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The 25 Best Cigars of 2006

Rising to the top of any list is no small feat. Becoming Cigar Aficionado's cigar of the year means surviving a tournament of champions where we gather the top cigars from the past 12 months' worth of issues and test them once again. It's hard enough for a cigar to impress our panel in a typical blind tasting. For it to stand out in a humidor filled only with outstanding cigars is another test entirely.

Choosing a No. 1 smoke this year was especially tough given the competition—it was a close contest between No. 1 and No. 2. In the end, the winner came from Cuba, a Bolivar Royal Corona with a stunning wrapper and rich flavor that seemed to never leave the palate. Close behind was the Coronado by La Flor Double Corona, a new cigar from Litto Gomez with phenomenal richness and complexity.

Cuba is the birthplace of great cigars and has a long reputation of producing the world's finest smokes. The win by a Havana smoke is noteworthy. For several years we had written of the declining quality of Cuban cigars, which were troubled by construction problems—tight draws in particular—an absence of strong tobacco in many blends and little distinction between different cigars. Those days appear to be over. Cuban cigars have become increasingly better, and today's Cuban smokes are of extremely high quality.

The scores here reflect the extra blind testing done by our tasting panel exclusively for this story. The cigars were selected from the pages of Cigar Aficionado as well as Cigar Insider, our twice-monthly cigar newsletter. We also considered the little extras that make each cigar on this list special, taking note of cigars with a history of consistent performance, and rewarding those that had high scores but very low prices. If you think you can't afford a Top 25 cigar, think again—seven have suggested retail prices of $5 or less.

Check out the Top 25 Cigars of 2006


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