The the holy grail of cigars, the holistic palate pleaser?


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So, I think we're all fairly comfortable with associating sweet and sour flavours. Salty flavours often get simply described as salt, whilst bitter flavours we can see as something we're happy to cast out of the blend, often being a failing or youthful aspect of under-fermentation.  

To me what places a cigar up into the upper echelon of 95 point plus is Umami.  Whether it's an ozone like smell of the sea in Sancho Panza,  the meatiness of Bolivar, or the mushroom, forest floor of Partagas,   it's where, in my opinion the magic happens.   

So in looking at the centres of flavour as portioned on the image, has any cigar you've had rang all four bells..... Salty, Sour, Sweet and Umami??    For my part recent Partagas Presidentes/ 2008 898/ and SDC series.  late 90's JLP Cazadores, Sancho Panza Belicosos, and Molinos. Des Dieux. Bolivar No 1, Dip 3's. 

 

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Have to agree with the recent Partagas Presidentes.  Definitely the strongest mushroomy/forest floor note I've had in a long time.  But balanced by more subtle sweet/sour/bitter with just a touch of saltiness. I also find it with older Bolivars, but I most recently had a Boli 108 that checked all the boxes, phenomenal underrated regional.

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1 minute ago, Stump89 said:

But balanced by more subtle sweet/sour/bitter with just a touch of saltiness

to me these were really heavy hitting in the Umami and sweetness.   I think (although they're really lovely),  if they had a bit more paprika twang/saltiness on the wrapper they would be perfect. 

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For me it is not only a rounded taste, which can not be divided into components. I call it "explosive taste" when every puff explodes in your mouth with a refreshing bomb no matter what taste. Conditions several:
- the taste should not have tannins;
- the taste should not cause dry mouth, on the contrary, saliva is released abundantly;
- taste should not be bitter and ammiachnomu;
- must be the feeling of the cool refreshing juicy drink of the divine nectar.
Such an effect usually occurs from the middle of the cigar, when it is well warmed up and the tobacco is impregnated with resins from Smoking the first half.
This is typical for many Limatadas, but is often found in regular series of medium-high and high fortress.
For me, the first thing I remember is Partagas P2 and Habaneros, Bolivar RC, Upmann Sir Winston and Noellas, Vegas Robaina DA.
And Vice versa for me Montecristo Aniversario 80: cigar is very good, soft taste, delicate, has a good balance and rounded taste, but for me it is not "bomb".

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1 minute ago, nKostyan said:

For me it is not only a rounded taste, which can not be divided into components. I call it "explosive taste" when every puff explodes in your mouth with a refreshing bomb no matter what taste. Conditions several:
- the taste should not have tannins;
- the taste should not cause dry mouth, on the contrary, saliva is released abundantly;
- taste should not be bitter and ammiachnomu;
- must be the feeling of the cool refreshing juicy drink of the divine nectar.
Such an effect usually occurs from the middle of the cigar, when it is well warmed up and the tobacco is impregnated with resins from Smoking the first half.
This is typical for many Limatadas, but is often found in regular series of medium-high and high fortress.
For me, the first thing I remember is Partagas P2 and Habaneros, Bolivar RC, Upmann Sir Winston and Noellas, Vegas Robaina DA.
And Vice versa for me Montecristo Aniversario 80: cigar is very good, soft taste, delicate, has a good balance and rounded taste, but for me it is not "bomb".

Hmm? your post seems to be more a comment on fermentation and when cigars reach their sweet spot,  than a comment on flavour centres on the palate, and 'Umami'

For me I would say the exact opposite about LE RE's,  to me they are often one dimensional that don't present much of a challenge.  But they do all appear to have dull sweet well fermented tobacco,  which may relate to what you were saying about "soft rounded taste"

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Hmm? your post seems to be more a comment on fermentation and when cigars reach their sweet spot,  than a comment on flavour centres on the palate, and 'Umami'

For me I would say the exact opposite about LE RE's,  to me they are often one dimensional that don't present much of a challenge.  But they do all appear to have dull sweet well fermented tobacco,  which may relate to what you were saying about "soft rounded taste"

I understand the effect of Umami as follows: it is a taste orgasm, not associated with any separate of the 4 components of taste. It is rather like the action of monosodium glutamate and tomato ketchup that makes any food to delicious.

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13 minutes ago, nKostyan said:

I understand the effect of Umami as follows: it is a taste orgasm, not associated with any separate of the 4 components of taste. It is rather like the action of monosodium glutamate and tomato ketchup that makes any food to delicious.

What you describe sounds very much like the palates reaction to salt or sour.  i.e. when your mouth floods with saliva.

Umami, (to me) is more relating to deep moreish flavours from nature, whether is be something like seaweed, miso soup, truffle, oysters, soy, game, brazil nuts, certain cheeses like Tellegio or Brie de Meaux.    Whilst some of these things maybe salty,  I think Umami centres more on depth of flavour, and flavours that have a taste of earth and sea and forest

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In looking at this image explanation, It would suggest  (to me) that MSG exagerates the flavour of Umami, but is not the actual flavour itself.   So I understand what you're saying, but to me MSG describes the action on the palate, but not the group of flavours it represents

 

umami-of-wine-japanese-palate-and-the-appreciation-of-food-and-wine-flavours-2-728.jpg

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You have listed products that are characterized by the presence of the fifth taste-umami, which is perceived by l-receptors tongue (glutamate receptors). But I do not associate the taste of the products with unami with the taste found in cigars. I think some cigars are affected by it in umami receptors. And I think these are the receptors that are activated by the action of sodium glutamate. For me, this is a refreshing spicy refreshing tingling, which I described in the previous post.

A cigar flavored with soy sauce is just a cigar flavored with soy sauce, it's not necessarily umami.

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1 minute ago, nKostyan said:

You have listed products that are characterized by the presence of the fifth taste-umami, which is perceived by l-receptors tongue (glutamate receptors). But I do not associate the taste of the products with unami with the taste found in cigars. I think some cigars are affected by it in unami receptors. And I think these are the receptors that are activated by the action of sodium glutamate. For me, this is a refreshing spicy refreshing tingling, which I described in the previous post.

I think we are agreeing in a way. I think

- you are focusing on the feeling and action of Umami

- I'm focusing on the products that represent the flavour of Umami

I think your angle on this is interesting. I have had my mouth flood with saliva when smoking a tasty cigar, and never considered this to be the action of glutamate receptors.......but maybe you are correct

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2 hours ago, 99call said:

For me I would say the exact opposite about LE RE's,  to me they are often one dimensional that don't present much of a challenge. 

Thank God someone else said it.  My experience with them has been limited for sure, but I haven't been very impressed with the LE/RE I've tried and the regular production brands have tasted far better to me across the board.  LCDHs have been hit or miss for me.  It really leaves one puzzled when they're smoking what is touted as an exceptional cigar and it falls flat on its face- you question if you're just not "getting it".  And maybe I'm not, but I've gotten over caring and just regularly enjoy standard production smokes.

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1 minute ago, MD Puffer said:

Thank God someone else said it.  My experience with them has been limited for sure, but I haven't been very impressed with the LE/RE I've tried and the regular production brands have tasted far better to me across the board.  LCDHs have been hit or miss for me.  It really leaves one puzzled when they're smoking what is touted as an exceptional cigar and it falls flat on its face- you question if you're just not "getting it".  And maybe I'm not, but I've gotten over caring and just regularly enjoy standard production smokes.

Not that I've tried any of them, but whenever you hear about successful RE LE's,  Sancho Enslavos, Conde, Bushido etc etc,   usually there is someone who's taken a risk, or gives a damn behind the scenes.    Whereas if it's some 'painting by numbers' Ramon Allones Petit Robusto, they're all either aimless, or substandard to a off the shelf RASS. 

The problem with creating something interesting, is these are the cigars that can sometimes get brutal write up's by the masses, and then the distributors are left with a container of stuff they struggle to shift. 

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2 hours ago, crking3 said:

punch punch Tubos

Yep, I find the Punch blend is the most intriguing to try and pull apart and describe, but that only because it's probably most rounded.  Theres something very soft and pleasing about the clove, sweet cream.  I find myself wondering if their cigars would be improved if they were a little saltier on the lips, or a little more twang......but I'm sure I'm wrong......if it's not broke, don't fix it. 

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3 minutes ago, Wailbait said:

Great topic.  Some of the most complex cigars I have had were the Edmundo Dantes ones.  There’s some magic in that blend where it really tells a story and goes for a ride.  

Would be interested (if you can recall) the rough brush strokes of the blend?.  Particularly if you can divide it into those different flavour centres.  No worries if not

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This is a very interesting subject indeed. In the US, the use of monosodium glutamate is generally looked down upon in the food industry, in either Haute cuisine or a basic bowl of noodles.  However, we use an assortment of salts, sweeteners, and acids to accentuate or bring balance to specific tastes and flavors.  

Ingredients with high levels of glutamate activate the umami (taste) receptors, adding depth to the flavor experience.  Makes me wonder: should I rub MSG all over my tongue 5 minutes before lighting up a stick?   

 

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32 minutes ago, 99call said:

Would be interested (if you can recall) the rough brush strokes of the blend?.  Particularly if you can divide it into those different flavour centres.  No worries if not

What has been remarkable is that while they might not have that salty/briny/iodine-y quality that some of the Sanchos have, they manage to present the citrus/tangerine complexity you get from older Cohibas next to that earthy/forest floor “umami” that is not totally common.  Obviously since you are “smoking” something, every cigar has a “bitter” component.  These Edmundo Dantes are among the most complex rides.  Wish I had more!

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1 minute ago, Chef said:

This is a very interesting subject indeed. In the US, the use of monosodium glutamate is generally looked down upon in the food industry, in either Haute cuisine or a basic bowl of noodles.  However, we use an assortment of salts, sweeteners, and acids to accentuate or bring balance to specific tastes and flavors.  

Ingredients with high levels of glutamate activate the umami (taste) receptors, adding depth to the flavor experience.  Makes me wonder: should I rub MSG all over my tongue 5 minutes before lighting up a stick?   

 

The original focus of me raising the 5 flavour centres (with a specific focus on Umami) was to investigate what 'natural' flavours of Umami can be related to cigars, and how this completes the blend.   Although it's great that it will be discussed, the focus was less of synthetic MSG,  as I agree it's not really something thats associated with the enjoyment of refined flavours..................that said ................salt and pepper ribs or freaking delicious!!.

Interestingly, Heston Blumenthal suggests Star Anise heightens the umami character of beef dishes.....and it works!

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7 minutes ago, Wailbait said:

citrus/tangerine complexity you get from older Cohibas next to that earthy/forest floor “umami” that is not totally common

Interesting.....so darker and lighter aspects all in one.  I'm intrigued. 

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10 minutes ago, 99call said:

The original focus of me raising the 5 flavour centres (with a specific focus on Umami) was to investigate what 'natural' flavours of Umami can be related to cigars, and how this completes the blend.   Although it's great that it will be discussed, the focus was less of synthetic MSG,  as I agree it's not really something thats associated with the enjoyment of refined flavours..................that said ................salt and pepper ribs or freaking delicious!!.

Interestingly, Heston Blumenthal suggests Star Anise heightens the umami character of beef dishes.....and it works!

I get it. It was jest. Poor attempt, I suppose.  

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14 minutes ago, Wailbait said:

What has been remarkable is that while they might not have that salty/briny/iodine-y quality that some of the Sanchos have, they manage to present the citrus/tangerine complexity you get from older Cohibas next to that earthy/forest floor “umami” that is not totally common.  Obviously since you are “smoking” something, every cigar has a “bitter” component.  These Edmundo Dantes are among the most complex rides.  Wish I had more!

So it seems to be more difficult to compartmentalize the umami taste with the flavors we associate it with.  The combination of citrusy and earthy flavors actually offer quite the balanced olfactory experience.  However, do most smokers pay attention, not just experience, the balance of the sour, sweet, and umami sensations on the palate?  As a constant retrohaler, I can’t say I do.  I’m often more in search of the flavor bombs. 

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5 minutes ago, Chef said:

I get it. It was jest. Poor attempt, I suppose.  

Wow dude, was in no way wanting to stop you taking it in any direction you wanted. 

I was more back referencing back to what I was saying with nKostyan.  I.e. the difference between the sensation of Umami, and the actual things that exemplify it.    

 

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4 minutes ago, Chef said:

So it seems to be more difficult to compartmentalize the umami taste with the flavors we associate it with.  The combination of citrusy and earthy flavors actually offer quite the balanced olfactory experience.  However, do most smokers pay attention, not just experience, the balance of the sour, sweet, and umami sensations on the palate?  As a constant retrohaler, I can’t say I do.  I’m often more in search of the flavor bombs. 

I'm convinced it's a bit like the production of perfume/cologne  i.e the best scents have something a little rotten in them. i.e. musk deer glands or ambergris.

To me the deep flavours of Umami, usually relate to flavours most smokers don't really want to think about, as they can often be fishy, meaty, cheesy, earthy etc etc.    It seems most have a sweet tooth, and just want chocolate and caramel in the boatload.

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