I read the Week in Smoke on Stogie Review from Brian, and his post on the AVO Syncro Ritmo made me think of a question that I cannot answer. I am hoping my fellow BOTLs can help.

As some of you may know, I am a pretty diverse smoker. I definitely have my preferences and favorites, but I enjoy quality cigars from Connecticut shade to Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro and everything in between. However, I have recently smoked three cigars that I just could not smoke. They disagreed with my palate intensely. They are excellent cigars, but there is a flavor in them I cannot smoke. The cigars were:
- AVO Syncro Nicaragua
- AVO Classic Covers #2 (which I smoked a year ago and liked)
- La Aurora Emerald Preferido

These have a commonality, in that they have Dominican filler (possibly aged?). However, I have smoked and thoroughly enjoyed many other Dominican-based cigars: Fuente Opus Xs and Añejos, La Galera Anniversary, Señiorial Maduro, AVO 2010 LE, Davidoff White Label/Millenium/Colorado Claro, Warped Don Reynaldo, and numerous others.

I have heard people describe the Davidoff funk as being a mushroom flavor, and THAT is what I feel like I get from the three cigars I could not smoke. However, I did not get that flavor in the same way from any of the other cigars I listed, including the Davidoff White Label, which I adored (but I've only smoked one). I have read that the funky mushroom flavor comes from Dominican Olor tobacco, which I believe is in the other cigars I listed above as having smoked.

I also have heard some people (and this is where I wish Charlie was still posting) say that they are turned off by Dominican tobacco because of a mineral flavor. I feel like that leaves three possibilities for me: A) I've somehow never experienced that mineral flavor, B) I have experienced it but enjoyed it and never identified it as mineral, or C) that mushroom flavor I cannot smoke is the mineral flavor people talk about.

To be clear, I am most definitely not saying that these three are "bad" cigars. They are excellent cigars with incredibly quality tobacco, but they just very obviously don't fit my palate.

So, my question is, Why?

Have any of you had this experience? Can anyone shed some light on it?

Thanks in advance!

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I haven't smoked an Olor purito, but it seems to me like the mushroom notes do come from Olor, which Davidoff uses very frequently.  Davidoff is pretty secretive about their blends, so it's also possible that it comes from one of their proprietary tobaccos, which is why it's so prevalent in their blends.

As everyone probably knows, I'm biased towards Nicaraguan tobaccos, and always have been.  As you mentioned, it wasn't until Charlie mentioned the mineral notes that I started examining why... I can't say whether it's like this for everyone, but I'll try to explain exactly what it is about Dominican tobaccos.

First, it's the 'mineral' note.  It reminds me of the smell that you get if you wash(or lick?) gravel.  Sort of a combination of metallic and chalky.  The main thing that turns me off of Dominican tobaccos(that seems to me like it's sort of unique to me), is that it weighs on my palate.  What I mean by that is that regardless of the finish or the flavors, I can still 'feel' the flavors of most Dominican tobaccos on my tongue after smoking.  It frequently gives me an unpleasant fatty feeling coating in my mouth, which I can sometimes still feel the next day.

I have to note that putting this into words makes me feel like kind of a crazy person.

I would love to get a mass spec readout for leaves grown in both countries from the same parent seed. Better yet, in each growing region from each country. I would expect to see differing levels of elements in the plants derived from the soil and water, some of which our palates/brains read as specific flavors when they are at or above certain levels. I feel like I'm crazy for wanting to be that specific...but I'm with you Sam on not knowing why I taste certain flavors from a blend but then another with similar leaf has none of it.

For example, I recently smoked the Bespoke Basilica A and the C#1. I barely tasted any mineral flavor in the A and picked it up more in the C#1. Looking at the blends, the A is comprised of a higher ratio of Dominican tobacco. So it easily could be specific growing regions or varietals, but as long as we're the tool doing the measuring your guess is as good as mine!
I think what I find frustrating is that I don't identify the mineral notes in Dominican cigars. Even your description of "metallic", or washed gravel, is so specific I just can't see how I miss it. On the other hand, at least it seems clear from your explanation that I'm not mistaking the mushroom note for the mineral note. Now that I've read your notes, I'll be on lookout for those heavy, palate sitting flavors. I think I know what you mean, and that's an apt description.

That would be amazing. I just smoked an aged Davidoff, got no "funk", and I'm SURE it had the Olor tobacco in it. I cannot figure this stuff out. I wonder if it has to do with the primings? I'm sure someone out there has concrete answers. Until then, well just continue to be the guinea pigs!

I think the mushroom and mineral notes are two different things.

I personally have experienced the mineral quality a lot in cigars that use a lot of Dominican corojo. Tripp did a pretty good job of describing the flavor. It's kind of like the after taste you would experience if you put a rock and nickel in your mouth for a minute.

I attribute the mushroom note to old tobacco and have only really experienced it in Davidoff made cigars.

If you want to go on a flavor journey here are some cigars where people have mentioned picking up a mineral quality/flavor:





That was super helpful. After checking your links I think I now understand the mineral flavor people refer to. I got in the Casa Cuba Divine Inspiration, but until now wasn't able to identify it. I liked that cigar, but that metallic flavor did stand out. Interestingly, the other time I feel like I really got that metallic flavor was from the first third of a Singularé Rose Croix, which is a Nic puro. I also really enjoyed that third because it was so different and contrasted the incredible creaminess of the next third. It sent me on a box buy, and I've been chasing that transition ever since. Of course, I haven't found it again in the Rose Croix, since it doesn't have DE tobacco. It was apparently a one-off.

The best Dominican tobaccos (which I LOVE, and I know that makes me weird) have a very musty flavor and aroma, like musty old wood, old buildings, or old books, especially when paired with a Cameroon wrapper, which many are. This may be the "funk" you refer to - very musty like an old Lutheran church basement library. I repeat, I LOVE this flavor and aroma, and it pops up, in my experience, mostly in very nicely blended Dominican smokes. Quesada 70th and Dominican Oktoberfest were full of this, as was the Fuente Eye of the Shark, and any La Aurora Preferidos. This could very well be what you're getting.

Jared, that is a great description. It immediately took me back to a Quesada España that I smoked in the last year. Musty is the perfect word to describe the flavor I cannot smoke. So, now I'm wondering if what I was describing as "mushroom" is really "musty" and --if these are different-- that would explain why I have enjoyed the Davidoffs I've smoked. They may have a mushroom flavor of some sort, but apparently I like it, but they don't have the musty flavor. So, does the musty flavor come from Dominican Olor?!
I have an Eye of the Shark somewhere, so I guess that will be an opportunity to try out the Cameroon-Dominican combo. I don't think I've had that before, even though I sort of can't believe I haven't smoked a Hemingway natural.
So much good food for thought.
Sam, thanks for the awesome post. As for myself, I too was not really into Dominican stuff but as I've learned to appreciate the flavors it makes me reach for them often.. just for the experience.. Tripp you're not the only looney bird we all are..
That's a great explanation, Matt. I'm right there with you with DR cigars as a needed and enjoyable change of pace.



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