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Tobacco Tastes

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  #1  
Old December 15th, 2009, 12:21 AM
Hajo Flettner
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Default Tobacco Tastes

Recently I came upon someone talking about AF's Soft Black here and said words to the effect that it "tastes like tobacco and that is all he needed to know about" which is a notion that needs to be addressed.

There is no tobacco taste anymore then then there is a meat, fruit, beer, wine, ice cream or candy taste. Tobacco can have a range of tastes from brutally simply and nasty (think typical cigarettes) to extremely complicated and subtle with wide range of floral, earth, spice and herbal notes. In fact tobacco often has tastes far more complicated and varied then you'll find in most food or drink because it's an agricultural product and reflects the interplay of soil, water and plant chemistry which all changes as the tobacco is cured and aged. To dismiss tobacco as something simple, harsh and loaded with nicotine is a terrible thing akin to viewing Mad Dog 20/20 as representative of wine.

We should do what we can to learn about the craft, lore and passion that creates fine tobacco and celebrate it.
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  #2  
Old December 15th, 2009, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

well stated! However, I love Mad Dgo 20/20
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  #3  
Old December 15th, 2009, 02:58 AM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

I love tobacco. It can produce flavors that will surprise a smoker. From completely natural tobacco I have experienced a wide range including brown sugar, pepper, peat, cedar, oak, earth, coffee, chocolate, molasses and countless others. One of the harder flavors to explain is that of properly fermented tobacco. It is a flavor that consists of many layers and is really something that needs to be experienced to understand.

Bad tobacco has it's own layers too. Ammonia, ash, coal and burning oil. Yum.
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  #4  
Old December 15th, 2009, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

I've seen this with some of the newer guys as well. I love tobacco, the variation and range of flavors is amazing.
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  #5  
Old December 15th, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

I think when people say that it smells like tobacco they are trying to sum up all the individual layers of the smell under one label, for the sake of typing. I think its more of a laziness thing. To really pick out all the complexities in a high quality tobacco you really need to spend a bit of time with it and really immerse yourself it the smell. Now even after I have smoked soft black several times I still smell it to see what else I can pick out.
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  #6  
Old December 15th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

Thanks to hookahman1988, I will be doing a review of AF Soft Black probably this weekend. My only fear is that I may not be able to do it justice. I'm going to do everything I can to experience the flavor of the stuff and try my best to pick up on the nuances. But being a cigarette smoker, I sometimes have difficulty picking up on such things.
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  #7  
Old December 15th, 2009, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

I think what the guy was trying to say is that it doesn't have any added flavor like other Shisha tobacco has but that it rather tastes like straight, unflavored tobacco.
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Last edited by Dunkel; December 15th, 2009 at 11:22 AM. Reason: Removing unnecessary comments
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  #8  
Old December 15th, 2009, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee View Post
Thanks to hookahman1988, I will be doing a review of AF Soft Black probably this weekend. My only fear is that I may not be able to do it justice. I'm going to do everything I can to experience the flavor of the stuff and try my best to pick up on the nuances. But being a cigarette smoker, I sometimes have difficulty picking up on such things.
I'm not a cigarette smoker and I have a difficult time picking up on flavors in an unflavored tobacco. It took me a few sessions and reading what other people described the flavor as to actually be able taste it myself.
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  #9  
Old December 15th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

Tobacco will not show the same flavors to different people. It's all based on your palate - possibly what you ate before, what you drank, what you are drinking/eating. how much you smoke, how clogged your nasal passage is....

Take, for example, Don pepin garcia cigars. These are very well regarded as the spiciest beasts you could smoke. When most people review a pepin blue, they have the earthy/extremely peppery/spicy tones. From the sticks I've had in Blue Label, they are a mild/medium smoke with slight earthiness, heavy coffee, slight cocoa, and NO spice. When I smoke a tatuaje, I get White Pepper and coffee with cream and sugar, slight spice - others say it bites like a rabid dog.

Same goes for "Pepper" and "Pepper Flavors" and "Spice" and "spice flavors".

Last edited by ZenSilk; December 15th, 2009 at 02:22 PM.
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  #10  
Old December 15th, 2009, 05:01 PM
Hajo Flettner
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

Good comments all!

OK, I think what is needed is some advice about how to get the most out of decent tobacco be it in a cigar, Western pipe, medwakh or narghile. Basically good tobacco is like a grand meal or fine wine/ale in that it requires your attention rather then just something to provide you with a pleasant distraction like say background music while you do the dishes.

Before smoking I recommend eating fruit or bread and washing it down with water or iced tea in order to cleanse the palette and counteract the CO that comes with smoke. Avoid particularly bold/spicy flavours, candies and soup prior to smoking and avoid hot beverages unless you know they will complement what ever you plan on smoking. Bold/spicy flavors and hot stuff tends to deaden your taste buds and you can't get a decent session with out them.

When you get ready to smoke spend a few minutes getting used to smells and feel of the tobacco and try to categorize it as best you can and ideally take notes. When you smoke take it slow and keep the smoke in your mouth rather then let it go down your throat since you don't have any taste buds there. Release the smoke slowly and take some time to reflect on the taste/smell/feel of the tobacco and pay attention to smoke texture and density since that has a lot to do with the sensation of smoking. When you drink stick with water or ice tea (unsweetened to avoid confusing your palette) or coffee if it complements the tobacco. Above all you must smoke without too much distraction until you are familiar enough with what you are experiencing so that you don't miss out on what the tobacco has to offer.
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  #11  
Old December 15th, 2009, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

Most importantly, do not over heat the tobacco. Let the tobacco rest between puffs. Otherwise you will make it go bitter on you and it is really hard to make it recover from that. Especially if it's lighter tobacco. Over heating can also cause you to scorch you tongue and really ruin the experience.
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  #12  
Old December 16th, 2009, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

Good point about heat management in that if you get it wrong your session will fail. Some tobaccos are more forgiving then others when comes to heat management but when it comes to moassel i've noticed that people tend to pile on the coals which produces more smoke but pretty much kills the taste. Since it takes some to get used to how to set up and use a given tobacco i'd suggest that a negative first impression is usually a result of doing something wrong.
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  #13  
Old December 16th, 2009, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hajo Flettner View Post
Good point about heat management in that if you get it wrong your session will fail. Some tobaccos are more forgiving then others when comes to heat management but when it comes to moassel i've noticed that people tend to pile on the coals which produces more smoke but pretty much kills the taste. Since it takes some to get used to how to set up and use a given tobacco i'd suggest that a negative first impression is usually a result of doing something wrong.
Completely agreed.
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  #14  
Old December 16th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Tobacco Tastes

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalutika View Post
Most importantly, do not over heat the tobacco. Let the tobacco rest between puffs. Otherwise you will make it go bitter on you and it is really hard to make it recover from that. Especially if it's lighter tobacco. Over heating can also cause you to scorch you tongue and really ruin the experience.
I have found this to be true with Desi Murli. In fact just last night I was smoking DM Lemon Lime. The coals were getting a little small and I decided to move them in closer to the center. In a matter of seconds, the smoke became very thick and very nasty. Luckily I was able to recover it for the most part simply by moving the coals back out to the edge and purging. It was really a very small movement of the coals and it had a huge impact on the tobacco.
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