Cigar ratings may help smokers decide on the sticks they want to try. Whether the smoker is looking to broaden his horizons and try new sticks, or is looking to find something just like his other favorites, the ratings can give him something to think about.
The judging panel from one particular highly respected source of cigar ratings bases those decisions on several factors. There is a one hundred point system by which the panel allots points based on these factors. They include the construction and appearance into the point system because the aesthetics of the stick are important. To receive high rankings, they say that the stick should be smooth to the touch when rolled in the fingers. It should not have any noticeable hard or soft spots, which can have a negative effect on the draw and burn line. This aspect does have the least amount of points connected to it though, so it is recognized that while it is important, it is not the most important aspect of this process.
A quarter of the points are allotted to the flavoring of the smoke. It is important to note that the flavor of the cigar can have quality issues due to either the tobacco itself, or the process of storing and aging. If it was stored somewhere where it was too dry, the stick may seem harsh when smoked. The flavor also cannot be determined by just a single draw, because the flavor might change throughout the smoke.
The smoking characteristics, such as the burn, the draw, and the ash, are allotted another quarter of the points for the cigar ratings. If the draw is easy and the ash burns evenly, then that stick will receive higher marks.
Finally, the highest amount of points is allotted for the entire experience. This is meant to be not just an average of the other numbers, but more of an overall experience. Obviously, the higher the numbers in all of the factors, the better the overall number will be.
This is not the only system for cigar ratings, but it is one that is most well-known. While this review system is recognized as being subjective, it is still a good resource for the novice smoker, or even the aficionado. Some people choose to look elsewhere for reviews, or at least balance them from several different sources. There are other rankings with completely different point systems, including one that rates with a varying number of cigars. Ultimately, the most important thing for the smoker is to be able to rely on ratings or evaluations in order to choose a stick that is close to his preferences. Once he learns the resource that tends to be most in alignment with his own preferences, then this should help set him up for future evaluations that he can rely on. It does not ultimately matter whether he chooses to follow the most popular options or chooses something completely obscure. What matters is that he gets the smoking experience he is looking for. Finding the right cigar ratings can help ensure that happens.