I began smoking cigars about 10 years ago. It started as something I would do twice a year, a way to connect with my father. It progressed to once a month, and now I smoke about once a week. Since this activity was based on my relationship to my father, the cigars were incidental to the process. Slowly, I began to appreciate the quality of the cigars that we smoked without ever knowing or paying attention to brand or cost. It was a wonderful introduction to some spectacular cigars. I started paying attention to brands and noting my favorites. This resulted in my taking pictures of cigars and the creation of this blog.
Personal preference is everything when it comes to cigars; I prefer a spicy, full flavored cigar. Regardless of personal preference, quality of construction and consistency are aspects that can be agreed on by all. However, it seems that cigars within a brand and sometimes within a box can vary greatly. Moreover, flavors can vary as a cigar is smoked. This causes a bit of a problem when rating them. So how does one rate cigars?
The best cigar I ever had was a Cohiba Siglo VI which came out of a box bought at the duty free shop in the Paris airport. Other cigars in that same box were only half as good, but to this day the Siglo VI is my favorite. The best, most consistent, cigar I have had is the Davidoff Millennium Blend (Robusto or Pyramides). Between the two brands there is a world of difference, and they rate highly for different reasons. But they illustrate the need to rate cigars on different criteria, and they illustrate why it is not as simple as assigning a rating number when discussing characteristics.
I am a car guy, so the easiest way for me to describe this is using the simile of car manufacturers. To me Cohibas are like Ferraris: rare, highly desirable, but mercurial. Whereas Davidoff is like a Porsche: high performance, but not as rare, yet extremely reliable. Both are expensive and good in their own way, representing the best of what they have to offer. To say a Davidoff is as good as a Cohiba is not a fair comparison in the same way it isn’t fair to say that Porsche is as good as a Ferrari. However most would agree that a Ferrari is desirable and that a Porsche represents what we hope the Ferrari would deliver in reliability. Using this same line of reasoning, you may expect that a Cohiba will be my benchmark for flavor and Davidoff will be my benchmark for consistency.
I am not qualified to rate cigars like those who do it for a living. These are my impressions relative to the limited experience I have with cigar smoking. If your tastes fall along the same lines as mine, you may find this blog useful.
Most people do not know all the car brands. To say La Gloria Cubana is like an Hispano-Suiza is esoteric (and perhaps inaccurate). So much to my chagrin, I have been forced to adopt a point system. General impression of flavor and quality is based on smoke rings: one smoke ring being poor quality and five smoke rings being the best quality. Consistency of the brand is noted where depth of experience allows. In choosing a five point system, I hope to force myself to comment on the qualitative experience.