Many cigar lovers enjoy writing their own reviews in a notebook. Some post them on their Facebook page or blog.
This brief guide to writing cigar reviews will give you some tracks to run on. In time, you’ll probably want to modify this format to fit your own developing method of cigar reviewing.
Giving Basic Cigar Information
Most top reviewers give the cigar’s specs somewhere. Online, you might see them at the beginning or in a sidebar near the top. Your overview of the stick that will be reviewed should include:
Origin: This is where the cigar was made, though some of the tobacco will likely originate elsewhere.
Cigar Size: This includes both the length and the width. The width is giving as the ring gauge measured in 64ths of an inch. In other words, a cigar with a ring gauge of 40 is 40/64 or 5/8 inches in diameter. The size is often written length x ring gauge.
Wrapper: The most common wrapper types include natural, claro, corojo, maduro and oscuro.
Binder: This is usually listed by country of origin.
Filler: Listed as country of origin, and may list regions of the country too such as Estelí or Condega.
Shape: This differs from size, though they’re similar. This is an inexact category. Two classifications are parejo and figurado. A parejo cigar is the shape of most cigars regardless of their size. The most common parejo shapes are Churchill, corona, corona gordo, Lonsdale and robusto.
The most common figurado shapes are torpedo with a pointed head, pyramid (or pyramide) with a pointed head and flared foot, belicoso which is a short pyramid, perfecto with a pointed head and slightly oval body and president which looks like a torpedo with a closed foot.
Cost: The price of the cigar allows you to evaluate whether or not the cigar was worth the money.
Write a Brief Introduction
Your intro might include general information about the cigar or how you obtained it. Include how long it has been in your humidor. This is also a good place to include what, if anything, you drank as a pairing to the cigar.
Appearance and Construction of the Cigar
Most reviewers give the stick a once-over before lighting it. This is both one of the pleasures of cigar smoking and a way to evaluate the quality of the production. Jot down notes about the appearance of the wrapper including its coloration and the amount of oil felt, wrapper texture, the firmness of the body and its consistency. Some like to describe the aroma of the unlit cigar too.
Flavor of the Cigar
A cigar’s flavor is the combination of its taste with its aroma. Describe both.
Our recent blog post The Reviewers Handy Thesaurus of Descriptive Terms gives you a long list of common terms divided into several categories. They’re words commonly used in reviews found in the leading cigar publications, words like cedar, leather, mixed spices, caramel, espresso, hay, citrus, cocoa, pepper and nuts.
Many cigars will change in flavor as you smoke them. This is especially true of longer cigars and those with larger ring gauges. Take note of any changes. Also remark on the finish or aftertaste.
Comment on whether the draw is too tight, too loose or just right. If you had to modify your cut to improve the draw, include notes on that. Remark on the quality of the burn. Did it burn evenly? Did it canoe? Did it burn fast and get hot? Did it tend to go out? These are all important because having to do maintenance on a lit cigar takes away from the pleasure of smoking it. Finally, mention the color and durability of the ash.
This is quite subjective, but it is your review. Did you enjoy the experience? Did you find the flavor mild, medium or full? Did you like the flavor? Was the strength of it mild, medium or strong? Did the nicotine overwhelm or did it simply enhance the smoking?
Rating your Cigar
Some reviewers use a five-point scale in each category and then add the totals and divide by the number of categories to reach the overall rating. Others enjoy using a more complex system based on a 100 point scale. For example, they may allot 20 points to appearance and construction, 25 points to flavor, 25 points to smoking qualities and 30 points for the overall impression it gives you.
Write a brief summary of your experience noting specific likes and dislikes, whether you’d smoke the cigar again and how you felt about its value given its price. If you paired it with a beverage, you should not whether the pairing was a good one or whether you’d choose a different beverage next time.
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