Cigar Sense

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Know what flavours attract you to cigars – but not which cigars deliver them? Look no further. NICK HAMMOND has discovered the ultimate cigar sommelier service…

I ENJOY the journey.

For me, trying new brands (Marques), blends and leaves is a great part of the joy of cigar smoking. Of course I have my standard favourites – those go-to smokes that always hit the spot.

But you can’t educate your palate without a little exploration – and while I’m lucky and get to try many new sticks as part of my job, there’s no doubt when you have to dip into your own pocket for that expedition, it can prove expensive – not too mention frustrating – when you grab a cigar that doesn’t float your boat. That’s where Cigar Sense comes in.

Before I start, I must disclose an interest here; I’m on the tasting panel for this new and innovative personalised cigar recommendation service. Every now and then, I get sent random samples of unbanded cigars and asked to smoke and deconstruct them (taste and flavour profile-wise). It’s an unpaid role and I do it to continue my education and help out a fellow cigar lover.

I can testify that the detailed database that Cigar Sense employs for me to pinpoint flavours is incredibly in-depth. From the aroma given off by the unlit wrapper, to the levels and degrees of each flavour encountered, there are numerous ways to capture the blind tasting experience from start to finish. This data is then compiled and collated ready for each member.

The cost of annual membership is around that of a decent cigar – and once you’re signed up, you simply tell Cigar Sense what you like in a cigar – and it’ll match you up with similar sticks and suggest future exploration for you. Thank you very much, Jeeves.

Cigar Sense close up

“It all began when I re-located to California in 2013,” says Franca Comparetto, founder of Cigar Sense. “I was suddenly confronted with two problems. I could not legally buy the Cuban cigars I was accustomed to smoking in Italy, and instead was overwhelmed by the thousands of non-Cuban cigars available in the New World.”

The solution was a database of colossal proportions and a smorgasbord of delight awaiting the cigar lover’s palate.

Arbuturian readers get the chance to grab a sneak preview this weekend (May 8/9). A trial of all member features will be available for free.

“Independence is one of our key pillars. Cigar Sense does not sell cigars, ads, nor our members’ personal information,” says co-founder David Wells. “We believe we can help all segments of the industry, since happier consumers will inevitably buy more cigars. Rather than competing with retailers by selling cigars, we want to partner with them.”

So give it a try and pick up some new suggestions for the next time you’re in your specialist cigar shop. And as you do, spare a thought for me, smoking away in the research room, on your behalf…

For more information, visit www.cigarsense.com.

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