So now it is time to reveal the results of the Blind Reviews.  A big thanks to Jamie of Zen and the Art of the Cigar for doing this with me.  The project was a lot of fun.  Jamie and I had a great conversation this past Thursday night as we went over the cigars and talked about the results of the blind tastings.  The results were very interesting and made for some great conversation.  One thing we discovered is that even when doing blind tastings it is possible for other influences outside of just knowing what the cigar is that can bias a review.  We also learned some of the things that make blind tastings so challenging.

Let’s start with the outside influences.  I believe the fact that I have such a strong preference for Pepin made cigars and have smoked so many of them, may have had me looking for some of the things I expect for those cigars.   By the same token, Jamie explained to me that the fact he knew I was such a big fan of Pepin had him looking for the same things and influenced him on how he approached the cigars he was smoking.  Much to his surprise I didn’t include any Pepin made cigars in the samples I gave him to smoke.   But more on that soon.

Now as for the unique challenges of a blind tasting.  I think I discovered that a big part of tasting cigars is in fact knowing what to expect.  When smoking a Pepin smoke you look for the black pepper at the start and the robust earthiness at the core of a lot of his blends.  If you smoked a new cigar from him and it didn’t have those tell tale flavors you’d notice it right off and start to focus in on what it was you are tasting.  It is a different game when you have no idea what to expect, no idea what to look for.  It raises the degree of difficulty in confidently identifying what it is you are tasting.