Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano
Il Sigaro della Sera
Taste is a very subjective thing, what some people love, others simply cannot stand. We’re not talking fashions or aesthetics here, but the true sense of the word – the sensory perceptions of the things we consume.
Much of the experience of taste comes from the taste-buds, found primarily on the tongue, where they form a V shape at the back, but also on the sides of the mouth, roof and palate. The nose has an important role to play in taste too. Many people believe that smell, or olfaction, is a more crucial part of tasting than even the tongue. Try tasting a strawberry while pinching your nose or sipping a wine and you’ll instantly notice the difference – it’s one of the reasons we don’t enjoy food as much when we have a cold.

Also involved in the experience are nerves that register texture, temperature and even pain. With responses from all these receptors processed together, the mind creates an impression of a substance that creates what we understand to be its taste. While under-rated as a sense when compared to sight and sound, taste has an important role to play, most likely evolving to help humans instinctively know which foods are good, or bad to eat.
Taste may be summarized as a combination of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami, but more than just registering a sensation, taste, like smell, can unlock memories and sensations from the past. Author Marcel Proust once famously wrote about the effects of biting into a sweet Madeleine biscuit and how it conjured involuntary memories of childhood far richer than ones he’d actively tried to remember.

Perhaps this is why when we sip our favorite drinks, or smoke our favorite cigars, we feel nostalgic and reflect on the past. Whatever your tastes, you can be sure of one thing, the way a quality cigar tastes will always be front of mind when it’s being created by an experienced cigar-maker.