Cigar Sense Reviews Guide


This Cigar Sense Reviews Guide is intended to explain the objectives and the taxonomy used in our cigar analyses.

Our analyses are compiled based on detailed descriptions performed by our trained cigar analysts over ~150 attributes, following sensory analysis norms. You can learn more about sensory analysis in this short podcast episode. We believe that applying sensory analysis is extremely important for the benefit of all industry actors and, above all, for consumers who seek the best sensory experience for themselves.

In fact, contrarily to subjective reviews, objective cigar reviews help consumers make educated purchases and find the cigars that best suit them. This happens because, as we focus on reproducibility, the consumer who smokes another sample of the analyzed cigar will most likely recognize many of the sensory properties that we indicate. In this other short podcast episode on sensory evaluations we expand on this topic.

The data

Cigar anagraphic data on the cigar – we aim to direct the reader to the source. This is why this part in our reviews is very synthetic. We do not tend to reproduce marketing copy. There are some great write ups made by well reputed publishers, who provide manufacturers’ press releases on the cigars as well as the best news from the industry. Our focus is on the sensory aspects of the cigars.
Polar charts: Aromas – they represent a high-level view of the aromas, and their intensity, that you might most likely encounter while smoking the cigar. Two observations:
  • The charts focus on the lit cigar aromas (not on the wrapper and foot prior to lighting the cigar, nor on the raw draw)
  • The charts represents the potential of the palette of aromas that you are likely to find in the cigar.
  • In some cases, where the cigar presents a low level of consistency in its organoleptic performance across the various samples, the palette displayed in the chart might be wide. This is why our chart does not necessarily give a glimpse to the complexity of the cigar. We therefore recommend that you look at the complexity indicator in the cigar analysis table in addition to reading the chart.

Polar charts: Tastes (and palate perceptions) – This chart combines tastes (bitter, salty, savory, sour and sweet) to the additional key palate perceptions (spicy, creamy/oily, dry/tannic) that are most frequently found in the tasting of cigars.

Nicotine Strength – we measure it based on the classic 5 levels: light, med-light, medium, med-strong and strong.
Overall Aroma Register – the predominant aroma encountered during the multiple blind taste-tests we perform
After Smoke Aroma – this is not the “finish” after a puff while your cigar is still lit, it is the aroma that persists in your nose after your cigar is out
Organoleptic Richness – it is the convergence of key attributes such as aromas, palate perceptions, complexity, evolution and nicotine strength
Complexity – it is the horizontal dimension provided by the proportion, the variety and the quality of the various components of the aromatic palette along with the taste/palate perceptions. You can read our full article on complexity.
Evolution – in theory, and in short, it is a time dimension, representing the changes of the cigar characteristics as the tasting of the cigar progresses. See also our article on the evolution of a cigar as you smoke it.
Persistence – it is the duration of the aromatic and palate sensations after the cigar has been smoked. The longer the positive sensations persist, the better the experience is.
Smoke Duration – you will see that we tend to smoke slowly when we taste-test the cigars and we encourage you to smoke slowly too. This is the only way to truly enjoy the cigar and limit health impacts.
Shape – we observe the manufacturer preferred naming convention for the shape. Our members can search the analyzed cigars based on gauge (diameter) range and length range, reflecting a classification Cigar Sense has made with the purpose of simplifying the search.
Length – it is expressed in inches
Gauge – it is the measure of the diameter of the cigar, expressed in 1/64 of an inch
Country of Origin – the country where the cigar is manufactured
Wrapper Origin – the country where the wrapper leaf has been produced
Wrapper Type – it is simply “natural” or “dark”. Dark wrappers typically relate to maduro’s or oscuro’s, but can also be dyed wrappers. In fact, there are many processes used to get to a wrapper result that is marketed as maduro/oscuro. The detailed wrapper color classifications (eg claro, colorado claro, etc) coming from our analyses are aggregated to offer this very simple selection to help our members. Our focus is on matching cigars to consumer personal preferences. We are not aiming to provide a search engine based on pure anagraphic cigar data, nor we are qualified or entitled to review/certify the manufacturers processes.
Price Range – it usually corresponds to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Value for Price – this is the average value of all the outputs from each panelist based on their prior raw, gustative, organoleptic, mechanical and conclusive considerations. Our panelists get to see the price range for the cigar they evaluate in the final page of their online analysis form, therefore their overall blind assessment is not influenced by this, nor any other information on the cigar.

We may sometimes provide some beverage pairing suggestions. Of course this doesn’t rule out other pairing possibilities, which are extremely wide in variety and based on personal taste. To learn more, we invite you to read our article on pairing cigars with beverages.

The additional analytics

We also may provide an indication about the prediction of liking of the cigar among consumers. This will show as the % of our members to whom the cigar is being recommended because it highly matches their personal preferences. The higher the % of members to whom the cigar is recommended, the better the cigar is expected to perform across our members at worldwide level (90%+ accuracy). This also serves as a prediction of the success of the cigar with a wider population of consumers. The lower the % of members, the more the cigar is a niche product and a smaller number of consumers are likely to buy it.

We don’t score cigars, we rank them based on how they fit our members’ unique personal tastes. We also support manufacturers with analytics for their strategic product planning or for their sensory marketing planning. We also help answer their “tough” questions on consumer behavior as related to their or their competitors’ products. All our data is rigorously anonymized.

Cigar Sense predicts which cigars best fit your personal taste. We are committed to preserve the highest objectivity, integrity and independence in the creation and dissemination of our analyses and industry analytics. This is why we do not sell cigars, nor cigar ads.

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