A New Cigar Aficionado Online

Flash back to 1997. The space station Mir was in orbit, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 7,000 for the first time, a computer program called Deep Blue made history by beating champion Gary Kasparov and Cigar Aficionado magazine launched its website, CigarAficionado.com. Today, after 13 years, all of us here at Cigar Aficionado would like to personally welcome you to the completely new beta version of CigarAficionado.com. It's a very modern take on your favorite cigar website.

We released the beta version of our new site this morning, while leaving our old site intact for a few more days. We hoped to ease you into the new site, rather than making an abrupt change, and also allow you to compare the differences between the two. We've been opening up the two homepages side-by-side to make comparisons.

The differences are striking. The most obvious change from a visual standpoint is our new slider of photographs. Our old homepage typically had images that were the size of a mini Post-It note, about 1 1/4 inches square. The photos on our new slider are huge-6 1/2 inches wide and more than three inches high. (In fact, the width of the new photos is identical to the length of the celebratory cigar I'm smoking right now.)

Our cigar ratings are improved-there are more than 13,000 cigars in our database-and they're easier to sort and use so you can find the best cigars to suit your palate. You can search by price, tasting date, country of origin, even the type of wrapper you enjoy.

The new site is engineered to make you a bigger part of what we do. On the original site, any user feedback only happened in our forums. Now you can comment directly on any story we've written. And registering to comment is entirely free.

Speaking of registering, the process is much easier than in the past. Have a Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, AOL or Yahoo account? You can use any one of those to log in, or simply create an account with an email address.

We've done a better job organizing all of your favorite items. Click on news to stay up to date on everything going on in and around the cigar world, and click on cigar stars to read up about the people who make your favorite smokes. A click on celebrities brings up the vast list of famous people who have been in our magazine over the years, from cigar icons George Burns to Groucho Marx and Winston Churchill to modern stars such as Alec Baldwin, Jay-Z and Sylvester Stallone.

New to cigars? We have a greatly expanded Cigar 101 section, with videos, tips, definitions, and links to our Cigar 101 videos, as well as a newbie corner dedicated to helping remove the mysteries of cigar smoking. Our popular video section has a new tabulation system, making it easier to find what you're interested in.

We cover Cuba like no one else, with a Cuba channel dedicated to the country's cigars and lifestyle. Our new Good Life Guide button features channels on where to smoke, gambling, golf, and much more, as well as the magazine's good life guide section.

Want to be part of Cigar Aficionado's Moments to Remember? Now you can upload your own photos, which could be published in the magazine or on our website.

This new site is the result of enormous amounts of work by many people here at M. Shanken Communications Inc., the parent company of Cigar Aficionado magazine, people who work behind the scenes so our stories, blogs, videos and ratings can be presented in the fashion you're accustomed to. I hope you agree with me it's a job well done.

We loved the old CigarAficionado.com. It was our online home for 13 years, a site so wonderful that it won the very first National Magazine Award for excellence online. And while 13 years may be a long time in the Internet world, all of us here can assure you it's only the beginning.

I have my celebratory smoke right here to welcome in the new site. I hope you join me.

Chip Lowell September 21, 2010 2:43pm ET
Very nice, David. I remember when CA online had a personal humidor for tracking smokes. Used to love that back in the day. The new site is a hit!
David Savona September 21, 2010 2:47pm ET
Thanks Chip. I'm glad you mentioned the Personal Humidor, because I didn't make mention of it in my blog. We've greatly improved and expanded the Personal Humidor on this new site. I plan on using it myself to keep track of some of my cigars (and make sure my buddies aren't stealing them from me...do you hear me, Jack Bettrige?). Give it a look. I think you'll be impressed. I'll mention more about the Personal Humidor later on.
Anthony Nater September 22, 2010 11:58pm ET
site looks great! glad its been updated. huge step up with the more current look, feel, features, and navigation. I will be checking back a lot more often now. Thanks guys!
Carlos Coelho Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, September 23, 2010 7:51am ET
love the "new" site. i have to thank you guys.
greetings from Portugal.

I like the new site, but.... When I go to the personal humidor, all of my notes and cigars are gone........Where did they go? I feel that if there was a change coming we should have been notified so we could have at least printed or stored our cigar notes and preferences.

I do like the new site but I am very disapointed my personal humidor informations wasn't saved.....
David Savona September 23, 2010 9:29pm ET
Sheldon, thanks for the note. You weren't notified because the information was supposed to have been moved over--obviously something went wrong in your case. Shoot me an email: dsavona@mshanken.com and we'll figure out how to fix your problem.
David Savona September 23, 2010 9:29pm ET
Anthony, Carlos, thanks for the comments.
Your new site is quite frustrating. I've been a paid member since April and now I can't access the Cigar Insider newsletter, clicking any links just sends me to the subscribe page (and yes, I'm logged in). With the new site did those that are paid members lose access to CI? If not, maybe placing a direct link to the CI archive or a "members" login link on the front page would be a good thing.
David Savona September 24, 2010 4:06pm ET
Anthony, you did not lose access to Cigar Insider. You will get an email shortly from our customer service dept. to remedy your situation. Apologies for any confusion.
Christopher Hill Chicago, Illinois, United States, September 26, 2010 5:08pm ET
I've been dropping by CigarAficionado.com for years now and really like its latest incarnation. In my opinion, the layout is a lot cleaner and more user-friendly than before. Nice job!
BRIAN ADIX PARKER, SD, UNITED STATES, September 28, 2010 7:10pm ET
So access to Cigar Insider will be returning in the near future? Excellent.
what's status to access to Cigar Insider? I'm experiencing similar problems as Anthony noted above. -FH
Michael Gordon Healdsburg, CA, USA, October 5, 2010 12:15am ET
That is all great, but I miss James Suckling, and have not read any real sounding explanation for his departure. My sense is that someone screwed up badly, in allowing for him to go.
Great new site. I wish there had been some notification before the new site went live.At the end of the day it's only a minor criticism and the new site more than makes up for it.
David Savona October 5, 2010 1:56pm ET
Frank, the new landing page for Cigar Insider will be up and running very shortly--in the meantime, if you need your most recent issue or any other help, you can email our customer service people at

Hi Dave. The new sight looks GREAT! Well done by all. Keep up the great work as always! Can't wait to see some of those cigar and scotch parings.
David Savona October 6, 2010 12:28pm ET
Thank you Jerry. And for cigars and Scotch, I'm sitting here right now with spirits guru Jack Bettridge (we're smoking cigars, of course) and we're planning a Scotch and cigars video soon. We'll film it within the next few weeks. Stay tuned...
David Savona October 7, 2010 9:30am ET
I missed a few of you in here---thanks all for the votes of support about the new CigarAficionado.com. Glad you're enjoying the site as much as we are.
David Savona October 8, 2010 4:06pm ET
For those of you inquiring about Cigar Insider, we've created a new landing page that should handle all of your issues.

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