Stogie Press Rating System Part 3 – The Numbers


July 8, 2018

Palm Shores, FL – We are just 5 days until the opening of the 86th annual International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Association Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV. This will be the 5th IPCPR Trade Show that Stogie Press has attended and over those years, much has been learned and shared. One thing I learned is, numerical ratings are important to brand owners for their marketing, but the numbers have to be realistic and honest. I also learned that these ratings are followed by some but not all consumers. Essentially, it is a mixed bag. Now that we made the choice to go to a numerical rating system, there is no turning back so here it is….

Part 1 and part 2 of this article, defined the parameters we would use to rate review samples we receive or purchase. Today I will explain how the numbers will be arrived at in the new Stogie Press rating system.


OK, lets start with this. The proverbial unicorn, the cigar that is rated a 100. It is perfect in all ways and nothing is better than it. Do they exist? They may, but to get there with Stogie Press you must have a special cigar, so special that under the microscope there is not the slightest flaw and it will garner all extra bonus points. To do so, the cigar must be consistent from sample to sample. Of course, if only a single sample is offered, it will be impossible to ever score such a number as we can not check the consistency.

The Rating System (revised for 2020 and beyond)

Where we start

All review samples will start with a score of 94 prior to examination. As we examine the cigar both pre-light and burn, points may be deducted as we will explain below. If at the end of the journey minimal points (0 -2) were deducted then we go to bonus points, where we had multiple samples to review. The bonus points will add to the base 94 score and possibly increase it to a 95 and up.

Point Deductions

  • Pre-light Examination
    • (-1 Point)    No pre-light aroma
    • (-1 Point)    Loose Seams in the wrapper
    • (-1 Point)    Open (airy) cold draw
    • (-1 Point)    Tight cold draw
    • (-1 Points)  Soft spots along the barrel
    • (-2 Points)  Ammonia on the foot (see part 2 about how we address this)
  • Burn Quality
    • (-1 point)    Off burn
    • (-1 point)    Jagged burn
    • (-1 point)    Requires touch-up
    • (-1 point)    Need to re-light
    • (-1 point)    Barrel has too much squish between fingers
    • (-1 point)    Small Wrapper Crack
    • (-2 points)  Burns hot to the touch
    • (-2 points)  Seam Opens
    • (-2 points)  Foot gets crunchy
    • (-2 points)  Mild run in the burn
    • (-2 points)  Smoke is hot in final
    • (-2 Points) Minor Multiple touch-ups
    • (-2 Points) Burn Hole in Wrapper
    • (-3 points)  Smoke is generally hot throughout
    • (-3 points)  Major Wrapper crack
    • (-4 points)  Canoe
    • (-4 points)  Major/Multiple touch-ups
    • (-10 points) Plugged – (-5 points if only one of multiple samples were plugged)
  • Burn Cone
    • (-1 point)    Flat burn cone
    • (-1 point)    Sharp pointed burn cone
    • (-1 point)    Off centered burn cone
    • (-1 point)    Flat burn cone
    • (-2 points)   Slight inward burn/Sides Burning Less
    • (-2 points)   Small tunnel hole
    • (-2 points)   Tunnel with point
    • (-3 points)   Tunnel
  • Ash
    • (-1 point)    Salt and Pepper ash
    • (-1 point)    Medium grey ash
    • (-1 point)    Flaky ash
    • (-2 points)   Dark ash
    • (-1 points)   Ash falls quickly and often
  • Aroma
    • (-1 point)    No distinguishable aroma
    • (-3 points)   Putrid aroma
  • Smoke Volume
    • (-1 point)    Medium volume
    • (-2 points)   Low volume
  • Misc
    • (-1 point) Bits of Leaf Coming out of the head
  • Band
    • (-2 points)   Removal of band tears the wrapper
  • Flavor
    • (-1 point)     One Dimensional or Not complex
    • (-1 point)     Sour
    • (-1 point)     Bitter
    • (-1 point)     Slightly astringent
    • (-1 point)     Harsh Start
    • (-1 point) Tangy
    • (-2 point) Papery
    • (-2 points) Un-balanced flavors
    • (-2 points)   Pasty
    • (-2 points)   Mineral (pencil lead)
    • (-2 points) Metallic
    • (-2 points)   Flavor fades at end
    • (-2 points)   Highly astringent
    • (-3 points)   Burnt charcoal
    • (-3 points)   Poor aftertaste
  • Price to Experience
    • (-0 point)   Worth a fiver
    • (-1 point)    Worth checking one out
    • (-2 points)   Not Recommended

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) Positive experience is the same through multiple samples
  • (+1 point) Extremely complex in flavor and aroma

5 thoughts on “Stogie Press Rating System Part 3 – The Numbers

  • Allow this “Enthusiast” to complement you on a truly well thought out system for evaluating cigars and providing a reference point for consumers that are looking for a logical and consistently applied set of evaluation criteria to assist them in comparative decision making prior to purchase of a new cigar.

  • Hi nice rating system but when u recieve the cigars are the labels covered ? What I mean by that isn’t a judgement being made right off the off the get go on brand .One big major challenge is judging blindly without any prexpectation. Your thoughts.
    Thank you

    • A good idea but no i have not dome that..but the thought is interesting. I am not biased by the brand but this could be an interesting twist. Basically take the bands off mark with a simple white band with a unique number and then review the cigar and then after look up what I reviewed

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