Tobacco Review Scores On Average

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor



Preferred Member
Feb 15, 2017
United States
If you use tobacco reviews to do a first recon on a blend you are considering trying, how much do you pay attention to the 1-4 scoring system? I tend to look at the make up of the blend (burley, Virginia, etc) and any topping "flavors", and then the average score followed by the score from reviewers I follow. Do the average scores impact how you assess whether you will like it? Or do you only look at reviews of those you "trust" to have similar preferences as you do?



Preferred Member
Nov 7, 2018
Mesa, Arizona
I look at both. If a review is getting a 2 on the rating I'm probably not going to try it. If it has a higher rating I will read reviews and make a decision then.
Usually I'm looking up a blend because of a recommendation from someone or a special going on.
I have a notebook on all the blends I have smoked and what I like and dislike about them. That is the review that matters to me.



Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2016
Since tobacco is so darn expensive in Europe, I do let myself be influenced by reviews. Also, some blends are scarce, so whenever I go places and see blends I have not tried in various brick and mortar shelves, I do look up reviews as well. Firstly, the name tells little about blend composition so for example when I ran across Rat Ray's Accountant Mixture, I looked it up to see what type it is, as in English, VaPer, Va, etc etc. Secondly I look up the reviewers I trust, to see if they have tried them. This is due to past experience with their opinion, as in when I have purchased something partly due to the description of their experience things ended up satisfactory. I am not trying to suck up, but I highly appreciate JimInks opinion - he has an objective fashion of offering a tobacco review, is consistent in method across his reviews and has reviewed quite a bit, so he is experienced. There are others that I mostly know by avatar on rather than nickname. Thirdly I filter the review through my current taste, and try to imagine if that would fit my preference or not. This approach is a hit and miss, that pays dividends slightly above 50%. For example I have disregarded SG 1792 for the tonca bean, but when I finally pulled the trigger I ended up liking the blend a lot. Another example is Peterson's Aran, I was reluctant in spite of the fact that I love Vanilla Aros because some reviewers didn't speak kindly on the subject, but finally it ended up being to my taste when I bought it. Opposite, SG brown no 4 has good reviews, I bought a tin (it was quite expensive, as in twice the cost of a regular 50 gr tin), and ended up smoking that for two years ... still have some left, it's just too strong for me. All in all there is no magic bullet with reviews, but they do help in the decision making process in as far as buy/not buy.



Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
The ratings don't factor in very strongly for me, with the exception of a half dozen reviewers whose responses have fairly consistently mirrored my own.

Even then, if I'm curious to try something, I'll give it a try, ratings or no ratings.



Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
Interesting topic. I tend to start out by being interested in a blend based on its components and description. I do pay attention to the scores on TR. My budget is limited and I want to spend money on blends that are generally regarded as, well, "good." Anything on TR with a decent sample of reviews that has a score of 3.5 is probably near universally beloved and worth trying, IMO. Within that 2.5-3.5 range where most "premium" blends seem to resides, I try to pay special attention to reviews by folks who are thoughtful, and who I feel I share certain tastes or values with.
As for whether the reviews affect my perceptions, I am sure they do. I suspect that the higher the rating, the more likely I am to take a kinder perspective on what I perceive as a blends' shortcomings. And probably vice versa. It's important to be honest with myself here.
Luckily, I tend to be someone who enjoys most pipe tobaccos. I avoid aromatics because I haven't found many that I really enjoy a lot, but I have had very few tobaccos that I found so offensive I would refuse to smoke them.



Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
I also think the passion and intensity in the reviews matter as well. Royal Yacht, for example has a 3.0. Does this mean it's a solidly good, but not spectacular blend? Respected and admired, but not truly loved? Well, no. It's quite polarizing. Then I have to dig into the descriptions and review text to find which side I might imagine finding myself.
I do want to dip my toes into the most-hated category occasionally just for kicks. I love an underdog.



Preferred Member
May 3, 2010
Las Vegas, NV
I go straight to JimInks and PipeStud’s reviews. They’re the most honest about the blend for what the blend is.
If you go by score you’re bound to have a considerable portion of low scores cause “this English blend guy didn’t like this VaPer” or “this Virginia guy hated this aromatic blend” or “this aromatic guy hate this Balkan blend”.



Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
I totally disregard the numbers and just look for highlights in the reviews themselves. If the tobacco gets described consistently as having tastes that I’m looking for, then I feel safer about buying it. I’ve also found a few reviewers with similar tastes to my own, and then go through their lists and see if there’s anything in there as well.



Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
I always look to see jiminks review for certain. There are 3 or 4 others who I respect as well. If it looks like something I might really like though, I'll invest $10 and give it a go. I'd rather give $10 worth of tobacco to a friend than pass up a really good blend I enjoy.



Preferred Member
Mar 16, 2019
Jacksonville, FL
+1 to all that said they look at Jim and a couple more preeminent reviewers. I do look for a blend’s content. I tend to ignore the numbers for the reasons given by lordoftherings.



Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
I was smoking a pipe for decades before even knowing there was such a thing as reviews for tobacco. They're novel for sure, but taste is too subjective to rely on someone else's opinion and just not adventurous at all. I know blend compositions that I like and the component list in the blend description is all I would use for purchases.



Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
I do look at the average score. If it is below 3, I am quite scheptic of the blend. I also look to a few esteemed reviewers, but I have found that our tastes do not always align. So I use the average score, certain reviewers like Jiminks, Pipestud, DK, Deathmetal and others, whatever I've picked up here about the blend, if any, but it's all just indicators. I have to try it myself to be sure.

When I pop a tin, I want to finish it. I don't like to throw stuff away. So I do my homework and I rarely miss completely.



Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
I’m very envious of those of you (seems like most!) who can use Jim’s thorough reviews to aid you. I always read them because I appreciate his writing, and because I’m interested in how and why he rates blends the way he does, but his descriptions don’t seem to resonate with the way I experience taste. Big bummer for me!



Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
I enjoy reading the reviews and watching some review videos while smoking a blend, especially when it's new to me.
I glance at the summary to see the contents before buying, but, if it's a non-aro, I have trouble believing I won't like it.
Jim's review is the first stop, for the "tech sheet" review, then I skim down, paying more attention to the 1 and 4 star reviews to get the opposing views.



Senior Member
Nov 17, 2017
I look at the ratings and the reviews from a few people to see if the blend might be something I’d enjoy trying. A blend might get a fairly high score, but I’ll pass on it if it’s likely to have characteristics that I don’t personally care for. (Very ‘peppery’ dominate blends, for example.) The reviews help me determine that.



New member
Jul 2, 2019
I do rating on pipe tobacco based on my preferences. The highest will be my 'current daily favorite' The lowest will be 'never try it again' :lol:



Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2015
I pay attention to both. Opinions of key reviewers that seem to like what I like do override the average. Though I do keep in mind some have likes and dislikes that I might disagree with. Like one likes aros more than I do, one dislikes strong perique and I love it, etc.