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Flavored Cigars

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Veteran cigar smokers often belly-laugh at the thought of smoking a flavored cigar - or at best, snicker condescendingly. To some, flavored cigars are like wine coolers to a wine enthusiast. Many even look over their shoulder before taking a peek at a flavored in a cigar shop....and some will even skip this article (gasp!). But increasingly, there is a flight-to-quality even among flavored cigars. So don’t dismiss them out of hand. Believe me, I was like you just a short time ago.

I can’t tell you how many customers pick up a small flavored cigarillo, smell it, notice it’s only 50, and buy it on a whim. More often than not, they can’t even finish the damn thing, throw it away, and vow never to try another flavored cigar again. After trying many samples, I don’t blame these guys. I have noticed that most flavored cigars are extremely mild, sickeningly sweet, cloying, poorly constructed, and rarely taste like the intended flavor anyway.

Most people think of flavored cigars as small tobacco trimmings soaked in a cherry or vanilla flavored ‘brine’ and covered in a sugar soaked wrapper leaf. As disgusting as this may sound, it can be true with your lesser-known brands. However, the tides continue to change and the market for flavored cigars has been flourishing at an enormous rate over the past few years. And, with brands like CAO’s Flavours, Gurkha’s Grand Reserve, Torano’s Decadencia, Drew Estate’s ACID, and Erin Go Bragh blends, you wouldn’t expect anything less. Using new technologies within the curing process, the bar of quality has been raised to new heights. Need some examples? That’s why I’m here!

Let’s talk about the flavoring process. More specifically, the new and improved processes employed by some of your better known brands. Some, such as CAO Flavours and Gurkha Grand Reserve imbue - rather than soak or spray - aromas in the tobacco over time to impart a subtle and pleasant taste. Carlos Torano has implemented the use of so-called ‘reaction flavors’ in their flavored line. Reaction flavors are created specifically for tobacco products, causing the blend to gain flavor as the cigar burns. This is an improvement, as many flavored cigars lose their sweetness and flavor only to gain a bitter harshness towards the end. ACID cigars employ a slightly different process: an “aroma room” is lined with over 200 essential herbs, oils and botanicals to slowly infuse a unique, highly aromatic taste into the tobacco.

The well-regarded La Aurora factory produces a higher-end blend called Erin Go Bragh. Erin Go Bragh is infused with Irish Whisky. Due to its infusion process, the flavor profile is extended, so it remains more consistent throughout. Prior to these improvements, some flavored cigars were known to lose their added flavor even as they sat on the shelf waiting to be purchased.

So even if it’s not your everyday cup of tea, why not try a flavored cigar or give it another try if your first experience wasn’t great. The definition of “flavored” ain’t what it used to be. You may actually be impressed, and find a nice ‘change of pace smoke’ along the way.