the best cigar knowledge

Elevate your cigar experience with this essential guide, perfect for both the curious newcomer and the experienced enthusiast! It is especially dedicated to those wishing to select and enjoy their next cigar independently, prioritizing personal preference over others’ suggestions.

What is a premium cigar?

A premium cigar is more than just a product. It’s a symbol of craftsmanship, tradition, as well as of economic contribution and of a gourmet experience.

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A brief History of Tobacco

Tobacco has played a significant role in various cultures for thousands of years, intertwining with the traditions, art, and history of societies worldwide. We are going to review the historical timeline, cultural significance, and scientific understanding of tobacco from its origins to its global spread and recognition.

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A brief History of Cigars

From its colonial origins in Spain to the legendary reign of Cuba, the cigar has woven a centuries-long tale of craftsmanship and connoisseurship. Discover the landmark moments that shaped the history of cigars.

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How to choose your cigars

This guide on how to choose cigars is for those people – beginners or experienced enthusiasts – who wish to select their next cigar independently, prioritizing personal preference over others’ suggestions.

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On cigar tasting

Everybody has the best taste in the world but only you can fully understand your own taste. If you do, or allow an expert to help you, you will enjoy all the cigars you’ll buy. Because when you’ll start to gain awareness of what you like and do not like, you’ll be able to ask for the best cigars for you. First, in order to be understood by others, there is a taxonomy that we highly encourage you to start using. Being able to be understood by experts is very important. Else, you may end up describing a cigar through the popular term “body“, has at least 8 different meanings.  There are also a lot of myths and legends in the cigar world. If you’d like to debunk more, here are some other generic cigar myths.

Cigar Tasting, beyond the casual, social experience

 

A few initial exercises

There is no need to study the human anatomy. However, our olfactory and gustatory senses are extremely important to enjoy cigars. The recognition of tastes and tactile perceptions is rather easy (here is also an easy exercise you can do), but aromas are much more complex to identify. You can do different things to help you in that:

The knowledge of the tasting itself

Before you even light your loved cigar, it’s good to enjoy a prelude. The raw tasting is a great practice to open the tasting. However, it does not necessarily give us a reliable prediction of the actual aromas we will encounter after we light our Caribbean (flue-cured tobacco) cigar. Some considerations on the observations of a cigar when it’s lit extend to the mechanics. Many people learn a lot about the cigar construction, this is an area that most manufacturers like to focus on when they educate consumers. It can be important, but let’s not fall into myths and traps. In fact, today most producers have excellent quality assurance and control processes, therefore we can expect that almost every cigar draws correctly and looks beautiful.

The nicotine strength is important and its performance adds to quality and balance. A cigar complexity is another interesting topic, just as the evolution of a cigar as it is smoked is.

But do not forget to enjoy them

Connoisseurs like to age cigars or, as they say in French, les laisser vieillir. They also like to experiment different pairings. Here are a few ideas: champagne and sake.
But if you like to be off the beaten track, you could experience music (Strauss or Chopin), perfumes (and here is how to create your own pairings with perfumes) or balsamic vinegar.

There is a professional role in the industry, called cigar sommelier, who takes pairings to the next level. We recorded an audio seminar which is a master class with strategies and tips on gourmet pairings (paid Members).

It’s all about the experience, but also about the culture

Experience and culture determine our taste, but also the way we go about our loved hobby. Many aficionados love the networking and the friendship that cigars inspire. Some want to undertake a true career and apply a commonly adopted language. Among them there are very experienced cigar lovers, like the Habanos world challenge champions, or the Hombres Habanos. You can meet them at certain events, or read about them in certain books. One of the books that offer a good analysis of the social and cultural aspects of the cigar is this one.

Consumers get smarter, unfortunately regulators do not follow that trend. This is why it is very important to fight for our rights to enjoy our cigars and understand what’s behind the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness (for people’s health) of today’s anti-tobacco measures applied to premium cigars. You can listen to educative audio seminars on this and many other topics here (paid Members).

And when giving cigars to our loved friends, best is to put them (and not us) into the main scene of the gift.

Challenge your new cigar knowledge

Quiz No. 1
Quiz No. 2
Quiz No. 3
Quiz No. 4 – The Senses
Quiz No. 5 – The “Raw” Cigar
Quiz No. 6 – Myths, Biases, …?
Are you a discerning cigar consumer?

Dedicated to cigar reviewers, but not only

Paying attention to our biases is extremely important, especially if we want to share what we think of a cigar with a larger group of people. In fact, whoever reviews cigars has responsibilities towards the rest of the community. Many people read and listen for entertainment. However, this does not exonerate us to respect the persons who are supposed to buy that cigar and, hopefully, find the same sensory characteristics that are evoked in the reviews.

We owe respect to the cigar consumer, even if it’s not consumers who pay our bills. Well, in the case of Cigar Sense, they are, although we also serve retailers and manufacturers/distributors. In short, independence and objectivity are possible, even when working with cigar companies. If professionalism in cigar testing is important, there is a path that we at Cigar Sense wish many other reviewers would follow, so the industry could embrace consumer needs on more fair and solid grounds. Objectivity is the keyword, we explain this in a podcast episode, as well as in audio seminars: sensory science offers many benefits to the cigar industry and, very important, to cigar consumers as well.

Consumers are very exposed to the new cigars hype, especially when it’s top cigars time. We are excluded from consensus lists because of our principles. Our top cigars lists, in fact, are totally different from those of sponsored media: they reflect what consumers like.

Resources for further cigar knowledge

Cigar Sense Podcast
Cigar Sense Parlor
Cigar Lover’s Virtual Seminars (paid Members)

Looking for practical tips such as cutting and lighting your cigar? Here is a rather complete article. If you are looking for basic knowledge or other topics we haven’t covered yet, let us know. You can also check the Cigar Journal knowledge page.


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. This is why we do not sell cigars, nor cigar ads.

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