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 lead 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. For that reason, we analyzed the lists from 14 well known cigar publications and 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 or 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.
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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 ranked 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, Foundation The Wise Man appears on 6 best of lists = 6 Points.
That cigar also appeared in the top half of 5 of those lists = 5 Points.
Finally, it was the #1 ranked cigar on 2 lists = 2 Points.
Total Points for Foundation The Wise Man was 13 Points; and it was, therefore, the consensus #1 cigar in the best of the best lists and probably worth a try.
As in previous year's, a few manufacturers had impressive showings across the 14 lists. As usual Davidoff makes a strong showing, but the big surprise this year was Tatuaje. While Pete Johnson had no cigars make the consensus list, he led manufacturers with 14 different cigars mentioned across the best of lists. In fact, one blog listed 5 different Tatuaje cigars in their top 25.
CAVEATS & OBSERVATIONS:
With the number of cigars released every year it would be impossible for any blog or magazine to sample every brand in every vitola (size).
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.
Cigar Aficionado continues to boggle the mind with their Top 25 list. The top 5 cigars on their list do not even appear on any of the other 13 lists.
- Nicholas Melillo and Steve Saka have become superstars since leaving Drew Estates. Melillo, AKA, Nick-R-Agua, took the top spot with his Wise Man and Saka commandeered 2 of the top 5 spots with his Dunbarton & Muestra de Saka sticks.
- AJ Fernandez (AJF) continues to prove his blends can breathe life into tired mass market cigars with his H. Upmann & Montecristo collaborations appearing on many lists
- Southern Draw came out of nowhere and is "The" company to watch with 2 cigars making the top 25
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While this may or may not be the end all be all list, it certainly gives cigar lovers a good place to start when they go to their local cigar shop/lounge.