There exists a group of men whom are responsible for all the ratings that come from Cigar & Spirits Magazine. The 10 men who comprise this panel all hail from different backgrounds, yet possess a single overarching similarity – their love and appreciation of premium cigars.
The Cigar & Spirits Tasting panel isn’t a new concept; in fact, the tasting panel itself has a strict process that is followed for each cigar that is rated by Cigar & Spirits Magazine – a process which is steeped in the traditions that our industry has come to expect over the years.
First off, every cigar that is received for review is un-banded and then affixed with a plain numbered band. Our scoring official is the only one who knows what each cigar is, and she’s responsible for compiling and averaging each tasting panel members scoring cards.
Tasting panel members smoke and rate each cigar based on a set of characteristics designed to assign a numerical grade based on how well the cigar is constructed, how well it was blended and its overall desirability.
All cigars start out rated at 100 points. From there,points are deducted for items such as poor construction, low-quality materials, burn issues, and lack of flavor.
Once a panel reviewer finishes a cigar, theyturn their completed tasting card in to our scorekeeper who then compiles and averages the scores.
In order for a cigar to even qualify to appear in Cigar & Spirits Magazine, it must attain a rating of 80 or higher. This insures that we only recommend the very best cigars to our readers, and precludes non-premium cigars from appearing upon these hallowed pages.
Meet The Experts
With great power comes great responsibility and these experts take their responsibility very seriously, which is why they’ve requested we keep their true names and identities secret.
Mr. X – The Chief of our panel, Mr. X has over 40 years of experience in the premium cigar and tobacco industries. Originally from Cuba, he has an affinity for medium bodied cigars and Cuban Rum. He states his music preferences as The Rat Pack and The Rolling Stones.
Mr. O – A Brazilian-Portuguese transplant at a young age, Mr. O is known for his love of rich, full bodied cigars and Sangria. We call him Mr. Charuto. In his free time, you can find Mr. O outdoors smoking his favorite puro while hunting upland game birds and blasting old Merle Haggard songs in his pickup truck. His 22 years of experience make him an influential member on the tasting panel.
Mr. K – The Kingman, Mr. K is an affluent countryman from Ireland who loves a good Irish Whiskey and a full bodied cigar. His 19 years of cigar industry experience is nearly overshadowed by his poor music choices…most notably, his being an unapologetic Bieber fan, for which he is constantly harassed by the other members of the tasting panel when he takes control of the music in the smoking room.
Mr. Y – Known inside the panel as Mr. “Why Not?” is the troublemaker of the group. A fiend for street tacos and Añejo tequila, Mr. Y always seems to sniff out the best local eateries and his fondness for mild bodied cigars is matched only by his love of his Ducati, which he rides every weekend. His 17 years of cigar experience is backed by an exceptional palate.
Mr. M – Originally from Canada (or so he claims), Mr. M enjoys mild-medium cigars, Bourbon Whiskey, and Penguins Hockey…a life decision that no one quite understands. His knowledge of premium cigars extends back 14 years to when he first started working in a cigar shop out of college.
Mr. Q – The youngest member of the tasting panel, Mr. Q has 8 years of experience with premium cigars and is our resident “early adopter” always sporting the latest wearable tech gadget and accessories. His collection of fine Dominican cigars is outmatched only by his collection of tech devices.
Mr. V – He got his nickname for his love of Vegas, gambling, fast women and faster cars. His favorite past times include watching F1 races and flying private. He also claims to be a “Platinum Member” of the Mile High Club. His premium cigar experience clocks in at 26 years and counting.
Mr. B – Our very own Italian stallion, Mr. B has 18 years of industry experience and loves Bordeaux, cannoli and full bodied cigars. Everyone thinks he’s connected yet he maintains “There’s no such thing as the mafia.” He also claims that no one has ever told him “No,” which explains why he’s on our tasting panel.
Mr. W – Introduces himself to everyone as an M.D. which he then expounds on by clarifying by saying he’s a “Money Doctor”. Medium bodied cigars, single malt scotch, and the finer things in life are his favorite things. 26 years of cigar smoking experience make him a valued member of the tasting panel.
Mr. F – Growing up in Texas, Mr. F is a cowboy through and through. He spends his weekends making homemade moonshine, smoking medium-full bodied cigars and watching Professional Bull Riding. Mr. F claims his one weakness in the world are “those women in their daisy duke shorts.”
Stay tuned for more information about the members of the tasting panel, as we dive further into the tasting process in future issues.