1 May 2013
The ways to judge a cigar are many and varied.
Perhaps the most common criterion is taste, which is sensible since that’s what tends to make the biggest and most lasting impression. Many smokers will tell you that’s really all they care about.
But try convincing yourself of that when poor construction begins to intrude on the experience. A bad burn will invariably corrupt the delicate mix of tobaccos and alter the taste, while overheating from frequent relights can leave a bitter, charred flavor. Similarly, a poor draw creates frustration and diminishes pleasure.
Many other factors can come into play. Consider size (“I don’t like big ring gauges.”) or availability (“I’ve got to have that latest limited edition.”). Some smokers automatically resent, and reject, high-priced smokes; others believe there’s no good cigar on the market for less than $15 or $20.
I began thinking about all this the other day as I sat smoking an Arturo Fuente Queen B.
What an excellent cigar. And one that, surprisingly, we’ve never reviewed. This, incidentally, isn’t that review. It just struck me that the Queen B affords an ideal example of what a cigar can offer. In this case, one can select almost any way in which to pass judgment and the Queen B will reign supreme.
Part of the Arturo Fuente Chateau line, construction is impeccable. Price? Only about $6 before state taxes. Size? The 50 ring gauge is one that will satisfy most smokers. Taste? Complex, balanced, varied. Strength? Not too strong, not too light. Availability? It may not be on every retailer’s shelf, but it is a regular production cigar.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Then there was a Cuban Classic robusto from Don Pepin that’s been in my humidor a bit over two years. Judging that one by the pre-light aroma from the wrapper would make any smoker break out the blue ribbons. Frankly, it seemed almost a shame—almost—to light it up. But it smoked as nicely as it smelled.
Cigars have a great deal to offer. If we don’t avail ourselves of what is there, we’re missing out.
photo credit: N/A