A New Look At Our Cigar Reviews

| By David Savona , Marvin R. Shanken | From Joe Manganiello, March/April 2018
A New Look At Our Cigar Reviews
Photo/David Yellen

We’ve rated cigars for more than 25 years, and those reviews have looked virtually the same for that entire time. Not any more.

We are proud to present our new and improved tasting section. We’ve added a strength field to our tastings, so now every cigar rating not only indicates dimensions, price, blend, country of origin and score, but also the power of its body. There are five categories of strength: mild, mild to medium, medium, medium to full and full bodied. 

We made the change to provide ratings that go beyond the score. If you smoke only easygoing cigars, an 89-point, mild cigar is probably a better fit for you than a peppery, full-bodied smoke that scores 94 points.

In addition to that change, we’ve replaced our magazine’s tasting index with a more richly detailed cigar Buying Guide. There you’ll find the top-scoring cigars of the issue—regardless of country of origin—plus standout cigars grouped by power, as well as a list of the issue’s best buys. We don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to find a great buy in the cigar world, and if there’s one thing our taste tests have proven over the years it is that spending more on a cigar doesn’t guarantee you a better product. We want you to find the best cigars—and you’ll see that the best cigars aren’t always the most expensive cigars. 

We’re sure you’ll find this Buying Guide a handy source of information on your next shopping trip. 

Our Connoisseur’s Corner page, where we rate well-aged, collectible cigars, has a new look as well. 

Yes, we’ve made some changes, but we haven’t changed our method of reviewing cigars. Our tasting coordinator shops at retail to buy the cigars we rate. (Yes, it’s expensive, but it guarantees that the cigars we rate are like the cigars you buy, not cherry-picked submissions.) He then gives them a code and replaces any brand labels with generic, numbered bands. The two of us and the rest of our tasting panel smoke the cigars blind, which means we don’t know the brand name, price, country of origin or any other detail about the cigar.

That’s the only way to legitimately rate a cigar. It’s the only way we’ve ever done it, and the only way we will ever do it. While some things may change, that’s one thing that we’ll never change here at Cigar Aficionado magazine.