How to quickly become an expert.
The Cigar Flavor Wheel
I appreciate knowledge. I look forward every morning to learning something new. So, when I chose to enter the world of cigar smoking a few years back, the thought of all the new things to learn excited me as much as the treat for the palate. Brand names, sizes, shapes, blends all presented a new learning opportunity.
I bought all the stuff — lighter, cutter, ashtray, and a handful of cigars picked at random from my local cigar shop. Then I started reading cigar reviews.
“Oily notes in the beginning subside in place of roasted chestnuts though the finish is a bit flinty.”
Huh? What is he saying and how did he get so smart? I’ve been around long enough to recognize connoisseurs and snobs. I have met wine connoisseurs and bourbon snobs.
“Notes of spice and coffee linger on the palate.”
Are these guys really that smart? It seemed to me that they attended the famous English Fiction Writing Class. They specialized in tobacco, while their classmates chose writing real estate ads. I could clearly detect the parallels. But oh that vocabulary.
One day while mining the WWW, I stumbled into the mother lode — the Tobacco Flavor Wheel. I hit ‘Print Screen’ and captured that treasure … something to study.
This is an ingenious collection of flavors, arranged in seven major groups, subdivided into 52 specific flavors, arranged pie-shaped into a wheel. I inspected each flavor with the question “Could my palate recognize the taste of this flavor?” Answer: very few. Maybe another experiment. I smoked a cigar with the Flavor Wheel in front of me to see if my taste buds would give me something I could match to a flavor on the wheel. Three trials, three cigars, no luck.
Despondent at the poor performance of my taste buds, I tried one last experiment. I dropped three grains of rice onto the wheel, laying flat on the table, from about two feet above. They landed at random spots around the wheel. Success.
“As it smokes, hints of bread and cinnamon build around a predominantly woody core.”
Now I am an expert; I can write a cigar review. Add one more skill to my resume.
Word Count: 366