For many cigar enthusiasts, writing cigar reviews is something of a personal hobby. Think of a journal – by making details notes about what you smoke, you’re creating a snapshot of yourself as a cigar smoker in time. Months or years from now, you can look back on the cigars you were smoking and what you wrote about them, and see how your palate has developed.
For others, writing cigar reviews is more like a public service. These cigar smokers rate and review cigars based on their passion alone, with the sole payment coming in the form of comments, likes, shares, and general credibility among the cigar community, especially within their immediate and extended social media circles.
Still others rate and review cigars for actual profit. This may be in the form of advertising revenues, a paid editorial gig, or even free samples from manufacturers, who recognize the value in soliciting the opinion of widely-read cigar reviewers.
In short, there are as many ways to review a cigar as there are reasons to write a review in the first place. Whether you choose to establish a rubric for “grading” cigars with a numerical rating, or invoke “cigarspeak” in your review, is ultimately your decision, but be aware that there are many strong opinions on both sides of the argument.
Step 1: Pick a cigar. It can be anything – an old favorite, a new release, even an un-banded cigar.
Step 2: Visually inspect the cigar, noting the color and condition of the wrapper. Are there large veins or seams in the wrapper? How well is the cap applied?
Step 3: Smell the wrapper and foot of the cigar, and make notes. This is also a good time to inspect the construction: does it have any soft spots? Does it feel heavier or lighter than you expected?
Step 4: Cut the cap and, before lighting, draw on the cigar. Note any flavors you detect.
Step 5: Light the cigar and jot down your initial impressions, including the flavors, aromas, smoke texture, amount of smoke produced, intensity of flavor, strength (nicotine), and anything else you may notice.
Step 6: Imagine the cigar cut into thirds. Write down your thoughts on each third of the cigar, including flavors, aromas, body, strength, flavor intensity, burn line, ash color and quality, and how these change while you smoke.
Step 7: After you’ve finished your cigar, it’s time to distill your notes into a written review. Some choose a linear, chronological review, while others take a different approach. Be creative or play it straight, it’s up to you!