Cigar Tastings  •  Дегустации Сигар

I have participated in a large number of cigar tastings (degustations), food tastings, drink tastings. I tasted combinations of certain cigars with certain dishes. I enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge with people who would like to go down the way of connoisseur. Here I publish my independent cigar tasting notes and recommendations, articles about cigars and cigar smoking. On the Gastronomy page I publish gastronomical reviews, tips about products and methods, taste combinations, notes about gastronomical experiences and places.

Tasting Reviews

I maintain my cigar reviews as a guide for cigar smokers, sommeliers, cigar producers, and just lovers of la Buena Vida. I write about those cigars which I choose to be worthy of attention. So, this site is not a catalogue or digest of new cigar releases. It’s a guide, a notebook for gourmet. Here you will find, based on my personal valuation, Crème de la crème of cigars. But you will also find a few notes about cigars which have disappointed, although their marka is well-know or “trendy”. However, as the latin maxim says : “De gustibus non est disputandum” – we don’t argue about tastes. Every lover of cigars should figure out his own preferences.

I keep to the score system of Mr. Parker that he suggested for wine, I find the system of 100 points the most convenient and respectful for a premium-class cigar. It is wide enough for defining the subtle differences between the cigars of a very high league as precisely as possible.

I make complete tasting notes of the cigars that get more than 85 points. But there are cigars that get less than 85 but leave their own impressions (may not be all positive) instead of a feeling of wasted time, I may also write about them, give general evaluation and recommendations.

I deliberately don’t use in my tasting notes the exact names of the cigar formats given by the producers, in order to avoid confusion with the classic Cuban formats (or their common names, or vitola de Galera – the factory name). My heart is rather on the side of Cuban cigars, their system of formats is used on a daily basis by smokers who “live” within the Cuban format system. So, I won’t use the producers’ formats because nowadays they appear nearly every day with new vitolas and own formats’ names. I would not like to mislead the selective smoker. If you want to learn the steady classic Cuban system, you can go to this very reliable site:  But I will give the sizes of all of the tasted cigars.

My cigar tasting notes are based on smoking the same vitola as a norm 3 times, with exceptions when I have only one or two exemplars available, or it is an exclusive cigar. Some of my cigar tasting revews are in Russian language, and some in English.

Сигарные Дегустации

Имея за спиной огромный дегустационный опыт, я хочу поделиться им и полученными впечатлениями с теми, кто идет дорогой познания афисионадо. Мои материалы могут быть инересны начинающим и опытным любителям сигар, сомелье, производителям сигар, предпринимателям в сигарной сфере.

Длина сигары традиционно измеряется в дюймах. Толщина сигары измеряется в единицах, называемых ring gauge (ринг гейдж), которые равны 1/64 дюйма. В одном дюйме примерно 2,4 сантиметра. Сигары не принято измерять в сантиметрах.

В дегустациях сигар я использую винную систему Паркера, предлагающего для оценки 100 баллов. Она выражает надлежащее уважение к продукту, и наиболее подходит для максимально точной оценки большого выбора сигар, представляющих нишу премиум-класса.


Для моих сигарных дегустаций/тэстингов сигары выкуриваются три раза, за исключением тех витол, которые имеются только в одном-двух экземплярах, либо если дегустируемая витола эксклюзивна. В сигарных тэстингах я не упоминаю названия форматов, данных производителем, по причине огромного изобилия новомодных производителей с собственными форматами. Чтобы избежать путаницы. Но я даю параметры каждой тэстируемой витолы. Самое важное для серьезно настроенного курителя – это выучить классические кубинские форматы сигар. Самый необходимый сайт для технической подготовки афисионадо – это  Данный вэбсайт, в пополнении которого принимают участие мировые знатоки сигар, основан на четкой кубинской системе форматов, освещает все выпуски кубинских витол и марок.

Gourmet Notebook
Cigar Reviews • Дегустации сигар

Articles about cigars and
cigar smoking

Lighting Your Cigar

cigar reviews, правильное курение сигар

From my experience of smoking in groups and observing people smoking cigars, I can say, unfortunately, too many people light their cigars incorrectly (even some who are in cigar business). That could be ok by itself, but may affect their smoke quality, and more so is that they teach others on youtube and various cigar-smoking sites. But the most unfair thing of it is that they post their tasting notes which often downgrade honourable cigars, because of incorrect lighting. I have made many experiments about that and know what I am talking about.

Using the cigar torch lighter. This has been said many times yet it is still not taken into consideration by many smokers especially men. Probably, for those their torches may seem to be a substitute for a weapon? – maybe they believe that it makes them look more “macho” and accentuates their masculinity. No and no. Cigars, especially cuban cigars, may and do loose a lot of taste when they are mercilessly toasted by an open fast flame of a very high degree, put critically close to its foot.

If you want to make as impartial and correct as possible opinion on some cigar, and you want to grasp all that the cigar has to offer us, not only a part of the flavour, do use a slow flame please! The most cigar-friendly and correct thing to use is long cigar matches, or a slow regular gas lighter. In the case of using those cheap disposable gas lighters which get overheated very quickly, especially if you need to light a thick cigar and obviously need more time for that, just have 2 lighters on hand to prevent burning your fingers, keep replacing them with one another until your cigar is properly and evenly lit.

If you do use a torch lighter then have patience and get certain skills for using it correctly to your cigar. Don’t fly the flame over the edges of the cigar foot holding it too close, be patient and respectful to your cigar, hold the flame in a half-centimetre off the cigar, keep the angle of the flame about 45 degrees towards the cigar foot, don’t direct it right onto the cigar – it will definitely burn up the tasty 1-2 centimetre piece off the inside tobaccos, but in a good cuban cigar every millimetre is important for the evolution of the taste and for saving the delicate flavours’ harmony. Roll the cigar slowly around the warmth that the flame radiates, don’t rush your cigar, don’t expect it to get immediately red and smokey, give it its time to get introduced to the flame and get warmed up first, before getting it into the next phase, the fire-cigar “marriage”. It will pay you back for your attention and patience, trust me.

Victoria Radugina © 2014