A forum for cigar lovers.
First, pick up your cigar, feel it using your hands, and then roll it through your fingers. Does it feel heavy or does it feel loose? This will give you a great sense for how well the cigar is filled.
Second, gently pinch the cigar between your thumb and index finger and work the entire cigar inch by inch. Do you notice any soft or hard spots? If so, you may have potential draw or burn problems.
Third, hold the cigar up to your ear and roll between your fingertips. Do you hear any crackling from inside the cigar? Over-humidified cigars create combustion problems. The filler should quietly pop when pinched.
Fourth, gently cut the cap off the cigar and place it on your tongue. This small piece of tobacco should have a pleasant and clean taste. If not, then the cigar is too tannic and needs further aging.
Fifth, put the head of the cigar in your mouth and draw as you would if the cigar were lit. Is the cigar drawing well? What do you taste? These nuances tend to be a more subtle variation of the cigar’s actual flavor. Aficionados refer to this as the "pre-light flavor and draw."
Sixth, put the foot of the cigar up to your nose and take in the aroma of the premium tobaccos. Can you detect several competing smells? This is referred to as the "pre-light aroma." These competing smells are a great indicator of the cigar’s desirable complexity.
Seventh, thoroughly inspect the cigar visually. Do you see any green or white spots? Is the wrapper heavily marbleized or discolored in places? Quality handmade cigars typically utilize the highest-grade wrappers and do not usually reveal these aesthetic qualities.