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Commentary: Changing (Cigar) Tastes

18 Aug 2014

I was struck by my colleague’s recent review of the Paul Garmirian Reserva Exclusiva Churchill. And it wasn’t the rare five-stogies-out-of-five rating that caught me off guard.

IMG_4400Rather, it was a link he provided in his review to a Quick Smoke I had written over seven years ago. Amazingly, I actually remember smoking that Reserva Exclusiva Robusto and composing my short assessment. It was my first cigar from Paul Garmirian (PG). I purchased it from a tobacconist in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, and I smoked it while my then-girlfriend (now wife) and I were wasting time before a movie.

As I recall, the cigar was somewhat disappointing, especially considering the lofty price and my high expectations. At the time, I had a small budget for cigars, and I had been hearing good things about PG smokes, which came from a small boutique in nearby McLean, Virginia. So when I found the cigar to be less than exceptional, it was a letdown.

I’ve since grown to love almost all PG cigars, including the Reserva Exclusiva Robusto, and they’ve generally rated very highly on this site among my colleagues and me. Of the nearly 1,000 full cigar reviews we’ve published over the years, only about 40 have earned a perfect rating—and 3 of those have been of the PG variety. I lament not living near the PG shop in McLean anymore, where it’s not only possible to peruse an extensive collection of PG smokes, but you can also find PGs that have been aging for 15 years or more. These days, if I were asked to compose a short list of my favorite smokes, that list would almost certainly include a PG or two.

So it’s amazing to think a cigar I now revere like the Reserva Exclusiva Robusto was once a disappointment to me. It just goes to show how an individual’s preferences for cigars can change with time.

I’m sure you can think of examples of smokes you now like that you once didn’t, as well as cigars you used to love but no longer do. If I were to try to put a finger on how my own preferences have changed in the past seven or eight years, I’d cite the following: less interest in maduros, more emphasis on balance over strength, more importance placed on the ease of draw and smoke production, and more attention to texture.

In thinking about these changes, I can see how a younger me might not appreciate the Reserva Exclusiva Robusto. Like many PG smokes, the focus of this cigar is balance, harmony, and subtlety—desirable characteristics that can be lost on a fresh-faced cigar smoker.

I propose that, in some ways, we’re all dynamic cigar smokers with preferences that shift over time. Take note of how your preferences have changed to better understand your own cigar journey. And don’t be afraid to revisit cigars you tried years ago and didn’t care for. You may find them more desirable now.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

3 Responses to “Commentary: Changing (Cigar) Tastes”

  1. Patrick Semmens Monday, August 18, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    For what it's worth, I would basically add "what he said" to this article. In the eight years that we've had this site my tastes have changed quite a bit. What I would add is that, at least for me, my changing tastes haven't been linear but more zigzag. Maduros are a good example of this: I find that every two or three years I really get on a maduro kick for a while before it fades. I don't know why this is, but its a reminder that not only are tastes and preferences evolving, but that they are sometimes even cyclical.

  2. Rafael Torres Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    I think over time the taste preference mature and a cigar previously thought of as second-rate, may become one of the favorites. This post got me thinking about the first impression of ramon allones specially selected, when first tasted by me about 6 years ago. At that time did not make any good effect on my rating; but grew into one of my favorites now…

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  1. Commentary: Innovation Makes Cigars Unique (and Uniquely Vulnerable) | The Stogie Guys - Thursday, August 21, 2014

    […] used a recent review and an old cigar assesment to highlight how individual cigar preferences can change over time. It’s something I suspect all seasoned cigar smokers have […]