It's been said that taste is subjective and that is never more true when it comes to rating and reviewing cigars. Different palates combined with different life experiences and different flavor preferences often leads to discourse over what is considered the best cigar of the year.
However, that does not stop every Tom, Dick & Harry from publishing their best of list each and every year. So how does a cigar enthusiast navigate through all these cigars to come up with a decent list of smokes to try? We decided that a consensus look at the best of the best would probably be a good starting point. So we analyzed the lists from five well known cigar publications and six cigar blogs to come up with our consensus best of list.
We looked at how many times the same cigar was listed as a best of stick. Then we examined how many time those sticks appeared in the top half and bottom half of the existing lists. Since lists vary with some publications ranking the Top 10 all the way up to the Top 25, we felt this was the most fair way to add weighting to the rankings. Finally, we looked at the number of times a cigar was rated as the top cigar on a list and then force ranked the cigars based on their total points.
Our scoring summary is listed below.
1 point for every time a cigar appears on a list.
1 point for each time the cigar was listed in the top half of a list.
1 point for each time a cigar was ranked as the #1 cigar on its respective list.
As an example, The Warped Maestro del Tiempo appears on 5 best of lists = 5 Points.
That Cigar also appeared in the top half of all those 5 lists = 5 Points.
Finally, it was the #1 ranked cigar on three lists = 3 points.
Total Points for the Maestro del Tiempo was 13 Points; and it was, therefore, the consensus #1 cigar in the best of the best lists and probably worth a try.
CAVEATS & OBSERVATIONS:
With the number of cigars released over the last 2 years in anticipation of the new FDA rulings, it would be impossible for any blog or magazine to sample every brand in every vitola (size) in one year.
Different "Best Of" lists used different criteria for creating their lists. Some blogs only sampled cigars released in the last year, some excluded Cuban cigars, some set price limits on the cigars they reviewed.
We were surprised by the number of times that Davidoff appeared on lists this year. As a luxury brand that produces consistently decent cigars, albeit at excessive price points, they usually have one cigar that makes a few top 10's. This year, however, they were everywhere with 7 separate cigars across 8 lists. See the table below to see which companies had the most brands represented across the 11 lists.
Warped Cigars, a once well-kept secret boutique company among cigar geeks, has arrived to the main stream, big time!
Crux is another up and comer worth checking out. They had 3 brands listed and their du Connoisseur was ranked #1 by one well respected blogger.
The usual suspects had the most brands mentioned, but the smaller companies are proving they can go toe-to-toe with the established brands.
Finally the big houses with the mega brands are starting to fall way behind amongst the aficionados. While there was the occasional mention of an Altadis and General Cigar offering, many of those rankings seemed like they were obligatory additions to the list by the publications as a thank you for their advertising revenue, but that's just one guy's opinion and you know what they say about opinions.
While this may or may not be the end all and be all list, it does give the eager cigar buyer a good place to start when they head off to their local cigar shop.