After two years of using our established rating system we received much feedback from the industry and consumers. The most heard feedback has been around the high ratings that some cigars have received over the past couple of years. We take ratings seriously and we have recognized that the numbers have skewed to the higher end of the spectrum.
Starting this year and moving forward we will be using a slightly revised rating system. The biggest change is where we will start every cigar before the review. Previously we started at 96 and deducted and at times added points to arrive at the rating. We will now start at a 94 and go from there. This means there are two additional bonus points that can be added to the rating. The following are the bonus points:
- (+1 point) Buy a box
- (+1 point) Razor sharp burn all the way to the nub (no waves/jag)
- (+1 point) Large oiling on the wrapper during the burn
- (+1 point) Extreme solid ash, greater then 2 inches before falling
- (+1 point) Extremely complex in flavor and aroma
- (+1 point) Experience is the consistent through multiple samples
Please note that the last bonus point will only be applied if we had multiple samples to review.
We also added some additional negative points:
- (-1 point) Harshness (this is where the flavor is harsh on the palate, which usually happens in the start the start of the burn until things settle in but it could be anywhere in the journey)
- (-1 point) One Dimensional or Not complex (there is no flavor or aroma development through the journey)
- (-2 Points) Burn Hole in Wrapper (a rare occurrence, but it happens when the combustion is seriously off and it burns too hot under the wrapper and binder eventually revealing a burn hole in the barrel below the char line)
- (-2 points) Un-balanced flavors (we have always recognized that flavor is a personal thing, but there are times when the flavor develops in an off balanced manner, such as sharp transitions of flavor notes)
These changes will likely result in ratings in the high 80’s and low 90’s as we go forward, but it does not preclude a pristine cigar from still garnering a high 90’s rating.
As always, we welcome your input and comments.