A couple things I am frequently asked, be it on the blog, through YouTube, comments on the articles or videos, email, through forums, etc. – is why don’t I give cigars a rating and talk more about the stick before I smoke it?
Simply put, there are some things that I have chosen not to do because I feel they are irrelevant to the pleasure and experience of smoking a cigar. Such things as the so-called ‘pre-light draw’ and rating systems are a couple of them.
I don’t buy cigars to suck on them unlit or stick them up my nose and smell them. I smoke them. What they give you by doing such things has no bearing whatsoever on what they burn and taste like when you actually enjoy them as they were meant to be. Frankly a cigar could give ‘skunk’ through a ‘pre-light draw’ but if it smokes well that’s all that matters. Even considering such silly things, let alone imparting some qualified opinion on them to the quality of a cigar, is like buying a race car and judging it on how well it looks on jackstands. You smoke cigars, you don’t stick them up your nose or suck on them unlit.
Ratings – be it numerical, stars or whatnot – are 100% subjective as far as flavors are concerned. Each person has unique taste buds. Each person has different preferences to tastes. Two people can smoke the exact same cigar – share the same stick even – and taste different things. People can also do the same, get the exact same flavors and both can have different opinions OF those flavors.
Putting any kind of rating to flavors is ONLY, IMO, useful whatsoever to the person giving the rating, for his/her own future reference.
The way I do my reviews is very simple. I report the experience that I receive, noting everything that happens. This is obviously only applicable to my palate, but through trial on your part, you may find yourself having similar physical taste to my own. This is only found by smoking some of the same cigars that I have, and comparing your own results with mine. Finding a reviewer with similar taste means you can then glean better insight into other cigars that you have not yet had. You can then use that insight to decide if the flavors present would be something you would enjoy.