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What's with the dry mouth?

When I smoke a cigar, sometimes it makes my mouth terribly dry. Why is that?
Posted: March 17, 2014

A lack of balance.

Certain tobaccos dry the mouth, such as olor, a variety of filler tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic. In a seminar one year at the Las Vegas Big Smoke, Davidoff cigarmaker Hendrik Kelner passed out cigars made entirely of olor (save for the wrapper) to show how an out-of-balance smoke tastes. "It makes your mouth dry," he said, "and God made your mouth to work wet." A cigar containing too much olor, he explained, has a drying effect on the palate.

Olor triggers the salty region of the tongue, drying the mouth, while a tobacco such as Dominican San Vicente stimulates the production of saliva. Many cigarmakers strive to create a balanced, complex cigar made with a variety of tobaccos, which stimulate different areas of the tongue.

Of course, even smoking the most balanced of blends is a thirsty business, and there's no shame in quenching that thirst, so long as you make the proper choice. We suggest you spend some time in our Drinks section, perusing the proper pairings of libation and cigar.

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Comments   7 comment(s)

one1off March 17, 2014 7:21pm ET

For those of us that do not partake in any alcoholic drink,
What other options are suggested?

Ken Mero — Carol Stream, Illinois, United States,  —  March 20, 2014 3:41pm ET

Coffee March 21, 2014 8:59am ET

I have found that tea goes well also.

Thomas Dahlgren — Johnson City, TN, U,  —  March 22, 2014 2:13pm ET

Nothing wrong with a nice glass of ice water.

I've tried just about everything, the only things that don't seem to go well are syrupy sweet drinks, and orange juice.

But hot cocoa, so long as it has a high cocoa content, works just as well as coffee.

Frank R. — Toronto, ON, CAN,  —  March 22, 2014 5:47pm ET

Funny you should mention no alcoholic drink--I smoke all cigars this way as much as possible. No drink at all helps me get the full taste spectrum of the cigar which I enjoy greatly, but that's something to work up to. I would suggest non-carbonated (flat) bottled water at room temperature. If you must use ice, make sure the ice cubes are made from the exact same type of bottled water (prepared ahead of time). Espresso based coffee drinks work well for some strong cigars--try with no sweeteners or milk products first e.g. Americano (an Espresso diluted with hot water). Plain black coffee, light or dark roast seems to appeal to me. I love a light roast which has the most caffeine and less of the 'harsh' flavor of a dark roast to interfere with my cigar. Besides, in the last third of the cigar, the strength of the cigar is the strongest and you may not want two strong tastes fighting with each other on your taste buds. Of course when you become accustomed to the cigar's particular flavor profile, you'll begin to branch out and experiment with anything from port and single malt scotch to dark (sweet) rum. March 25, 2014 4:46pm ET

Not a drinker, either... I like a good cup of coffee, cappuccino, or cocoa as well. I'll have to somewhat disagree with Thomas on the sweet drinks, though... After reading an article on non-alcoholic pairings, someone mentioned how well Dr. Pepper goes well with some smokes, and he was absolutely right. It's got a pretty complex taste of it's own and compliments a great many sticks (though not all).

Andres Eladio Sanchez Roca — San Antonio de los Altos, Edo.Miranda, Venezuela,  —  April 18, 2014 6:29pm ET

Definitivamente un buen ron diplomatico gran reserva o un un whisky escoses de malta on the rocks

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