The well-known French chef Jacques Pépin employs a saying in his teaching about food: Educate your palate and abide by it. Pépin is a longtime American public television personality and lives in the U.S., so perhaps “French” is a misleading identifier, though he was born near Lyon, France, so it’s accurate to his birth origin and training. Pépin’s saying is a foodie mantra, really, and also applies to wine and other taste-oriented enjoyments—like cigars.
In choosing cigars, the key is finding the ones you like and sticking with them—which may not be so simple in the avalanche of brands and size options available today. Still, educating your palate and abiding by it is the surest pathway to satisfaction. The selection process is individual, and should fit your personal taste. You don’t want to force it—why bother if you don’t like the taste of cigar tobacco smoke?—because the true goal here is enjoying the momentary blissful retreat of lighting up, while savoring the tobacco taste.
For the bird hunter, it’s even better if that moment includes friends, with whom you can share descriptions of your flavor preferences and talk about what you like as you smoke and enjoy the cigar—and share hunting, fine gun, and engaging dog stories.
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