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 Cigars 101 : How Are Cigars Rated?

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Often times we see certain cigars grow enormously in popularity based on high ratings given from Cigar Aficionado, Cigar Insider, and other notable sources. It tends to make any cigar more attractive when you see that nice 90 rating next to its name, but what exactly is taken into consideration when doling out those ratings? We decided it was time to shed some light on this particular topic.

Though several companies and organizations rate cigars, we are going to focus on the Cigar Aficionado cigar rating system.

They take 100-Point Rating System separated into four components:

1. Appearance and construction (15 Points)
Exploring “Appearance and construction” they take a hard look at the specifics of a well constructed cigar. Is it well made? Is the quality of the tobacco good? Is it assembled properly? Is it filled properly? Does it feel “mushy” or is it “solid”?

2. Flavor (25 Points)
What is the flavor like? Is it strong? Mild? Does it tasted like something out of this world or just an average smoke? Questions like these tend to be asked and reported on for the 25 points.

3. Smoking characteristics (25 Points)
Does this cigar light like a flame thrower? Or do you need a third lung to keep it lit? How does it compare to other cigars in its ‘class’?

4. Overall experience (35 Points)
This is typically the most subjective part of the rating. This basically means “how do you feel overall about the cigar” which has tons of personal feel associated with such a loaded question. If you tend to like strong cigars, and this cigar though well made with high quality tobacco might be a more smooth taste rather than a strong one. You’ll naturally rate it lower, whereas your friend who enjoys smoother cigars would be more impressed with this type of cigar.

The end result is however that you have to enjoy a cigar yourself. Taking experts opinions on a cigar is similar to reading a critics review on a movie and making that the sole reason you like or dislike a movie tossing your own opinion aside. There have been plenty of movies that got poor reviews from the critics but did fantastic at the box office.

So take a rating as a personal opinion from an expert, but at the same time remember that you are really your own expert and no one can really form an opinion about a cigar other than yourself. If everyone loved exactly the same thing there would not be so many flavors of ice cream, or in this case cigars!