What Are Cigar Ratings?

Cigar Ratings

We live in a world where almost everything has a numerical value attached to it. Whether it be a price tag or a rating, we tend to look at these values to indicate the quality of a product. But do cigar ratings really matter? TheHumidor.com’s chief certified tobacconist, Chris Gwaltney, explains how cigars are rated and what it means for you, the consumer, when purchasing your next stick.

What Are Cigar Ratings?

Cigar ratings are a way for companies to assign a numerical score to cigars. It’s done similarly to the wine industry where major publications score wines, generating more sales for items rated over 90 points. Marvin Jenkins, the founder of Wine Spectator, first integrated these ratings into the cigar world after publishing the magazine, Cigar Aficionado. Now, many cigar publications use ratings, including Cigar Snob and Cigar Journal. It has become a large part of the industry, along with annual lists ranking the top 25 cigars of the year.

Smoking a Cigar

Do Cigar Ratings Mean Anything?

Gwaltney says, “you must consider the source” when looking at cigar ratings. Many publications derive their ratings from a panel that performs blind taste tests on cigars to avoid biased judgement on the brands. Keep in mind, these panels may smoke several cigars at a time. It could be possible that the last cigars they smoke may not come across as well as the first ones. It is not a scientific process, but blind tastings may be as fair as it gets. Ratings can also come from individuals who create videos smoking and rating cigars online for their viewers. This is an excellent resource for the community, but always remember when viewing ratings to check they are coming from a reliable source.

Does A High Rating Guarantee a Perfect Smoke?

The answer is simple—it is all about personal preference. Ratings are very subjective, whether it is an online blogger or a panel of seasoned cigar smokers, it is their opinion in that time and place. Your taste preference and desires may be different from the person rating each cigar. However, it is still a great place to start.

“It makes me pay attention to specific cigars but is not a deciding factor,” says Gwaltney. When it comes down to deciding on which cigars to enjoy, the ultimate rater, is you.


Looking to learn more about cigars? Browse our articles on TheHumidor.com.