Something has always bothered me about the way cigars are rated. There is this category that is dedicated to the appearance of a cigar and I’m not sure it’s all that important.
Yes, if the cigar has holes in it or there are stretch marks on the wrapper or there are tares in the wrapper then, fine, the appearance matters. But if there are raised veins or the cigar looks a little bumpy or a bit misshapen then it usually does not affect the flavor of the cigar. Luckily appearance doesn’t factor too much into scores but 10-15 points is still a pretty big chunk.
It is often the case that I will smoke a cigar that just looks awful and it turns out to be very good. A recent example I encountered is the Arturo Fuente Curly Head cigar. It is an ugly cigar – I think they were going for the “rustic” look but, in the end, I didn’t like the look of it.
The wrapper covers a lot of the foot of the cigar and there are bumps all along it. Quite frankly, I thought that it was going to be a horrible cigar just because it looked weird. But it wasn’t. The Arturo Fuente Curly Head is actually a pretty good cigar and I wouldn’t mind smoking one again.
Sometimes an ugly looking cigar is a tell-tale sign that something is wrong with the cigar. Once I had a cigar that only had a red band on it (so I don’t know who made it). The color on the cigar was inconsistent (did they dye it?) and it was very misshapen.
Sure enough, the cigar had bad flavors and had a tight draw most of the time. It wasn’t an enjoyable cigar at all.
On the flip side there are some cigars that look great but taste horribly. I’m sure you’ve had some cigars like this: no raised veins, tons of oil, the wrapper just looks perfect. And then you light it up and it’s a stinker.
In the end all you can do is try as many cigars as possible and figure out which ones are good and which ones aren’t. You can also check back in with this blog or any of the other cigar blogs out there to see what we think.