Valerie Bradshaw is a super credentialed wine, spirits and cigars assessor. She is also a member of the Cigar Sense expert panel. During the Cigar Sense Parlor meeting of 14 August 2020, we talked about:
- the sommelier educational path and what you can learn in a wine educational program
- the tools Valerie uses to keep the nose trained and develop the olfactory vocabulary
- a key difference between tasting wine vs. cigars
- the effects of malolactic fermentation when it comes to choosing wines to pair with cigars
- why we should not confuse the crispness of white wines done in stainless with acidity. Why acidity is important in wines and how you measure it
- the best vintage for port
- Scotch whisky and the corn sweetness
- cigar sommelier education
Podcast episode 30, “Wine and spirits styles, their sensory characteristics”
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References discussed during the Parlor meeting:
A few questions to Valerie Bradshaw
What triggered your passion for scents?
My love of scents started when I was 8 years old. I’d received a small doll, called Kiddle Kologne. Her name was Violet & she smelled of violet. I loved that doll and she was the catalyst for continued development of my love & fascination of scent going on for 5 decades.
When did you start smoking?
I started smoking when I was 15. My 1st small cigar was a Colts – rum tipped – when I was 16 … and I’ve been smoking ever since. Premium cigars became a regular part of my life in the mid-90’s when I visited a cigar lounge in Mesa (Arizona, USA) and was treated so well by the owner & the other people in the lounge that I knew I wanted it to be part of my life. But then the next step was finding the style of cigar that opened up the next door. It came when I was with Scandinavian Tobacco Group and I tasted the CAO MX2 … and that was that. I wanted to learn everything I could about every cigar on the planet.
Valerie Bradshaw is a visionary Cigar executive with 4 decades of business experience including Scandinavian Tobacco Group, Daniel Marshall Cigars & Humidors and Smooth Draws Cigar Radio.
Val has a long history with mainstream media – Television, Radio & Newspaper – and was added to the Smooth Draws Show team in July of 2015. By producing the Smooth Draws weekly #CigarHerf on Twitter, she & the hosts – Gary Laden & Nic Syris, reached thousands of enthusiasts with Cigar education, Cigar celebrities & smokin’ Cigar Lifestyle imagery until the end of its run in 2018.
Val has also hosted sensory appreciation workshops for Daniel Marshall Cigars & Humidors in Las Vegas & New Orleans, as well as in her home city of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Val’s primary motivation in the Cigar world is sensory perception – identifying the aromas & flavors that make up part of the appeal of Cigars to the smoker.
She is a member of Society of Sensory Professionals, a professional organization dedicated to the advancement of sensory science. It was during the 2016 conference of that organization that Val identified as a “Super-Taster” and it is an area of interest that has generated a great deal of discussion & curiosity.
In addition to WSET L3 Wine & Spirits Professional accreditation, Val has received certificates from olfactory programs, including those held by the respected Alexandre Schmitt, which are devoted to olfactory education.
As a result, she is a leader in communicating the aromatic universe with objective vocabulary & descriptors.
There is a strong relationship between cigars and wine & whisky appreciation.
Val graduated WSET Advanced Certificate with Merit in Wines & Spirits and is a member of the Society of Wine Educators, the Guild of Sommeliers and the Wine Scholar Guild.
She has traveled extensively throughout France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Madeira & North America attending various wine, whisky & cigars events including IPCPR & Big Smoke Vegas.
Val is a proud Cigar Rights of America Life-Time Member, Ambassador & Advocate.
Visit her website, valbradshaw.com
You can also watch a recent interview by Cigar Prop.