Before we get into any actual reviews I'd like to take a second to lay out our structure for cigar reviews and what we're looking for when we are reviewing/rating a cigar. We'll be borrowing the system developed by Cigar Aficionado Magazine and making a few tweaks. Most cigar smokers will be familiar with the 100 count point system that we will use to judge the cigar based on the following traits; Appearance and Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression. After assigning the cigars a score out of 100, we will also give a designation to how many we could see ourselves purchasing as a consumer. We'll assign either Pass, Try, 5 pack, Box Split, or Box Purchase. We assign these weighing how much we liked the cigar vs the price of the cigar.
The 100 point score will be us smoking the cigar and giving our opinion just on the merits of the cigar itself, not taking price into account. This system starts every cigar out at 100, and then deducts points in each category The rubric for the 100 point score is as follows;
Appearance and Construction (15 out of the possible 100)
This category is judged almost entirely before the cigar is lit. Here we are looking at how the wrapper looks and feels, in addition to if their are any discernible hard or soft spots along the length of the cigar. Points are deducted here for large veins, if the cigar feels dry, or if their is inconstancy in the feel of the the cigar.
Flavor (25 out of the possible 100)
Here we are trying to look at the flavor as objectively as possible, leaving the reviews personal preferences out of it. Points will be deducted for harsh or overly bitter flavors, or general unpleasantness.
Smoking Characteristics (25 out of the possible 100)
A perfect cigar that has been stored properly should light easily, and burn evenly. The draw should be comfortable and consistent. Points will be deducted if the cigar burns unevenly, tunnels, too quickly, if the draw is off, or if the smoke is unpleasantly hot.
Overall Impression (35 out of the possible 100)
All the categories up to here try to measure the cigar as objectively as possible. If I don't like a lot of spice, and I'm reviewing a spicy stick, points would be deducted here, not under 'Flavor'. This is where the reviewer can take his own personal preferences into account and give their opinion on the cigar.
The goal here is to give an easy to interpret rating of a cigar, and an evaluation of the price of a stick. A cigar may receive a 92 rating, but only be recommended for a 'Try' because of an inflated msrp. Check out the Stack Cigar blog soon for updates on industry news, and our cigar ratings!