by J.S. Holland
"DaByrdman33" over at B&B Cigar Club had some interesting comments about what he calls "the Three Minute Rule", a technique he learned from Jose Blanco of La Aurora Cigars.
"Jose went on to explain that most people that experience bitterness in the majority of their cigars is because they are smoking too fast. He explained that the flavor of a cigar is not in the tobacco but in the essential oils within the tobacco. By smoking at an accelerated rate, we lose the flavors of these essential oils and thereby reduce our cigar experience to that of smoking "paper".
So what is the "3 minute" rule? Jose asked me to take a few puffs of my cigar which I had been smoking at my normal pace. He said, "Make a mental note of the flavors that you get. Then, put your cigar down for 3 minutes. Take a few more puffs after 3 minutes and note the difference." Needless to say, Jose caught me at about the 2:40 mark getting ready to take a few draws and urged me to wait the full three minutes. Well, he was right. Not only was the smoke cooler, but I did pick up some notes that were present before but were more prominent this time. While it may not be a hard and fast 3 minutes for every cigar, I can certainly see where it makes a difference."
Regular readers here will know I've always espoused what I call "cigar-tasting", done in the same laid-back small-portion gradient-scale approach one takes with wine-tasting, over traditional smoking. Nice and easy. Slowly, slowly, it's too nice a job to rush. Don't feel obligated to devour a cigar as if you're some sort of idiot pothead whose feels every molecule of smoke gone astray is wasted.
That said, I think three minutes is a rather unwieldly and arbitrary rule. And as DaByrdman33 rightfully notes, it all depends greatly on the cigar. There are certain tightly-rolled stogies that require the smoker to continually breathe through the cigar just to keep the ding-dang thang lit. And on the other hand, there are some super-Maduros that are so powerful that the three-minute rule almost comes naturally; these are treasures to be savored, not something to be simply sucked down like a Lucky Strike on your ten-minute break behind the Burger Barn.
But all of us, myself included, can always benefit from an occasional reminder like this one, to slow it down once in a while. Space it out. You're not running in a marathon. Stop and smell the roses, and stop and taste the Four Roses in between.