Being able to define good cigars can be a difficult task. This is primarily due to the overall cigar smoking experience being different from one person to the next - smoking a cigar is an incredibly personal experience. However, there are some characteristics which are consistent and feature in all good cigars.
Consistency & Appearance
A box of good quality cigars should be consistent throughout the whole box. This can be determined by checking over the appearance of the cigars, the construction, and the quality of the tobacco. It should be noted that the overall appearance of the cigars might not be exactly the same, this is because they are typically handmade. They should be the same colour, should be nearly identical and taste the same.
This is essential in a high-quality cigar, poor construction will often result in it falling apart. You should ensure that the wrapper is clean, sturdy and not at all brittle - it should be quite easy to spot a poorly assembled cigar. As well as inspecting the wrapper, you need to make sure that the filler hasn’t been loosely packed or been packed too tightly. Unfortunately, a loosely packed cigar draws too easily, which results in the smoke tasting quite harsh; packed too tightly and it will be too hard to draw, which results in little to no taste at all.
In order to test the construction of the cigar, you should roll it between your index finger and thumb. This enables you to feel for any irregularities in the amount of filler, making sure that it has a consistent texture and fill throughout the cigar.
This is an incredibly subjective portion of the characteristics of a good cigar; however there are some common elements to look out for. Be aware of cigars that are overwhelmingly acidic in taste, bitter or salty - this is an indication of low quality. Although, bitterness can be a result of other extraneous factors, such as not lighting the cigar correctly, puffing on it too much or even storing it at the incorrect humidity.
A true good quality cigar should be able to accumulate roughly an inch of firm ash before falling off. This is a good indication of the firmness of the cigar and how well it has been constructed.
It should be noted, that your experience of a cigar is completely subjective, not only this, there are external factors that can play a role in the critique of a cigar. Humidity plays a role in the quality, as even the best cigars will make for a poor smoke if they are stored in an inadequately humidified environment.