Cigar 101 – Palate Cleansing

I often get asked how do you smoke cigar every day and maintain a flavor perception? I have been smoking cigars for 36 years and I learned some time back that is all about palate cleansing. I don’t mean teeth brushing but that doesn’t hurt and not mouth wash either as that may well make your cigars taste like mint all the time. We are talking about proper palate cleansing techniques.

First, why do you clean the palate? When you eat, drink, or smoke, the taste buds get coated with those flavors that float around your mouth. Once the palate is coated it can mask and impact the true flavor of other foods, beverages, and tobacco. Taste buds are sensors just like our eyes and ears. If you wear glasses and they are dirty you don’t see very well, the same is true for your taste buds. If you eat sushi you know that you should eat a piece of the ginger provided before you eat a different fish so that you experience the full flavor of that variety. This is why we don’t generally review cigars while pairing with a beverage, unless we want to convey that specific taste sensation.

The interesting fact about our taste buds is that they only sense 5 flavors; sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and savory. The last is sometimes known as unami, which is a Japanese word that translates to “pleasant savory taste”.  Another fact is taste buds are not only on the tongue, they are also located on the soft palate, upper esophagus, and epiglottis. So let that smoke fill the palate and fire up all those taste sensors.

If you want to cleanse your palate you should understand that flavor in food comes from fat and fat has a way of coating the palate. So just like cleaning up the grease after working on your car, you need a solvent but of course you are not going to drink or gargle with turpentine. Instead there are some excellent natural solvents to cleanse that coated palate. Here are some suggestions that work for me and other cigar smoking friends and provide a pleasurable smoking experience after.


Sorbet

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Especially the lemon kind – lemon is a natural solvent and does an excellent job. I also put a few squirts of lemon juice in a bottle of water to do the job.


 Pineapple

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This may sound strange but this fruit is an amazing cleanser but you have to chew the correct part of the pineapple. Chew the under ripe slice, the white part not the yellow, it is acidic and dry and this scours away the coatings.


Hydrogen Peroxide

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This is one of my most favorite, I learned this from a fellow cigar smoker who puffs away on 5 -6 cigars a day and he rinses his mouth out with a 50-50 mixture of peroxide and water 3 times a day. It also helps to whiten your teeth.


Dark Chocolate

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Yep, all you chocolate lovers, the magic of dark chocolate never ceases to amaze me. It should be at least 70 – 80 percent chocolate and not the sweet milk chocolate. It leaves the palate fresh and does not linger.


Ginger

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The Japanese know their food and they know that fish has a delicate flavor and to fully appreciate the different servings during a meal you need to cleanse those taste buds to get the full flavor between the different varieties.


Lime

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Just like lemon this fruit is another great acidic that works great at cleansing. I actually like to eat the lime peel itself. It can be quite bitter but with a few drinks of water after your palate will be quite refreshed.


Water

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A most abundant resource. If you are stuck without any of the above, water works too. Drink a bottle between cigars. I like to add some squirts of lemon or lime juice in my bottles of water,it makes it taste good and adds additional cleansing capability.


So there you go, don’t be a dirty smoker, cleanse between cigars and you will enjoy them even more, not to mention your significant other will enjoy those smooches after. If you have other methods feel free to comment and let fellow readers know.

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