How I Track My Cigars

As you fall deeper into world of cigars, you hear about so many cigars you want to try. So you buy. And buy. And, well, that catalog deal is awfully hard to pass up, so you buy some more. And then you start collecting all the hard to find stuff: Fuente Hemingway Between the Lines, Tatuaje Monster, Oliva Serie V Maduro. Before you know it, you’ve got multiple coolers and humidors with no idea what you have, what you’ve tried, and whether you liked any of it. I know I’ve been down that road. So I developed my own little map.

My list in evernote

Please, take note: I named this “How I Track My Cigars.” This might not work for everybody. Some people may want to track more detail. Some may want to track less. Some may think I’m just an anal-retentive nut. Who cares? This is what works for me, and hopefully it’ll give you ideas on what may work for you.

My Method

So, down to business. About a year ago, I decided I needed to track all the cigars I wanted to tried, had smoked, and had purchased. I’m a big fan of Lifehacker and the whole “Getting Things Done” (GTD) thing. I adore lists. Evernote and Remember the Milk are invaluable tools that I use to manage my work and home life. So, I determined a plain text list would be the best fit for me. I originally used Google Notebook to house my list but switched to Evernote about 8 months ago. Using plain text would allow me to use the list across multiple devices, and using an online tool would let me share it across my home and work computers, as well as my iPod Touch.

The first thing I did was develop a key. Since I decided on a text file instead of a spreadsheet or database, I wouldn’t be able to do any kind of sorting on the list. So, a key, or legend, was mandatory. It looks like this:


- To Buy
$ Purchased
$$ Box Purchased
# Smoked - don't buy again
! Smoked - buy again
% Smoked - buy a fiver
* Smoked - buy a box

The legend is pretty straight forward. I track what I want to try, what I’ve acquired but haven’t smoked, what I’ve smoked and if I liked it, didn’t like it, or liked it enough to buy a fiver or box. It sits at the top of the file as a reminder. Also, if someone ever wanted to buy me cigars as a gift, I could easily point them to my list, and they’d know what I liked, what I really liked, and what I did not enjoy. I keep the list ordered the same way as the key. Here’s a look at the condensed version of my list:


- Arganese
- Canimao
- Kristoff
- Los Blancos
- Pinar del Rio


$ CAO Criollo
$ Don Pepin Garcia Mi Barrio
$ Guantanamera Aniversario X
$ J. Fuego Delirium
$ Torano Tribute


# Angel 100
# Felipe Power
# MAXX by Alec Bradley
# Oliva Serie 0
# Torano Virtuso Maduro


! Camacho 10th Anniversary
! Don Lino 1989
! La Flor Dominicana El Jocko Maduro
! Perdomo Habano Connecticut
! Tabacos Baez


% Cabaiguan Guapo RX
% Camacho Scorpion
% La Aroma de Cuba EdiciĆ³n Especial
% Macanudo 1968
% Rocky Patel Renaissance


* Don Pepin Cuban Classic 1979
* Fuente King B
* Illusione mk
* Nub Habano 464T
* Reyes Family Premier robusto

You’ll probably notice on some things, I get very specific with the brand, line, and size (example: the Nub 464T), while for other stuff (predominately stuff I’ve never tried) I’ll just list the brand, like the Kristoff. I don’t bother with the country of origin, or size, or wrapper types a lot of the time. It’s just not important to me. If I added something to the list, it’s because I’ve read or heard about it, and know it’s something I want to try. If I want more info when I go to smoke it, I’ll fire up Google or pull out my copy of Perelman’s Cigar Encyclopedia. If you want that type of detail, add it. I do recommend using a spreadsheet though, if you want that level of detail.

Why I Like It

It’s insanely easy to update. It’s just plain text. Even with the most stripped down computer, you can keep a plain text file. It’s quickly and easily printable. I can share it with others. Since I have Evernote on my iPod Touch, when I visit a brick and mortar shop I can pull up the list, and shop for stuff I want to try, and save myself some money in the process by not buying a lot of the same stuff over and over again. Mostly, it just works for me. Maybe in time I’ll expand the scope of the list, but for right now it does the job I want it to do, and that’s good enough for me.

So, how do you track your cigar collection?

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Comments

Funny you blogged this. I just got a decent size humidor for Christmas and moved all my cigars from the Tupperware and a small desktop humidor to this.

I realized that I did not remember most of the smokes I have had and whether they were a box, fiver or a don’t do that again cigar.

Realizing I will, for the most part, need to start over I will certainly give you efforts a shot. Thanks for the information and I might even give this the official “New Years Resolution” tag.

good suggestion i’ve been contemplating how to manage my stock and wish lists lately thanks for the insight on how you do it!

matt

I like the simplicity of it. More than a year ago I tried a handful of applications geared towards tracking your cigars, but they all required me to be at the same computer to add or remove products. As a result I moved away from it.

While it would be a nightmare to try and catalog all of my current cigars, this would be an easy way to track future purchases right from the cigar shop where I make my purchases, via my iPod Touch.

Thanks for the suggestion
-Walt

Never thought of doing this, but now it does seem like a really good idea. Thanks!

Bonus points if you create a DIY planner template for your Hipster PDA! LOL

Seriously though, excellent way to organize your stogies. It looks like it would work because it’s so simple. Simple means you’ll use it, and anything you use consistently reaches that hallowed ground of “working”.

I may give a modified version of this a shot for organizing my upcoming reviews. Like Walt, there almost no way I would practically be able to apply this to my current collection. I’m crossing my fingers though. I too like lists, but I find I’m not as big a fan of maintaining them. LOL

Brian,

No Hipster PDA, but I used to have a copy in my Moleskine before I got my iPod Touch and Evernote!

You’re right about being so simple you’ll use it. And I by no means have my entire collection in my list. The main benefit I’ve seen is giving focus to my shopping. I’m less likely to buy the same stick a few times without ever having smoked any of them. And I’m less likely to pull the trigger on a great deal just because it’s a deal. I can look at my list, see I didn’t enjoy it, and save myself $50. Also helps me remember all of the sticks I want to try, which these days is the smaller, lesser known brands.

This came a an optimum time for me. I’ve recently expanded my reading of cigar blogs and have come up with a lot of new cigars to try. I’m using an application called ‘Tag To Do’ for my G1. I’ve created ‘tags’ based on you legend and can now move cigars between tags with ease. Thanks for the great idea.

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