Cleansing the palate before smoking a cigar

This post was inspired by my good friend, Bill W., during a cigar store event at which we got to talking about cleansing the palate either before or between cigars.

Actually, it's a subject I've never really given much thought to, but according to Bill, many cigar smokers use Coke or water, while his trusty palate cleanser is a glass of Bitter Lemon.

Based on the tangy sorbet that's often served between courses at formal dinners and fine restaurants, it seems to make sense. This concept is also related to one of my favorite drinks with a cigar: tonic water with a splash of Rose's Lime Juice. I like drinking it when sampling a new cigar because I believe it helps cleanse the palate between puffs. The only detriment to tonic & lime juice is that it's also a bit sweet, which may affect the flavors of the cigar. For the most accurate cigar sampling, purified water is probably the best way to go.

It's been said that what you ate prior to smoking a cigar can affect the way the flavors lay on the palate. IOW, the same cigar can taste entirely different every time you smoke it, depending on what you had to eat beforehand. This raises the issue of whether or not you should cleanse your palate before lighting-up your cigar. I can't see how it could hurt, but I'd be willing to bet my humidor that most cigar smokers don't.

One thing I would definitely avoid is brushing your teeth, mouthwash, or mints before lighting up. Those things always leave a lingering aftertaste on the palate, and we all know how crappy fruit juice tastes after you brush your teeth. The more I think about it, the more the Bitter Lemon seens to make sense. I'm going to pick up a bottle next time I'm at the market, and I'll report back.

So, to cleanse or not to cleanse? That is the question. If you do, let me know by leaving a comment. Conversely, if you don't, let me know why, too.

~ Gary Korb


Anonymous said…
Cleansing your palate before smoking is important to me. I prefer an espresso before lighting a cigar. Black coffee also works in a pinch.

Orlando FL
Peter Besler said…
As a palate cleanser, try lime flavor Perrier. Cool but not with ice. Ice numbs the tastebuds.

Peter Besler
Toronto Canada
I can advise against drinking absinthe imediately before smoking a cigar.
Bug Mike said…
Due to health reasons I don't drink alcohol at all. This has led me to diluted lemonade. Full strength was way to sweet but a one to one ratio of water to lemonade on ice works very well for me. It seems to clean the palate pretty good.
Anonymous said…
I sometimes follow Peter Falk's advice and have a piece of chocolate before lighting up.
Rob said…
Maybe you could come up with a cleaning agent before you smoke! This would be wide open on what the cigar minions would pay for! I can see the logo now! ( Want to have the full taste effect of that great over-priced cigar you buy? Try Captain Moron's palette cleaning agent! 8oz bottle $14.95)
It could even sell for more if you go on about the secret ingredients that's in the Snake Oil) i mean palette cleanser Remember this is my idea Famous i get halves!

Jeez! Why get so technical with a good cigar. Its all about the money for the business owners and which band i have on my cigar at the men's cave LOL! Bet Joline the wife likes the money that cost!

Anyway peace everyone and just smoke and be happy and quit getting so paranoid about every detail of the experience!

Captain Rob's all natural herbal palette cleanser! Money partner needed! Contact me if interested!


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