This is a topic that quite a number of people have asked me to elaborate on — in my reviews i talk about a cigar’s aroma and also its flavour or taste. The question is: what makes a good cigar? Do i rate a cigar largely based on its aroma or its taste?

Aroma and taste are two distinct things, yet they are very closely related. Without aroma (scent), a cigar will have very little taste — try pinching your nose as you smoke a cigar and you’ll see what i mean. Yet, a cigar’s flavour is not necessarily dependent on how it smells as it burns — some cigars i’ve had offer very bland aromas yet pack a wallop of flavour e.g Cuban Crafters robusto. Some cigars are not too remarkable tastewise, but deliver the most delicious aromas you could ever ask for — almost like a fine perfume e.g. Ashton VSG Illusions. While others yet, the real superstars of Cigardom, are very strong on both points — elegant flavours, while providing the most subtle and delightful aromas e.g. Montecristo #2.

None of these cigars are bad cigars; they are all great smokes in their own right. But what are my personal preferences.

Personally, i prefer cigars that smell great as they burn. The delightly floral scents of the VSG Illusions, the unique woody delivery of Cohibas, the cedary tingling of the Puros Indios. The reason? Unless the cigar is truly exceptional, its taste will tend to remain more or less the same throughout its length. That’s not a bad thing, not at all. But what keeps me interested right to the end is how each draw smells as i blow out the smoke — a cigar with a pleasant, unique scent never gets boring, in my opinion.

The other thing is that i’ve discovered how a cigar smells as it burns is much more different from cigar to cigar than its taste. A Romeo y Julieta and a Montecristo tastes quite similar in many respects, but their aromas are quite distinct. In most cases, i can tell what a cigar is through its scent first, rather than through its taste.

The next time you light up a nice cigar, pay attention to its aroma. You may be surprised to find that your cigar has much more to offer you than you previously may have thought!