This is what I use to rate cigars I review. There are others out there and everyone does this a little differently. This is what works for me.
100 point scale broken down into categories for use on my blog.
100 – 97: A class of it’s own. Top of the summit.
96 – 94: Excellent cigar. I would add this to my collection of must haves.
93 – 90: Great cigar. Worthy of being in regular rotation.
89 – 85: Solid cigar. Enjoyable and I would likely try it again.
Below 85: Tough call. Cigar reviews are super subjective and very personal. I am not sure I would post a below 85 review.
So what I am looking for when I do a review with the new ratings scale?
Appearance/Construction: 20 point max. This is a 10/10 split making up the overall look, feel and construction of the cigar. Not every cigar is made to look like the most exquisite cigar ever rolled. Some are rustic and rugged and it will be scored based on what it is. Things I look for. Wrapper quality, does the artwork work with the wrapper, veins, seams, cap, soft spots, dryness, how it feels in my hand or fingers when I am smoking it.
Performance (Smoking Characteristics): 25 point max. This is a big factor for me. Draw being the biggest one. Nothing ruins a cigar experience more than having to fight a really tight draw. If the cigar burns too hot or burns only on one side, etc. A properly lit cigar should require very little maintenance in between. Smoke production is the last thing I look for. If a cigar just won’t produce for me, it’s pretty hard to experience the flavors and enjoy it.
Flavor: 25 point max. This is the most objective and personal part of cigar reviewing. What I describe in a review are things I experience. You may notice all of them, more of them, less of them or none at all. This is why you should never purchase a cigar based on a review alone. I suggest that if you are trying a stick based on a review, that you have the review in front of you when you smoke it and try to match the flavors with your experience. This gives you the best indication if your palate remotely matches that of the reviewer. It’s pretty pointless to try cigars a reviewer likes if you hate everything they think is good. Again, this is a personal opinion.
Overall Experience: 30 points. I allow 5 extra points for this because for me, this is the heart of the review. All the other parts describe the cigar but the experience is what makes or breaks it for me. I do all of my reviews the same way to stay consistent and it’s fair across the board. If I light a cigar and never have to touch it (other than smoking it), the flavors are good and keep my attention, I enjoy the experience and it deserves a higher rating. A cigar may be flavorful but has tons of performance issues and I have to fight with it, it should have points removed. This is also highly subjective but again, it’s my opinion and your’s may be totally different.
This is what I have decided to go with for now. Not to say that this doesn’t change some as I go through the process. I am open to suggestions or feedback as I am always looking for ways to improve and make this better. I appreciate your input and support.
Until next time. Long ashes and full glasses.
Appearance/Construction: 20 points Performance: 25 points Flavor: 25 points Overall Experience: 30 points
Final Rating: ____/100