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Stogie Commentary: Searching for Satisfaction

19 Jul 2007

After recently smoking a few different cigars and finding most of them to be so-so, I began to seriously wonder just what it is that makes a smoke enjoyable to me.

Henry Clay RothchildeOf course, the list of possibilities to consider is almost endless. Taste, flavor, strength, size, smoke, burn. And on and on.

I generally think of myself as leaning toward medium- to full-flavored sticks. But I also find myself frequently enjoying mild cigars. So it isn’t strength that determines my smoking pleasure. For starters, I examined a few of those I’d recently smoked.

A Punch Gran Puro Sierra (six and 1/2 inches by 48 ring gauge), for example, wasn’t bad. It produced tons of smoke, had an evolving taste, and burned just fine. My primary complaint was a bitterness throughout much of the stick.

Then there was a Henry Clay Rothchilde, a five inch by 50 ring gauge rough looking cigar with a couple of large veins. While the smoke volume wasn’t up to the Gran Puro level, it was certainly adequate. The aroma was light and the head had an almost sweetness before the light. While it was burning,I notieced tastes of nuts and leather. Overall, the Henry Clay had a harshness from beginning to end.

I wouldn’t call either of these cigars bad. But I also wouldn’t smoke them very often. Why not, compared to, say, some of my favorites such as the Excalibur, Partagas Black, Toraño 1959 Silver, or Hemingway? Those are all very different cigars. What is the common thread?

As I smoked an Excalibur maduro, I began to understand. It really came down to just one word: smoothness. When a cigar is rough or harsh, I have a hard time enjoying whatever other positive attributes it possesses.

Understanding why we like certain cigars, as well as find ourselves indifferent or negative toward others, can increase the likelihood of success in picking new sticks. I know that from now on, when I’m reading others’ reviews and impressions of cigars I haven’t tried, I’ll pay particular attention to the whether the smoker found them smooth or not.

George E

Tags: cigars

4 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Searching for Satisfaction”

  1. Patrick A Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 5:00 am #

    Very cool article, George. Discovering exactly why we like or dislike certain stogies is absolutely vital for all cigar enthusiasts.

    Personally, I derive the most pleasure from well-balanced cigars. I know it's cliché, but I want a taste that's even on the palate. For instance, if the flavor is very bitter, I want that to be complimented by a sweetness. If it's salty and dry, I'm looking for acidity.

    I'd love to hear what everyone else looks for in their cigars…

  2. Mac and Nudo Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 7:45 am #

    As silly as it sounds, I really look for well constructed cigars. I can't enjoy a stick if it doesn't have an even burn, a clear draw, and a solid ash.

  3. George E Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 11:46 am #

    Mac and Nudo – Funny you should mention that. Just a couple of hours ago, I smoked a Lot 23 maduro earlier and thought how the easy light, perfect draw and razor-sharp burn enhanced my enjoyment of the stick.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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    […] Lately, I have been taking more time lighting, working to get an even, full glow without having to puff while holding the foot above the flame. It was easy with this cigar. And as the ash grew, it showed the waving pattern of the filler leaves. Not that all that has much to do with the taste, but, as reader Mac and Nudo reminded us recently, aesthetics are important. […]