I have come to the conclusion that Cigar Ratings, along with, The Best of The Year ratings are many times inaccurate.
We all know in the cigar world that ratings in many instances are bought and sold to the highest bidder. Sometimes, I would see a cigar with a high ranking or rating that wasn't very good or just awful. Also, cigars and palate matching is very complicated. One person's palate is very different from another's. Cigar education and knowledge is key. I have found some smokers love a peppery cigar while others like myself prefer to stay away from peppery cigars. There are the band smokers while others will take off the band before they light the cigar. The smokers who love a 60 ring gauge or higher while I won't smoke them.
And let's not forget everyones favorite... the, "I only smoke Cubans" smokers, who believe all others cigars are inferior.
After understanding what a person smokes, I could direct them to other cigars that they would love. This doesn't work when a magazine has five reviewers who smoke three or four of the same cigar to give it a rating. They have no personal contact with the smoker. What kind of mood are they in and where are they when they smoke? Are they running late and need to smoke quick and on and on. Have they been reprimanded for giving too many bad reviews or ratings?
I also found that some companies hand out a different cigar for a review or sample. I even called out a cigar rep on it and when he came in to dispute it, the cigars he was handing out were different from the ones sent to us. In flavor, color and size.
When I review, I never give a cigar a number rating. I find this to be foolish. I just smoke the cigar and tell what I am experiencing.
That's why I decided to use, "The Memorable Cigars" rather than "The Best of" or "The Top Cigar of" any year. What were the cigars that stood out in my mind even 10 months later over others. A cigar that I smoked and was so impressed with, one that stuck in my memory over many others.
Millions of cigar smokers and thousands of brands. What makes one better than the other? When all is equal, it's the experience. And what about the pairing of a cigar to a drink or cocktail which will changes the whole smoking occasion. The varations are many.
Many years of reading Cigar Ratings in the big magazines have left me dumb founded and I believe this year will be more of the same.