptor that one had called "musty fungal" and the other had translated as "rich truffle". Personally I love all gastronomic experiences that test us, whether is be pigs intestines, monk fish livers, shiso leaves, blah blah. So much occurs in our pleasure receptors that can either form pleasure or displeasure. I think the great importance is, is to register them all. You may have had a cigar that tasted like honey for 75% of you experience, and had a short interlude that was distinctly turd like, don't just gloss over it as a bad third, there is a good chance that third of 'eau de arse', was what made the cigar truly great.

Attached is a great article of why we are attracted to the sweet smell of death. Whether is be Abergris (petrified whale vomit, Musk dear gland (read testical), cat piss!!..... all are mixed into some of the most famous and sought after perfumes in the world. 

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/our-pungent-history/

 

It's a primal thing. The hunter and gatherer in all of us.

Add fire and every box is ticked. 

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Never chewed on the laces of your baseball glove?

I love the taste of leather, reminds me of summer ball!


Yes, but I don't recall it being a particularly pleasant gastronomic experience.

I find the flavor descriptions of cigar smoke, sometimes humorous, not that I dispute what the smoker is sensing.

Woody? Perhaps wood smoke, but not the taste of raw wood I find appealing. Coffee and chocolate are a couple of distinct flavors my pallet can distinguish.

Also I'm not one who can taste those subtle flavors many of you describe in a cigar. I wish I could, however.


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1 hour ago, Randy956 said:


Yes, but I don't recall it being a particularly pleasant gastronomic experience.

I find the flavor descriptions of cigar smoke, sometimes humorous, not that I dispute what the smoker is sensing.

Woody? Perhaps wood smoke, but not the taste of raw wood I find appealing. Coffee and chocolate are a couple of distinct flavors my pallet can distinguish.

Also I'm not one who can taste those subtle flavors many of you describe in a cigar. I wish I could, however.


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My palate is binary.  Something is either Good or Bad.

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