If you have been watching our Prime Time Show, we have been focusing a lot on cigar reviews and cigar scoring. We’ve tried to point out some of the best practices as well as some of the pitfalls when it comes to reviewing a cigar. While reviewers may all have different methodologies, I believe there is a common base of things that need to go into a cigar review. I call these things “The Three Cs” – and in the end, they add up to one Big C – Creditability.
Ultimately if you are going to assess a cigar, you simply cannot just attach a score in the review, you must convince your audience why this cigar deserves the score it received. The higher or lower the score from your average (and we can debate what the average is), the more convincing you are going to have to do.
We discussed quite a bit about cigars that score “perfect” (under the traditional 100 point system, this is a cigar that gets “100”) One point I made is if you are going to give a cigar the “perfect score”, your review really must reflect why that cigar is worthy of that score. Much of this is going to come down to having well-documented criteria for what goes into your scoring system.
On the flip side, if you rip a cigar and give it a very low score, you also owe it to your audience to help them understand why this cigar was penalized in the points department.
Finally, if you are going to start a review off of a big ring gauge cigar and say “I don’t like big ring gauge”, you are going to have to work hard to convince your audience of your review – particularly if you give the cigar a bad review. The net/net is you shouldn’t interject a preconceived notion.
A cigar review must project confidence. If a reviewer is wishy-washy on the cigar, my perception is the reviewer is not standing behind the review written. This not only includes confidence in the feelings of the cigar, but having a solid understanding what the cigar is all about.
Sometimes I see disclaimers used in a cigar review. Disclaimers are good up a point. It’s ok to say, “I got the sample”. It’s a little overboard to say “I got the sample and it has no influence on this review”. In my opinion, that’s just too much. I admit, I was guilty of this early on, and was coached appropriately. If one is doing an honest review, this will come through with the CONVINCE part of the review. The higher or lower the score from the average, the higher the confidence level must be demonstrated.
Guess what? Reviews are subjective and thus subject to debate – and yes, criticism. It’s important that the reviewer not take criticism personally. If you are going to swing punches in a review, expect that someone may swing back. It’s important to handle it professionally. Even more importantly, when you write a review, don’t write the review with fear of being criticized. It’s important to keep it real.
In my opinion, the combination of CONVINCE + CONFIDENCE + (HANDLING) CRITICISM equals CREDITABILITY for you as a reviewer.
Last month, we celebrated one year anniversary of the Prime Time Show. We had an official milestone show as we traveled to Tampa Florida to interview Scott Kolesaire, the brand manager for AVO Cigars. We followed this up with Prime Time Special Edition Interviews with Christian Eiroa and Tom Lazuka at C.L.E. Cigar Company World Headquarters in Miami, Florida.
This month, we continue the celebration. Steve Saka joins us for Episode 51 of the Prime Time Show. We will journey back to Florida where we meet Jeff Borysiewicz at Corona Cigar Company as we preview the big Drew Estate Barnsmoker Event on that show. Then on May 21st, we celebrate one year of Prime Time Special Edition as we welcome the one and only Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. as our special guest.
There’s more excitement to come, so stay tuned!!!