How to pick up flavors in a cigar


Many of our members ask us how they can “pick up flavors” in a cigar. Some tell us “I’m really not able to pick up those aromas in cigars. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make it”. Sometimes they have been smoking cigarettes for a long time and it’s more challenging for them.

We understand, but please, don’t give up! A lot has to do with training, but also a lot with focus and on something else that we are going to explain as we develop our discussion below.

We suggest a step-by-step approach. This is not so much based on increasing difficulty of the suggested tips. It is rather based on increasing effectiveness and accuracy in the actual identification of flavors in a cigar.

How to pick up flavors when you are alone

In this video we summarize what you can do start training alone on identifying and memorizing aromas in a cigar.

  • Smell anything you can, briefly focusing every time on what you are smelling.
  • Use portable aroma standards
  • Make associations, this is the golden rule, totally free of charge.


How to pick up flavors at tasting events

At tastings there is usually a mix of people and you need to identify the ones that can help you in your purpose. Typically most cigar lovers are very willing to share their knowledge with others, so this should not be a problem.

  • Find at least two people participating in the tasting
  • Ask ask ask
  • Question weird descriptors that come up when others “pick up” flavors in a cigar
  • It’s better to be directionally correct than precisely wrong: try to bring the conversation to the higher level of descriptors: if someone says “hazelnut” and another “walnut”, just remember “nut”

Mutual influence can be tricky, but please consider that this exercise has the sole purpose of helping you pick up flavors in a cigar. The best process to review cigars is a different type of debate. We discuss it in several podcast episodes and articles.


How to pick up flavors more accurately

You may want to add accuracy to your exercise. In fact, randomly finding people at tasting events means that most of the times you’ll find untrained people. If you really want to grow your olfactory skills, you need to have some accurate benchmarks.

This free additional tool is the Cigar Sense membership. It will not only to help you make educated purchases, but also help you identify aromas, tastes, tactile sensations and anything that, from an olfactory and gustatory perspective, you can sense when you smoke a cigar.

Why do the Cigar Sense analyses offer you a higher level of accuracy when training your olfactory and gustatory senses? They are the result of a rigorous blind tasting process. Therefore it’s extremely likely that you will find the descriptors that we indicate when you smoke another sample of the same cigar that we tested.

This video explains how you can use the Cigar Sense analyses to train to pick up flavors in a cigar.



Cigar Sense free membership
The Cigar Sense aromas wheel
A Cigar Tasting Course
The Cigar Sense aroma standards

Cigar Sense predicts which cigars best fit your personal taste. We are committed to preserve the highest objectivity, integrity and independence in the creation and dissemination of our analyses and industry analytics. This is why we do not sell cigars, nor cigar ads.

To begin receiving personalized cigar recommendations

Leave a Reply