Altadis USA is very focused on educating cigar smokers with its site CigarMaestro.com. The quote on the main page has a nice ring to it “Go from amateur to aficionado.” The Cigar Maestro site is part of a group of very successful websites from the largest cigar maker in the world (Altadis USA). Their other popular sites include The Cigar Life and Montecristo Social Club.
Main sections of the Cigar Maestro website include Cigar 101, Lessons, Your Certificates, About and The Maestros. Logging in to the site is easy with a Montecristo Social Club username and password or Facebook login info. Other links on the site include Cigars, Events, Retailers, Lounges and News.
Cigar Maestro Cigar 101
History and Facts – This section is very detailed. It covers useful information on the history of cigars, etiquette, construction, size and shape, color and classification, wrapper types, tobacco regions and knowing taste. The etiquette section especially stood out for its quick but detailed description of proper cigar etiquette tips. This information is great for new and seasoned cigar smokers.
How to Judge a Good Cigar – Sampling, How its Made, Characteristics, Aesthetics, Tobacco, Fermentation, Time and Place, Size and Epilogue are covered in this section. These subsections hit the high points on how cigars are made all the way to how to select cigars to purchase. Each section is short but with quick useful information. This section is much less detailed than History and Facts but easy to read.
Storing Cigars – Proper storage, Aging, Bloom vs mold all very important things to learn about as a cigar smoker progresses in their journey. Proper cigar storage is one of the most critical things to learn as a new cigar smoker. The sections covers storing cigars at 70% humidity and 70 degrees and why this is important. Also, ideal humidor size and location to store your humidor. Bloom vs Mold discusses why bloom is good and mold is bad and how to tell the difference.
Cutters & Lighters – There are many types of cigar cutters and cigar lighters, cigarmaestro.com does a great job here of laying out the types of cutters and lighters and the benefits to each. Definitely a good section to read if you wonder why there are so many types of cigar cutters.
Documentary – This is probably my favorite section so far. There are three separate mini video documentaries made by Altadis USA. The videos cover From seed to seedling, From barn to field and From leaves to cigars. The documentaries are short but cover great information on each topic. Very interesting!
Cigar Maestro Lessons
In this section there are four lessons to work through toward your certification on the site. Growing, Curing Rolling and Nicaragua are the names of the four lessons. Each lesson is an in depth look at the topic with a test of 10 questions at the end of each section. The test is not easy and definitely requires reading the material closely. The tests can be retaken and it is much easier the second time around.
Cigar Maestro Your Certificates
The Your Certificates section shows your progress through each lesson and your score. When you complete each lesson and pass the test certificates show up here. They can be printed or downloaded.
In this area you get to meet the Cigar Maestros behind the site and blending Cigars for Altadis USA. Their experience is impressive, ranging from 16 to 39 years in the factory with most over 30 years. It is explained here how the Cigar Maestros craft totally new cigar blends and that their goal is to create the best cigars in the world.
Overall this site is a great resource for the newer cigar smoker. It does a great job of hitting all of the important information in a fairly concise format people will not get bored with. We highly recommend checking it out!