We all do it. When buying cigars, we leaf through the catalog or dissect the website looking for a deal. Open emails that scream about savings of 50, 60, 70% or more on great cigars, then pore over the coupons to find out which deal saves the most cash while bringing home the most cigars. Inside all of us is a hardcore cigar value hunter – which, I assume, is why you’re here as well. But even the most budget-conscious among us is willing to drop a little extra coin now and again for a “good” cigar. But are we really just burning up money that could be better – or more smartly – spent?
In a word, “yes.” Continue reading
Where would we be without cigar reviews? We all look for inside information on cigars that have either just come out or that we intend to smoke in the near future. They sway us to try new stogies and steer clear of others (for good reason usually). Following up our post where we gave props to some of our favorite cigar blogs, I wrote this post to highlight some of my favorite cigar reviews of 2013 for your enjoyment, based on the cigars that I have personally tried and thought were home runs. I picked these terrific posts out as they feature both cigars that I truly enjoy as well as excellent insight on said cigars. The past year has been chock full of new cigars, but these 10 I thought were certainly worth sharing. Enough explanation, now, in no particular order are my picks for the top 10 cigar reviews of 2013! Continue reading
Twenty fourteen. We’re barely a month in, and for some reason I can hardly remember a thing that happened during the entire previous year; probably due to a few sharp blows to the head received as an impressionable youth. All I can recall are Rob Ford, government shutdown and Sharknadoes. Three good reasons to turn it all off and clear the mind with a good cigar. Continue reading
Tonight, after dinner, I enjoyed the Famous 70th anniversary Private Selection Rocky Patel cigar. I am a big fan of Rocky Patel and frequently enjoy the Vintage 1992. I was excited to try this particular smoke because it is a new one to me. I went through the rating’s categories to give a final rating for this stick. Here is how I rated the cigar.
Before I lit the cigar I examined the look and feel of it. It was generally smooth with tiny veins from the wrapper. There was not any bumps or lumps, and did not have big chunk veins which most likely means it was rolled with a top quality leaf. The manufacturer probably took the time to remove the big veins from the leaf. The stick was kept in my humidor that had a humidity reading of 69% and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The stick was spongy feeling and not at all hard.
After examining the cigar, I then cut and lit it. I used a guillotine cigar cutter to make a straight cut. It was very easy to cut. When I was lighting the stick, I used a butane torch lighter. I do admit that I coughed a few time while lighting it because the first few puffs were a bit strong. Most cigars seem strong at first when they are being lit. I did not assume the rest of the smoke would be as strong after it was initially lit.
I could tell the burn of the cigar was going to be good because it was easy to light. Indeed, I was right. The burn of this stick was very even and consistent. The draw was not tight at all. The ash stuck together which also backed up the evidence of a good burn.
The flavor of this cigar was strong. It was a stronger than what I usually smoke, but well nonetheless. The flavor of it lingered on the tip of my tongue and stayed on my lips. It was mildly spicy too. There were hints of leather and oak in the flavor. The aroma was pleasant and not overbearing. The character of the cigar changed as I smoked it. It was more robust in the beginning and became smoother later on. I also did not notice the taste of tar buildup as I got further down the stick.
I should also mention that I smoked this in the evening after I had eaten dinner. This could have affected how I rated the flavor and aroma of this one. I was drinking water and did not pair it with scotch, brandy, or wine. A lot of smokers pair their cigars with a good scotch.
I would give this cigar a final rating of 88 out of 100. It was an above average cigar that I thoroughly enjoyed.
There is more to a cigar than just smoking it. The making of the cigar itself is an art form in its own right. Smoking a cigar involves all of your senses, and most important including taste. All cigars have their individual tastes, smells, and textures. There are some that you will hate, others that you can tolerate, and some that will become your favorite. You can tell which ones you like by rating them. Rating a cigar lets you explore the many aspects of it such as taste, burn, tobacco, and other things. You should rate everyone you smoke because even the same type of cigar can taste different because external factors can affect how you feel about it. Here is how you rate cigars.
There are different factors you should record when smoking a particular stick. The taste can depend on external factors such as what you are drinking, what you are eating, or the last time you had something to eat. There are certain types of alcohols that accompany them. It is not unusual for cigar shops or lounges to have alcohol and cigar tastings together.
After you have recorded anything you are eating or drinking at the time, you can move on to the next step of rating a stick. It is important to look at the cigar and examine the leaf and wrapping. How does it look to you? Are there any tears in the wrapper? Is the color light or dark? Does the stick appear to be smooth, have ridges, or veins from the leaf? Keep note of the appearance of the cigar.
After you look at the cigar, take time to smell it. The scent of the cigar will often hint at the flavor it has. Some sticks may be too potent or stout for you. Smoking them and enjoying a certain type is such a personal preference. Usually you will be able to tell if it is going to be spicy, bitter, or bland.
After examining the cigar you are going to rate, now the best part comes in and you smoke it. Smoking cigars will affirm what you have examined or smelled about them. There are certain things that you can record about smoking the stick to help you rate it. What is the burn like? The cigar should stay lit easily and have a good draw. The burn of the stick should also be consistent. When you are smoking pay attention to the burn, draw, smoke, ash, and flavor. Does the smoke sting your mouth or is it smooth? Can you ash the cigar easily and does it stick together when doing so?
Rating a cigar can be based on a scale you make or on a 100 point scale. If you are rating on a point scale, give each category a 1-10 rating and then add up the points. Maybe you like to rate them on a more flexible scale of your own. Smoking them is a personal enjoyment, and so should rating them.