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Out of the Humidor

By CA Readers | From Andy Garcia, March/April 2014
Out of the Humidor

Dear Marvin,

Thank you for featuring Ron Perlman, one of my favorite actors, in your February issue. I have always enjoyed his acting and the interview only enhanced my appreciation. He has found ways to incorporate his love of cigars into many of his on-screen characters. For other readers who enjoy Ron’s acting, check him out in the 2012 movie Frankie Go Boom. The movie is hilarious and Ron took the movie way over the top!

Ken Westbrook
San Juan Capistrano, California

Dear Marvin,

I love to read Cigar Aficionado, especially the celebrity interviews, and was ecstatic when I saw Ron Perlman on the cover. I’m a fan of his, especially the show “Sons of Anarchy,” and have to say, I was very upset when I read the newest season spoilers regarding his character. As a newer fan of the show, I haven’t had the chance to see the newest season and was shocked when I accidentally read the spoilers for it in the interview with no warning whatsoever. I’d just like to say in future issues to please put in spoiler warnings for things like this.

Garrett Lefler
Canton, Michigan

Dear Marvin,

Thank you for finally featuring a cover subject like Ron Perlman who actually smokes cigars with regularity.  Your subscribers are cigar enthusiasts and we identify with other smokers.

Walter Pope
Piney Flats, Tennessee

Dear Marvin,

I am an avid cigar smoker and very much enjoy your publication. I find the thorough and detailed approach throughout all departments sets your publication apart and elevates it to a level that has allowed me to enjoy, not only a vast selection of excellent cigars, but in-depth articles that have expanded and enriched my life.

As a result, I am writing to you with a request for clarification from within your February 2014 issue. On page 65 the “Top 25 at a glance” lists as Number 7 Buenaventura BV560 with a 94 rating. On subsequent page 75 the identical cigar is listed as 92 points. Is there a difference or is this simply a clerical error?

I appreciate your taking the time to address this question and look forward to your response—and future publications.

Richard F. Lynch
Clifton, New Jersey

Editor’s Reply: Excellent question. The 92 rating for the Buenaventura was the original rating in Cigar Aficionado or Cigar Insider that it received earlier in the year, the rating that made it one of our candidates for the extra rounds of Top 25 tasting. The 94 rating you see in the Top 25 is a separate score, the result of the final testing that we conduct for our Top 25 smokes. Being named a Top 25 cigar by our magazine requires a cigar to perform at a high level over repeated tests, not just one.

Dear Marvin,

I thoroughly enjoyed the February issue of Cigar Aficionado. The Ron Perlman and Phil Maloof articles were fantastic. You get to learn things about these guys you don’t normally hear about every day. I just want to tell you that I love this magazine and ordered a full subscription.

David Smith
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Dear Marvin,

As much as I avoid annual “best” rankings, particularly wines and cigars, I must say this year’s list is a fine lineup. I might reorder some, but that’s just my personal preference and taste. Most of these do merit recognition and praise. The No. 1 cigar, the Monte 2, is flat out great. Kudos to all the skilled cigar makers of the world for a stellar year, to the editors of Cigar Aficionado for such a great list and to all my fellow BOTL (Brothers of the Leaf) in the forums who generously share their passion.

Christopher Dunn
Honolulu, Hawaii

Dear Marvin,

I always enjoy the cigar reviews and ratings in both Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider. With so many cigars available, these reviews help me select new cigars I’d like to try. I’m always disappointed when I see that a cigar comes from Cuba, e.g., the 2013 Cigar of the Year, Montecristo No. 2. As an average guy without your connections throughout the cigar world, how am I supposed to get my hands on these Cuban cigars?

Stan Miekiki
Cordova, Tennessee

Dear Marvin,

I very much appreciated the editors’ note describing the process involved in choosing the Top 25.  Unfortunately for a novice like myself it led to as many unanswered questions. Since you mentioned tasting 700 cigars I assumed that the manufacturer must request or apply to be included in the tasting. But I was really interested in knowing how the size of each cigar tasted was determined.  Does the manufacturer just submit one or do you choose which to taste?  This led me to wonder if the rating or ranking would be similar, somewhat similar or exact if I purchased the same cigar in a different shape?
I also could not help but wonder why the rankings would be so different from year to year. Is this because of a change in the submissions from the manufacturers or do the cigars vary that dramatically from year to year?  Finally, I guess it is just jealousy, but I would not include the Cuban cigars in the rankings since they are unobtainable for most of us. A separate page review might be more appropriate.

Larry Wiessmann
Johns Island, South Carolina

Editor’s Reply: Larry, we buy every cigar in our tastings at local retail shops or sometimes from online sources. Each brand tasted must prove they have nationwide distribution in at least 100 brick-and-mortar shops. And we are the ones who determine the rotation and which cigars we rate, not the manufacturers.

Dear Marvin,

I am having a battle with a well-known and I thought ethical mail-order cigar company. In their most recent catalog they advertised one of their house brands (Classic 5 Vegas) as having a “90” rating. After several exchanges of e-mails asking who and when the cigar was so rated they came up with a Cigar Aficionado 90-point rating as of March 1, 1998, or some 15 years ago. Obviously the tobacco, wrapper and probably the blending and rolling are vastly different today. Is the use of this old rating ethical or misleading advertising? How many years back in a rating do you consider as applicable to a cigar presently offered?

Jerry Weil
Punta Gorda, Florida

Editor’s Reply: Whenever we come across misleading use of our scores, we reach directly to the source. It simply isn’t right. We often ask cigar companies to put the date of our rating in their advertisements. In general, and this can vary because of the time a box of cigars may remain on a tobacconist’s shelf, a rating is good for at least 12 months, and maybe even up to 18 months. But after that, you begin to run into a different tobacco harvest being used in blends, and the cigar will not be identical.