Whisky tasting is fraught with an overblown dictionary of explanatory words. Oloroso, burnt toast, linen, pouring honey, parmaviolets, you name it and someone has probably used it to describe whisky. While this often makes whisky reviews seem ridiculous, anyone who has been to a tasting, informal or formal, will recognize that this is exactly how flavours come to mind. Take a sip of a whisky, and your first thought will be “this reminds me of grandma’s Christmas pudding.” So when Whisky Magazine came out with their whisky tasting wheel a while back, I found it interested to see the list of tastes and smells they thought you could get from a whisky. In fact, I now find it quite useful to keep the whisky tasting wheel handy when I do reviews, as a) I want to minimize the number of nonstandard and hence confusing terms, and b) It is often fun to see which “tastes” you are able to get from a given dram.
Why then is cigar reviewing so different? The vocabulary is considerably smaller, and usually includes such standard words as toffee, peppery, spicy, straw, barn yard, chocolate, and coffee. And so I was pleasantly surprised when I came across Shortcut Cigar’s cigar tasting wheel. Perhaps borrowing strength from much of the wine and whisky world, this wheel contains a great list of potential flavours to be found in a cigar. I highly recommend taking a look at it next time you smoke a cigar, and see if any of the flavours listed come out in your cigar. While some will say that cigars taste like burning tobacco and burning tobacco only, I’ll let you be the judge.