Tasting Wine and Snoring: The Non-smoking Edition
Two months into nicotine sobriety I can report that among the side effects that come with a cigarette free existence is a palate with heightened sensitivity. However, I can't say how heightened my sensitivity is to a wine's attributes and characteristics. I can only say that it is heightened.
Perhaps without a layer of smoke and tar covering the inside of my mouth I am 40% more sensitive to taste, smell and texture. Perhaps it is only 20%.
The big question, however, is this: Do I enjoy wine more than I did when I accompanied each sip with a shellacking of smoky goodness?
This is an important question to me. I do like wine. I have since I was legally too young to drink it. But the moment in time when I liked wine the most, when I enjoyed the drinking experience most, was when I was tasting things I'd never tasted before, learning the fundamentals of wine's history and its component parts and when each wine I tasted helped fill up my vessel of wine experience and knowledge that was relatively empty.
Today, much less mystery exists for me where wine is concerned. And, importantly, the degree of sensitivity that has returned since stopping smoking is not so much that the drinking experiences I've recently had have been too much more enjoyable than those that came just prior to quitting that nasty, life-sucking, habitat-glazing practice of smoking.
It seems to me that the degree of joy we take from an experience is not so much only connected to our ability to use our five senses, but rather from the actionable knowledge (of it or ourselves) that we gain from the experience. Proving once again that deflating the sensual characteristics of a 1945 Petrus by smoking cigarettes while consuming it may not lesson the real pleasure it can deliver much at all as long as the experience or knowledge connected to its consumption is primarily taken from the context in which it is consumed.
That said, for anyone wondering, since stopping for only 2 months I have indeed acquired a heightened sense of taste and smell; a greater lung capacity; an increased sense of what I'm capable of achieving and accomplishing; I've saved approximately $360; I smell better; And I'm told I don't snore quite as much.