Welcome to the new way to Discover New Cigars You’ll Love! Cigar Sense Inc. is an innovative resource for cigar lovers: an advisory service offering personalized expert advice on which cigars best suit a consumer’s unique preferences. We bring together sophisticated expert systems technology and a detailed database of sensory information as well as many other cigar evaluation characteristics. The result? Cigar Sense has the ability to “learn” what organoleptic and other characteristics each consumer prefers, and then guide the consumer to cigars which best match.
It all began when I re-located to California in 2013. As a dedicated cigar passionada, I was confronted with two problems : I could not legally buy the Cuban cigars I was accustomed to smoking in Italy and instead was overwhelmed by the thousands of non-Cuban cigars available in the New World. This led to a frustrating period of months of trial-and-error searching for non-Cuban cigars I would enjoy.
Late in 2013, in the throes of this adjustment, my husband David Wells and I conceived the idea of a web site which could help people like me better understand what to expect from a new cigar. Our motto is “Discover New Cigars You’ll Love”, since that is the key value we strive to give our members.
We know many cigar lovers are quite content smoking the cigars they already know and love. But we also witness how much of our community is always seeking something new to enjoy. We hope, with our innovative resource, to help this latter group of people expand and enhance their cigar experience.
The Cigar Sense method hinges on its international panel of cigar experts, who follow a rigorous blind tasting protocol to build its database of detailed cigar related data. The panel includes experts from all over the world, trained to apply sensory analysis norms in order to eliminate their personal biases in their descriptive analyses.
Cigar Sense members begin their journey with a brief survey which establishes their priorities and preferences in choosing cigars. Then the Cigar Sense expert system offers cigar recommendations based on the user’s defined preferences. As users provide more input on specific cigars they do or do not like, the system helps refine their profile, further improving the quality of their recommendations.
Other features of the site include the user’s ability to record their own personal tasting notes on cigars they’ve smoked. This is how a user tells us if they like or dislike a cigar, and each time they do we have an opportunity for our Profile Advisor feature to suggest adjustments to their preference profile.
We’ve found many times a user believes they dislike a characteristic that is in fact present in most of the cigars they like. Profile Advisor points this out and gives the user the suggestion to adjust their stated preferences to better match the cigars they know they like. Over time, users find their profile zeroes in the exact combination of characteristics they enjoy most, and their recommendations become very reliable.
One of the most gratifying outcomes of our Beta test in the winter 2014-2015 is the number of testers who comment that they are learning much more about their own preferences. Our members not only get great cigar recommendations, but as they interact with the system, they also gain a better understanding of their preferences, and more confidence in their own skills and knowledge.
We don’t publish cigar scores to the general public. Our numeric focus is in providing the cigars % fit that is unique to each user. Users can apply their own scoring system to the cigars in their personal tasting notes.
Cigar Sense exists only to serve its members. We do not sell cigars nor advertising, and assiduously protect our members’ personal information, which we will never sell to any outside party. We’re all about helping our members maximize their enjoyment of the art of cigars. In the process, we believe we can help all segments of the industry, since happier consumers will inevitably buy more cigars. Rather than competing with retailers by selling cigars, we seek to partner with them to drive more business their way. We are also keen in giving less known brands the same chances that more known brands have to appear in our recommendations.
We’re delighted to be able to share the work we’ve done over fourteen months of intensive testing of cigars, both Cuban and extra-Cuban. We hope our members will enjoy using the service as much as we enjoy creating it!
Featured image is courtesy of Rosen Georgiev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net