How the Cigar Sense reviews process works


If you’re a true cigar aficionado, the quest to refine your palate is never-ending. The Cigar Sense panel training is the most thorough cigar tasting education you can get in the industry to understand and further explore the sensory world of cigars.

Why join the Cigar Sense panel?

Cigar Sense is where dedication to the craft meets science. Our descriptive tests fuel a robust cigar database, providing members with the ultimate recommendation tool and giving the industry valuable insights.

Are you ready to take your cigar knowledge to the next level? Let’s explore what it takes to become a Cigar Sense panelist. The screening and selection of candidates is done through general sensory knowledge tests, and the demonstrated understanding of the Cigar Sense principles and the service we offer our members.

Cigar Sense Panel Meeting, Verbania Italy, 2023

Becoming a Cigar Sense panelist is a badge of honor, and it demands commitment. If you’re up for the challenge, here’s what to do and expect:

  1. Register and on-board as a Cigar Sense user, if you are not already. This provides an understanding of the key service we offer our members, and how our system operates from a user’s point of view.
  2. Complete A Cigar Tasting Course. This online, on-demand training provides a crucial baseline of knowledge as it is the best cigar tasting education for any consumer or professional. The course covers key information about tobacco and premium cigars, as well as the principles to evaluate cigars’ characteristics fairly through elements of psychophysiology of the senses.
  3. Tasting competencies and skills assessments
  4. Meetings, trial cigar analyses, 1:1 coaching sessions
  5. May require in presence exercises.

A path less traveled

The world of sensations is vast and varied. Every panelist brings their unique palate, yet our methodology unites us in our quest for objectivity and reliability. Through statistical tools, we turn individual perceptions into actionable insights.

Naysayers may doubt the precision of sensory analysis, citing the inherent variability of tobacco. Yet, our experience stands as a testament to the power of our method.

If you are interested in learning more about sensory analysis, you can read this article. Also, here is a number of standards that provide guidance to the application of sensory analysis.

Panel performance assessment and monitoring are important. The panel as a whole and each individual panelist can be evaluated by their reliability and ability to discriminate among cigars and sensations.


The panelists’ perspective

Some of our assessors shared their thoughts on what it means to be a panelist at Cigar Sense. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Zsolt A.

“When I first met Cigar Sense, I immediately felt that I wanted to be a part of this team. Cigar Sense does excellent and exceptional work, and most importantly they are independent from anyone. Only here a cigar lover can get a truly objective evaluation of a cigar. I managed to meet many exceptional people and in addition, with expert advice, I am constantly improving my perceptions during cigar tastings. I am very proud to be part of the Cigar Sense tasting panel and the journey continues 🙂 ”

Roberto F.

“Having joined the Cigar Sense panel years ago, I’m still enthusiastic about being a part of it. This enthusiasm stems not only from the strong rapport I’ve discovered among its members and the pleasure of meeting people who share the desire to explore, learn, and even challenge their own preconceptions, but also because it aligns with my approach to cigar analysis. It embodies the idea of gathering measurable and as objective as possible data, free from attempts to compile “rankings” and personal interpretations, which are often more captivating but less beneficial for the smokers seeking information.”

Gavin L.

“I’m very privileged to be a part of the Cigar Sense panel. I have very little visibility, or influence in the cigar world, and I consider myself simply a passionate aficionado, and that’s it. The first thing that struck me, and differed from my initial preconceptions, was the rigorous scientific method employed. There was much to learn about sensory analysis and perception, and avoiding our own inherent biases. Where it also differs from conventional panels, is the training of tasters and alignment of their individual palates (termed: collimation), to provide consistent, statistically-sound analyses of cigars, that can then be used in the bespoke recommendation engine.

Refreshing also, was the lack of a 100-point scale or similar scoring method. While these scores may provide a quick reference, or attract much publicity, when you actually delve into it, they are a far-too-trivial summation of a cigar, leaving out a potentially vast array of aroma and sensation information. I, for one, firmly believe that Cigar Sense adds far more value to a cigar recommendation than any of the magazines or online critics. It’s like your best friend, with the same palate as you, is sat next to you advising you on what to choose next. Long may it continue!”

Davide V.

“I joined the Cigar Sense panel about a year ago, and this opportunity has genuinely excited me, greatly enriching my experiences within my passion for and understanding of cigars. Not only as a panelist, but also as a consumer, I believe it’s important to keep the inevitable influence of marketing and its related biases in check. In fact, Cigar Sense has led me to demystify any cigar. This experience also aids me in gaining a deeper, more focused perspective on my own preferences. The ongoing monitoring and support provided to the panel are powerful allies in cultivating a proper awareness of certain natural biases in perceiving the sensory characteristics of cigars.”

A unique journey

Becoming a part of this elite panel is a voyage of discovery and rigor. Our selection process is meticulous, designed to assemble a cohort of the most passionate and performing tasters.

Imagine getting not only the best cigar tasting education, but mastering the art of sensory perception, all while being supported by a community of like-minded tasters and the chance to earn shares of Cigar Sense stock as remuneration for your efforts.

If this sounds appealing to you, start today by:

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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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