Cigar Questions Answered: How to Taste a Cigar

A man tasting a cohiba cigar

While sometimes a cigar is just a thing that you smoke, on other occasions, when you have a little more time to relax and properly enjoy the experience, it can be a chance to explore the flavours of each stogie and enhance your palate. Some cigars flavours are bold and instantly identifiable, whereas others may be filled with subtle hints of something not familiar, that you may well miss if your attention is otherwise occupied. While it can take years to fully develop the skills required to discern one flavour from the next, this guide may get you on the way to experiencing more from your cigars.

Taste It Before You Light

Holding the cigar in your mouth before you light it up can be a great indicator of the type of smoke you’re about to enjoy. If there is a sweet or bitter flavour present in your cigar, then this suggests it will be a good smoke, whereas if there is a hint of acidity, then it could mean the tobacco used in the cigar is of poorer quality than it could be.

Smoke Slowly

This is the golden rule for all areas of cigar smoking. However, it can be particularly important if you are looking to expand your flavour experiences. Leave time between each draw, letting the smoke linger in your mouth a little longer than you usually would. Doing this makes the aftertaste more prominent, allowing you more of a chance to explore the flavours in full. Slowing down the smoking process also ensures that the cigar does not overheat, which may cause the tobacco to taste burnt.


Although you may think that flavour is all in the taste, but we actually have more flavour detectors in our nose than we do on our tongues. Some cigar smokers choose to ‘retro-hale’ to gain the full flavour experience, exhaling some smoke through the nose. To do this, after taking a puff, release around three-quarters of the smoke out of your mouth, before pushing the remaining smoke back with your tongue whilst you exhale through your nose.

Protect Your Palate

You will never achieve the full flavour of your cigar if your palate has been contaminated by the foods you’ve been eating all day. Read our guide on how to cleanse your palate for some top tips in this area. If you are looking to determine the different flavour profiles present in your cigar then only drink water alongside it if you need a sip of something, as other drinks will bring in a whole new bunch of tastes to the mix. Also, if you are planning on smoking multiple cigars, always go with the mildest one first, as the flavours and aromas of stronger cigars tend to linger for longer, making it difficult for you to detect the more subtle notes in a milder cigar.

What are your top tips for enjoying all of the flavours your cigar has to offer? Let us know on social media! If you’re looking for a top quality cigar to start your flavour exploration journey, like Cohiba cigars, be sure to check out the range available at Havana House!

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