Tobacconist University
Taste College

Taste College: The Human Senses


Traditionally speaking, there are five physiological human senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Each human sense plays a critical role in the way we experience the environment we live in, our lives, and our time. The enjoyment of luxury tobacco is an organoleptic delicacy, a sensory delight: just like the enjoyment of fine wine, great food, a beautiful view, your favorite music, or even a hot bath. The following lessons explain how we apply our senses to facilitate our enjoyment of luxury tobacco.


Some Tobacconists consider sight the "introductory sense", since it is typically the first sense we use when selecting our cigars and pipe tobaccos. Through sight we can determine the color, size, shape and exterior consistency of a cigar and its wrapper. Our vision clearly helps us assess the quality and construction of cigars and pipe tobaccos before any other human sense is employed. A true understanding of sight involves knowing its limitations as well: cigars and tobaccos can be beautiful and perfect to the eye and still be void of any other merit.

After the selection of your tobacco, the importance of sight actually increases. Seeing and monitoring the cigar, ash, or pipe is critical to maintaining the proper burn, pace, and ash-free clothing.

Ultimately, sight is useful on many levels, but perhaps the most important gift of sight is its effect on our body, mind, and soul. For reasons that date back to the dawn of man, the sight of fire and smoke have a hypnotic and soothing effect on humans. To lovers of luxury tobacco, there is nothing so relaxing as the sight of smoke wafting up into the air; as if your tension and worries are being carried away with it.

Human Senses: Sight


With regard to cigars and pipe tobaccos, what you don’t hear matters most. Aside from the sounds of good conversation, few sounds are associated with cigar and pipe smoking. Even the "sound" of freshness is silent. But there are a few distinct sounds occasionally heard from tobacco that tell us something important.

A slight rustling sound [as if fabric were rubbing together] may be heard when you squeeze a perfectly conditioned cigar. This soft sound is produced by the filler being shifted or moved. It can be heard in cigars that have been sitting and aging motionless for a long time. As long as the wrapper is not producing this sound, the cigar should be in excellent condition, and may even benefit from a slight massage to redistribute and awaken the tobacco.

A cracking or crackling sound is produced when you squeeze a cigar or pipe tobacco that is too dry. Depending on the extent of dryness, both the wrapper and filler of a cigar may make a cracking or crackling sound. Dry cigars need immediate attention and should not be smoked.

Certified R&D Tobacconists: United States

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R&D Cigar DealerR&D Cigar Dealer
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Joel Krakow, CRTUp Down Cigar
Chicago, IL - United States

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Michael Jackson, CRTOld Virginia Tobacco Co.
Woodbridge, VA - United States
(703) 492-2260

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James Herndon, CRTThe Man Cave Cigar and Tobacco Lounge
League City, TX - United States
(281) 549-6761

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