Most of us would agree that life is a process of refinement. Our pursuits change. Our preferences change. The definition of us and our world evolves, with a lot of trial and error thrown into the mix. Likewise, our quest to be the master of our individual cigar palate is ongoing. It may even change within the same day, depending on mood, meal, moon, or sunrise. And we have a lot to choose from.
Cigar Sense is an online advisory service that helps consumers traverse the cigar universe with greater ease by matching their tastes with recommended cigars. Franca Comparetto and David Wells launched the membership site in 2015. Franca is certified by the Tobacconist University in the United States, and as a Catadora in her homeland of Italy by the CCA (Cigar Club Association). David is an independent management consultant and computer engineer. Together, they are the architects of the Cigar Sense methodology and software.
The site utilizes a highly detailed cigar database and profiling analytics that matches cigars with their members’ tastes. Cigar Sense’s mission is to help cigar lovers fine-tune their purchases and alleviate much of the pricey guesswork that has been known to frustrate buyers. Cigar devotees receive customized information on the best cigars for their palate and budget.
The relationship between Cigar Sense and its members is impactful. Ms Comparetto says, “Our members are seriously committed to the concept. And we are blessed to have the terrific members that we have who are at all levels of their cigar smoking evolution.”
The selection methodology Cigar Sense offers its members is a unique and fun experience. The enthusiast kick-starts the process by setting up a user profile, either by indicating favorite cigars or by manually selecting preferences. Then the educational process begins. The variables include preferences such as price range, gauge, wrapper, strength, and desired flavor profiles.
Cigar Sense prompts aficionados to maximize the system by delving into likes and dislikes, such as aromas and palate perceptions, so they can hone in on high-percentage matches. A personal profile is developed, and cigar choices are offered. Member Michael Whitehead of Illinois relates, “Cigar Sense has been wonderful in its ability to help me refine what I truly enjoy in a cigar. The system helps the user by slowly urging you to adjust your taste and aroma preferences based on what you have enjoyed smoking. The more you use the site, the better it works at helping you find that next perfect cigar to try.”
Cigar Sense offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and the premium membership currently costs USD 8.25 (EUR 7,38) per month, when billed annually. The site is committed to staying ad-free and independent; it doesn’t pass on the personal data of its users and doesn’t sell cigars.
Some members report that Cigar Sense has saved them as much as USD 500 (EUR 448) per year by helping them avoid buying cigars that don’t suit their tastes, like Kenneth Rosal from Canada. “Cigar Sense has helped me develop my flavor profile to what I like. In doing so, I’ve tried so many new cigars and branched out of my regular choices. Cigars are very expensive in Canada, so the recommendations by Cigar Sense are very important in making a more educated purchase.”
The site has maintained a 90% satisfaction score on recommended cigars. Cigar Sense maintains the integrity of its system by drawing in expert panelists who engage in analyzing thousands of premium cigars, participating in blind-tasting tests, and continuously developing a large database of cigar information. The site also provides a myriad of resources for its members, such as articles on proper storage, preparation, quizzes, life- style features on cigars and spirits, industry ambassadors, and other useful information about cigar culture.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Winter Edition 2016. Read more