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Cigars 102: Cigar Ratings and Reviews

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

Ever wonder what those cigar ratings mean? Or how reviews are done? Well, here is a brief look into the world of BCCR.  When it comes to Cigar ratings, none are more famous than those established by Cigar Aficionado.

This point system utilizes the 100 – point scale to determine the best, most high-quality cigar.

The ratings are collected as the following:

95-100 = Classic

90-94 = Outstanding

80-89 = Very Good to Excellent

70-79 = Average to Good

Commercial Quality; and 0-69 = Don’t bother. 

*Appearance and construction (15 points)

*Flavor (25 points)

*Smoking characteristics (25 points)

*Overall impression (35 points)

Since cigar tasting is subjective and varies from person to person, a blind panel is used to determine the rating.

They remove all bands, and all cigars come from the same box or batch. What most people don’t see is the cigars are continually being reviewed over and over again. Meaning, cigars can have several ratings throughout their lifetime. Reviews, at least without a score, are done in a slightly different manner. I look for a lot of different things, starting with the cigar’s origin, how it is constructed, the overall pre-light aroma, the oiliness, and mouthfeel. I see how the cap comes off while I cut, are there any flakes of tobacco that come out when cut,

how is the airflow, the taste of the pre-light draw. I look and watch how the wrapper tightens over the foot when toasted. Once lit, how does it feel, is the smoke thick and cool, is it full of rich flavors? I look for varying notes and changes throughout the smoke. How does it burn? Is it even? Does it get bitter? Finally, do I get lost in the cigar? Does it take my senses to places I’ve never been to?

Once I figure out all of these answers, I’ll take them and explain what I experienced. Remember that tastes are subjective, so even if you see a bad review, my suggestion is to go ahead and try it. Discover new flavors for yourself. Remember to share your knowledge and a stick with a stranger, you may make a friend.

As always, live the life of the leaf, and there’s never a bad time for a great cigar.

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