Why We Play the Review Game

I’ve encountered my fair share of skeptics when it comes to my cigar reviews. Often, I hear comments like, “Let’s be honest, most of those flavor notes you list in your reviews, that’s all just a bunch of nonsense, isn’t it?” While a concise response like “no, it’s not” would suffice, it doesn’t fully explain the intricate process of analyzing a cigar. I don’t take offense to these comments because, at one point, I also struggled to identify more than three flavor notes in a cigar. So, I usually try to reassure them that most cigars offer a multitude of flavor nuances that almost anyone can discover with the right approach. The conversation then veers into techniques I find helpful for extracting more flavors from a cigar. While some skeptics may persist, I usually make progress in dispelling their disbelief.

However, the “how” of reviewing cigars, while important, isn’t as vital as the “why.” Why go to such lengths to record and share what I experienced from a cigar, especially when someone else’s experience might vastly differ? It’s true; each person’s perception of a cigar will likely be unique. I do believe I have a reasonably discerning palate and a knack for detecting flavor subtleties, but I’m far from the best, and my reviews are far from gospel. Yet, that’s not the point. The point is that I am passionate about thoroughly exploring every cigar I can get my hands on. When you’re passionate about something, you’re driven to share that experience. This is the fundamental reason why I do cigar reviews.

When I first ventured into the world of cigars, like many others, I turned to YouTube to gain knowledge about this hobby. I was thrilled to find a wealth of resources delving into the fascinating realm of tobacco, the numerous cigar families, brands, and the regions worldwide that crafted these exquisite cigars. I eagerly absorbed information about how to properly cut, light, store, and savor cigars. However, what captivated me the most were the cigar review channels. Bryan Glynn, Ron Real, Tim Rollins, Lee Mack – these guys looked like they were having an absolute blast doing what they did. They also had an uncanny ability to detect and describe flavor notes. I didn’t fully understand what “IT” was, but I wanted to experience whatever they were tasting! So, after several years of enjoying cigars, I decided to dive headfirst into reviewing them. Admittedly, the production quality of my earliest video reviews is cringe-worthy (please don’t watch those early videos). Yet, I noticed something almost immediately. Cigars had layers of complexity I had never detected before, simply because I had turned off my phone, sat in solitude, and focused entirely on the smoke. Suddenly, when I paid unwavering attention, cigars practically came to life.

This experience was cathartic for me and deepened my passion for cigars. Filming and writing reviews became a therapeutic outlet in my life. Now, I want as many people as possible to experience even a fraction of what cigars do for me. I also want more people to comprehend the skill, passion, and craftsmanship poured into each of these cylindrical delicacies. I understand that cigars won’t appeal to everyone, but even my wife, who doesn’t personally enjoy them, has a profound appreciation for the art of cigar-making and the happiness I derive from them. THAT is why I do this.

If my cigar reviews accomplish one thing, let it be to show people that I cherish cigars and that they bring joy and enrichment to life. If I can help convey even a small part of that, then this is a game worth playing.