Author Topic: The art of cigar reviewing  (Read 444 times)

Offline hebron

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The art of cigar reviewing
« on: 05/31/2014 02:46 AM »
Reviewing a cigar is quite new to me, and I'm not really very good at it. My ability to pick up flavors is not yet fully developed. I have read the articles that addresses reviewing and flavors, and picked up some tips and tricks from the reviews themselves on this site.

But I feel I have to be alone, in a quiet place with something to note on to be able to even try reviewing. So my question is this; how is your review process? Do you review every cigar you smoke or is it a special ritual when you do?
- Thomas


Offline ThinBlueLine

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #1 on: 05/31/2014 03:05 AM »
Thomas I am in the same boat here so my review process is quite simple...box worthy or not?!  I just don't have the ability like others here to grasp the review process. I have tried and quite honestly I will leave it to the pros. I have found some smokers here that enjoy the same flavor profiles that I perceive I like, so I always watch what they review and go from there.
I enjoy romantic walks to my humidors...

Offline Vroomp

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #2 on: 05/31/2014 04:06 AM »
I find there is a lot of concentration involved when I review a cigar and the enjoyment factor goes way down when I am obligated to write one. Perhaps this is the reason I have not done as many reviews in the past year as I have done previously. I prefer to just sit back and enjoy a cigar without having to think about it! Certain flavor notes will soon become obvious to you although, the subtle flavors may escape your palate unless you are in that state of mind to concentrate on what you taste and smell. Those flavors that are the strongest like, cedar, nuts, floral notes or strong spices like pepper and anise are the ones most folks learn to recognize fist. Tasting things like smoked meats in an Undercrown( I find they have a slight flavor of smoked Salami or Peperoni) or the subtle flavor of cinnamon in a St Luis Rey just takes time to develop. Usually for me, it is a combination of taste and smell that triggers a certain flavor to be noticed through the myriad of other flavors that may be present in a particular cigar. Loving to cook and experimenting with many spices and flavors has helped me in this endeavor as it gives one a more complete repertoire of flavors to compare to. I doubt this helps but, that's how it is for me.......
Cigar smoking knows no politics. It's about the pursuit of pleasure, taste, and aroma. -Anon

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Offline Caveman Steve

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #3 on: 05/31/2014 04:32 AM »

I don't do a lot of reviews, but when I do, I prefer to take notes.(and drink Dos Equis beer.  LOL)  Reviewing does help me to identify certain flavors because I am concentrating much more than I normally would, and this can help down the line when not reviewing.   There are some on this site that seem to be able to identify individual nuances much more clearly than I however, and I'd love to get to that point, but I may never get there.  It's all good as long as you enjoy it!!

 

Cheers!

:beer:  


Offline dddddmorgan

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #4 on: 05/31/2014 05:02 AM »
I find myself in the same boat, feeling a bit overwhelmed when comparing my experience to others on this forum.
That being said, if I lived in fear of comparison I wouldn't get anything done. I'm encouraging you to go for it.
I've posted reviews and I find it an educational experience. When I have the time to sit down and pay careful attention to what I'm smoking I will take a note pad with me and have at it. Before I work on a review I check other reviews (if possible) to know what general direction I should be heading.
Consider reviewing a cigar as a good way to get your feet wet, no one's going to drown, have some fun.
Opinions are like armpits, everyone's got some, some stink and others don't.
Have at it!
Molon Labe!

Offline Vroomp

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #5 on: 05/31/2014 05:16 AM »
:word:
Cigar smoking knows no politics. It's about the pursuit of pleasure, taste, and aroma. -Anon

When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for the others.
It is the same when you are stupid....

Offline StogieDad

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #6 on: 05/31/2014 05:24 AM »
I review a fair amount of smokes on the site, and I just make sure to not put any expectations on.  I usually don't review when I am doing something (yardwork, etc) but I find I can concentrate either walking the dog or sitting on the porch.  If it is a really good cigar, I set aside the time to concentrate.  Either way, I just use a notepad on my phone and right down a note when it pops in my head, then just go back and fill in the detail.  Sometimes I only recognize a few general notes, and I review as such.  Sometimes I get more.  As I am not being graded, I am just trying to give a geek that reads my review a general idea of how I felt about the cigar.

That being said, I am not halfwheel.  I read a review the other day on there that the flavors were creamy potatoes, salty sunflower seeds, crispy chicken skin, among others.  If that is what you taste, then that is what you taste.  But I generally get the more normal things (leather, spice, pepper, earth, citrus, floral etc) but I have gotten flavors before that are very unique to a cigar.  I say this to say, if you don't get the aroma of burning bicycle tires, you aren't doing anything wrong.  Review what you had, even if you didn't get any specific or numerous flavors.  To me, it is giving the site a general idea of whether or not you liked a cigar that is important, and if you prefer, leave individual flavor determinations to the smoker.
"I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form."
-- Winston Churchill

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices, have very few virtues."
-- Abraham Lincoln

"I call this turf n turf. Its a 16 oz T-bone and a 24 oz porterhouse. Also, whiskey and a cigar. I am going to consume all of this at the same time because I am a free American."
-- Ron Swanson

Offline toby2

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #7 on: 05/31/2014 06:27 AM »

Quote
StogieDad - 5/31/2014  9:24 AM ......  That being said, I am not halfwheel.  I read a review the other day on there that the flavors were creamy potatoes, salty sunflower seeds, crispy chicken skin, among others.  If that is what you taste, then that is what you taste.  But I generally get the more normal things (leather, spice, pepper, earth, citrus, floral etc) but I have gotten flavors before that are very unique to a cigar.  I say this to say, if you don't get the aroma of burning bicycle tires, you aren't doing anything wrong.  Review what you had, even if you didn't get any specific or numerous flavors.  To me, it is giving the site a general idea of whether or not you liked a cigar that is important, and if you prefer, leave individual flavor determinations to the smoker.

yup  :biggrin:  I'm glad cigars taste like cigars to me!

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Offline junglepete

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #8 on: 05/31/2014 06:53 AM »
I review when I feel like it. I write whatever I feel like. Absolutely no point in comparing your experience to others. Even if 20 people love a cigar, it does not mean you will. There are so many variables in cigar smoking. If you want to write a review, then just do it. Say what you liked and what you did not like and that is good enough.
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Offline StogieDad

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RE: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #9 on: 05/31/2014 07:02 AM »
Quote
hebron - 5/31/2014  6:46 AM

Reviewing a cigar is quite new to me, and I'm not really very good at it. My ability to pick up flavors is not yet fully developed. I have read the articles that addresses reviewing and flavors, and picked up some tips and tricks from the reviews themselves on this site.

But I feel I have to be alone, in a quiet place with something to note on to be able to even try reviewing. So my question is this; how is your review process? Do you review every cigar you smoke or is it a special ritual when you do?


Just read your San Miguel review, what were you worried about.  That was a great review!
"I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form."
-- Winston Churchill

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices, have very few virtues."
-- Abraham Lincoln

"I call this turf n turf. Its a 16 oz T-bone and a 24 oz porterhouse. Also, whiskey and a cigar. I am going to consume all of this at the same time because I am a free American."
-- Ron Swanson

Offline Cigary

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #10 on: 05/31/2014 09:40 AM »
I used to love doing reviews until a few years ago when I had a lot of people send me cigars for me to review and then it felt like it did when I was back in school...homework.  I hated homework and even while loving cigars having to sit down and then parse flavors...smoking time...first third....etc. etc. felt like it was taking the enjoyment away from what I love.  I used to be very regimented and followed the ritual of the review and I think more than anything that robbed me of the experience of enjoyment but I wanted to do the reviews because I obligated myself...plus for the members here who are really good at keeping the database filled with reviews.  Now, when I review anything I won't write a word...I'll just smoke the cigar first and enjoy it....then I kind of keep a log in my head as to what I liked about it and after I finish the cigar then I'll review it which seems to be the way to go lately.  I get my cigar time and then I fulfil my responsibility of writing another review.

Offline hebron

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RE: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #11 on: 05/31/2014 10:03 AM »
Quote
StogieDad - 5/31/2014  5:02 PM

Quote
hebron - 5/31/2014  6:46 AM

Reviewing a cigar is quite new to me, and I'm not really very good at it. My ability to pick up flavors is not yet fully developed. I have read the articles that addresses reviewing and flavors, and picked up some tips and tricks from the reviews themselves on this site.

But I feel I have to be alone, in a quiet place with something to note on to be able to even try reviewing. So my question is this; how is your review process? Do you review every cigar you smoke or is it a special ritual when you do?


Just read your San Miguel review, what were you worried about.  That was a great review!

Thanks Michael  :biggrin: I did write down some keywords when smoking this, and I was alone. When something is happening around me the focus is not on the cigar, and it tends to be more difficult to remember it for a review. So I was curious as to how you guy do it, thanks for all your inputs brothers :thumbsup:

It might be that I am over-thinking this, wouldn't be the first time...  :shamebag:
« Last Edit: 05/31/2014 10:03 AM by hebron »
- Thomas


Offline Kevin48438

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #12 on: 05/31/2014 11:01 AM »
If the question is how to prime the palate to pick out flavors more easily, I have a few tips off the top of my head:

Be in an environment where I can concentrate.
Eat at least an hour before hand.   Less gases escape the stomach and palate is cleaner.
I brush my teeth and rinse mouth about a half hour before hand.
Be hydrated.   I like to pee long and clear in that half hour before the cigar

I only do this if I'm smoking a new cigar I am excited about and want to fully experience.  I smoke plenty where i dont follow these tips i have for myself.   Giving the platae experience by concentrating on thing like craft beer, wine, spirits, food, etc. can help too.   I'm like Michael though.   I can't identify the nitrogen content of the earth flavor I am getting.   It's just earth.
"I smoke in moderation. Only one cigar at a time." - Mark Twain

"There are two things worth living for, one is a good cigar, the other is a better one." - Unknown


Offline ntanner

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #13 on: 05/31/2014 12:57 PM »
I like to be alone also when I do a review. I want to be able to devote my full attention to the cigar and what it has to offer. If it's for a Geek Critique I usually try and drink water so as not to add innuendo's to the flavors. One thing I always try and do before smoking a cigar for a review is take a nice warm shower to open up the sinuses, I find that making sure my sinus passages are open really help's me get more out of a cigar.
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Offline nwb

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Re: The art of cigar reviewing
« Reply #14 on: 05/31/2014 04:42 PM »
For the first three years I was on Geeks, I reviewed every single cigar I smoked.  For the vast majority of them, I'd bring my laptop out and type out the review as I was smoking.  My ritual included drinking only water and making sure that I ate well beforehand so that my palate was clean.  This whole process was very helpful for me, as I was able to discern flavors much more clearly.  In addition, I tried to smoke at least one cigar a day in order to "compare" flavors from smoke to smoke.

After that, it became way too much like work.  However, at that point my palate was more developed, and I was able to discern a lot of different flavors (although not nearly as many as some of the super palates out there), so I was happy I reviewed so many cigars.  My palate continues to change even now, and cigars I enjoyed last year aren't that great to me anymore.  

Now, I just wanted to enjoy the cigars, so I stopped reviewing.  A lot of times, pairing the cigars with bourbon or rum was nice, and it is hard to review a smoke when you are drinking something with it.  Sometimes, I wish I was still reviewing, then I start smoking the cigar and say to myself, "No, I just want to sit back and relax."
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