The Second Third…

I smoked a cigar recently that was part of a set gifted to me by a friend on my birthday. It was a sampler from a company that I was not previously aware of. As I was in Canada for the day, and one of my cigar smoking buddies threw a birthday herf and invited a bunch of our buddies over, I probably went away with 20-30 cigars… along with a couple of other interesting goodies, but none of that is as important as this five-pack sampler of cigars.

As I prepare for my course this weekend, I have been smoking more non-Cubans than I usually would, trying to expand my palate. I had already smoked one from the pack, and decided that my lunch break would be an excellent time to try number two.

While the cigar lit (and smoked) very well, I was almost immediately put off by the flavours, which were quite strong, and while not entirely unpleasant, they were not wonderful. Okay, different strokes for different folks, right? I decided to smoke it anyways… if Cigar Afficonado gave it a 91 rating, there must be something that I was not getting, and I was going to try to get it.

I don’t have to tell you that cigars change from first-third to second-third to last-third. It is usually a gradual change, but this one seemed to change from one puff to the next. The tastes mellowed (somewhat), and while I did not really love it, I did start to enjoy it more. Okay, it wasn’t so bad after all.

Now here is my question… if an average cigar (of this size) takes about an hour to smoke, that means that someone might not enjoy the first twenty minutes in order to really enjoy the next forty minutes… is that really something we do? Are we, as cigar smokers, willing to spend twenty minutes smoking a cigar that we are not enjoying so that we can enjoy the last two thirds? I normally would not… I would put the cigar out after a couple of minutes, once I realized that I was not ‘getting into’ the first third.

While I appreciate that everyone’s tastes are different, wouldn’t there be a way for cigar blenders to eliminate ‘unpleasant, unenjoyable’ flavours… or maybe even cap the cigar at the other end, so that we really enjoy the first forty minutes, and then decide if we want to throw out the rest? I know, it does not really work like that… but wouldn’t it be nice if it did?

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