I had a direct question for the WS critics in this thread. So that this question is seen by those critics that participate in this forum I am posting it here. As I stated in my post in the aforementioned thread, the smoking habits of critics should be known to the reader. Whether the critic smokes or not will have a direct influence on how that critic scores wine.
Original Post
It may or may not be true that "Whether the critic smokes or not will have a direct influence on how that critic scores wine." But it's irrelevant.

What matters is how consistent a critic is, and how closely your palate correlates with the critic's opinions. If you consistently like the wines the critic likes, what difference does it make whether or not the critic smokes or not?

One might wonder how drinking coffee affects a critic's palate, or chewing gum, or a regular habit of indulging in spicy food. Most likely, all the things we eat and drink shape our perceptions of flavor. It's impossible to tease out the specific impact of a single factor, whether it's an occasional cigar, a fondness for single malt Scotch or the love of a woman who uses a particular perfume.

Thomas Matthews
quote:
Originally posted by Thomas Matthews:

What matters is how consistent a critic is, and how closely your palate correlates with the critic's opinions. If you consistently like the wines the critic likes, what difference does it make whether or not the critic smokes or not?

Thomas Matthews


I think that's more than a satisfactory answer to the question. Consistency is really all that most of us can ask for, and then hope to find a critic whose palate seems to match our own. The fact that smoking or any other of a dozen or hundred factors might come into play there doesn't change the end result.

I cannot imagine a wine critic that smokes cigarettes.  I also cannot imagine a wine lover that smokes cigarettes.  They just don't go together at all.  Don't think a palate can recover from smoking Marlboro's to taste wine accurately.  I personally don't have any friends that smoke cigarettes.  

The medical evidence is pretty solid that smoking affects tasting ability.  The science on smoking and smell is more nuanced, however.  Keep in mind that most of our ability to detect nuances in flavors comes from smell, not taste.

I think a lot has to do with your "baseline" palate.  I know a couple smokers who have very good palates.  I know plenty of non smokers who have mediocre palates.

PH

Ciccio10 posted:

i smoke cigars quite often in the summer, generally milder cuban cigars, but i never smoke cigars and drink a good bottle of wine, i find the cigar taste kills the wine... usually stock to cheaper bourbon with cigars

Ditto, with the exception that I would substitute cheaper bourbon with single malt. I don't find that smoking cigars impacts the enjoyment of higher alcohol spirits as it does with wine.

After all these years Tom's answer is still on point.

I can't stand cigars or smoke of any kind, but if you can taste and you're consistent, that's what matters.

And of course, if someone chews gum, well, we have all the info we need regarding the person's general IQ and whether we would pay attention to any critical notes . . .

Perhaps some influential wine critics do smoke tobacco and don't necessarily want that fact to be widely known.  Because they have killed the majority of their taste buds and olfactory receptors, they give higher scores to over-extracted, unbalanced monster wines.  That's bad and good news for us non-smokers.  Bad, because the top winemakers are making a style of wine that I don't like, in order to get high scores from the tobacco-using wine critics.  Good, because the traditionally styled wines with good acidity and reasonable extract and without excessive alcohol, will get lower scores and thus lower prices.

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