“I taste leather”, “I taste espresso”, or “it tastes floral to me.”

Explaining Cigar Tasting Notes with Science

Recently I came across a fascinating article by Franca Comparetto of cigarsense.com (which by the way is a brilliant site.)  She explains what she learned in an interesting study entitled “Di Cosa Sa un Sigaro?”

They go on to explain how when we taste a cigar, we perceive different flavours due to the presence of various volatile fatty acids, and the complexity of those fatty acids.  Using a special technology called a Gas Chromatography-olfactometry, they were able to actually measure the levels in a cigar and be able to tell you what a cigar would taste like – using SCIENCE!  Imagine!  In fact they made a chart to say which fatty acids are present in the fillers and wrappers of many popular Cuban cigars.

She goes on to explain that:

aldehydes generate an herbaceous scent. Esters, depending on their molecular weight, provide different sensations: the most volatile group can be associated with light scents of solvent or fruit, the medium weight group to exotic fruit, the heavy weight group can generate oily, rancid unpleasant odors.

Reversing this process, you can then determine what components are needed in a cigar to give you certain flavours.

Now, taking a step back, we know that a great master blender can take a smell of cigar and tell you exactly where the tobacco came from and predict the cigar tasting notes.  Do the same What part of the plant, what country, what region, what farm or even what year!  It is an absolute art and decades of experience that give them this ability.  But it’s also incredible to see such a complex scientific process weighing in with its opinion.

For more information please read Franca’s original post here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cigar-flavor-franca-comparetto

And check out their site at www.cigarsense.com – it uses science to figure out what cigars you’ll like!  Really cool.

– David