It may seem arbitrary, but i promise you the math is all in my head (along with ALL those little voices). I grade on the Cigar Aficionado grading scale which may on the surface seem that it is from 1-100, but trust me it’s really from 78-95 (plus I don’t reward for advertising!). My rating system will extend those lines out a little more, but a really bad cigar is not going to get a “1″. It would most likely get a “62″ or something like that. But you ge the idea, right? The cigar stunk.
I look for taste first and foremost. Within taste you get bonus points for complexity. What’s that you ask? Exactly. Too few and too far between. Hence the bonus points. I have tried a lot of one-dimensional cigars and it’s getting old…
Some other random points go to construction. This is also very important. It may taste just fine, but does it draw? Does the cigar canoe on you? You get the drift.
That should leave about 2 or 3 points left out of 100. The rest go to appearance. Why so little emphasis on appearance? Remember that kinda unattractive girl you hooked up with in college that one night when you had a few too many to drink? It was better than all of the “barbie” girls put together! Just because the cigar is “fugly” doesn’t mean it won’t rock your world! (Although honestly, if it is an ugly cigar, it probably DID suck so it already lost a bunch of points already)
And then to clarify things further, I throw in a A-F grade (college scale) at the end for the easily confused (including me).
So there you go… and remember this is Zen & the Art of the Cigar, so if I bag a cigar that’s one of your faves, who cares? If it makes you happy, that’s all that matters. Enjoy!