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Out of the Humidor, April 2019

By CA Editors | From The Sopranos | 20th Anniversary, March/April 2019

Dear Marvin,
I am from Cuba, but have lived in Tampa for the last 40 years. I own every Cigar Aficionado that you have published and absolutely love to read your magazine. But there is something missing, most of the time, in your cigar ratings and context. That is the big ring cigars. I know you have the grande category but it is not featured in every issue of the magazine.

Now, almost every brand carries a 6 by 60 cigar in their portfolio and if I have the choice I wouldn’t smoke anything less than a 60 to 70 ring size cigar. Even now, the Cuban cigars are getting bigger and bigger.

Can we please have more information on these matters and the ratings of the big ring cigars?
Armando Padron
Tampa, Florida

Editors’ Response: Thanks for reading Cigar Aficionado with such faithful devotion. While grandes are certainly prolific enough to get their own category, we aren’t sure they’re prevalent enough to be in every issue of the magazine—yet. We’ll keep our eyes on the trend. We’re sure you’ll be happy to see that grandes are rated in this issue of the magazine. Take a look here.

Dear Marvin,
I just got my issue of Cigar Aficionado listing the Top 25 cigars of the year [“Top Cigars of 2018,” February 2019].  I was happy to see Cohiba Siglo VI make it. That, along with the Cohiba Robusto, were my favorite cigars when I was working overseas.

Reading the list reminded me of a question I’ve wanted to ask you for a while. You have prices next to each cigar rated. Are these prices that certain cigar merchants sell these cigars for? The reason I ask is whenever I receive my copy of the magazine, I make a list of cigars I want to try. I take the list to my cigar shop but very rarely does his price match yours. In most instances, his prices are higher. My real question here is: Where can I get these cigars at these prices?
Tony Awad
Alpharetta, Georgia

Editors’ Response: All the prices you see printed in our magazine, and in Cigar Insider, our twice-monthly digital newsletter about the cigar industry, are manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP), which are set by the distributor or maker of the cigars. The MSRP does not take into consideration tobacco taxes, which vary considerably from state to state in the U.S. In some states, the taxes can be quite high, while in others (such as Florida and Pennsylvania) they are as low as zero. Also, retailers reserve the right to adjust prices as they see fit—not all retailers have the same operating costs and overhead expenses. To answer your final question, you are most likely to find cigars sold at MSRP in states with no tobacco taxes.

Dear Marvin,
I have enjoyed your magazine for many years and applaud the listing of the strengths of cigars in your reviews. But in your Top Cigars of 2018, you do not list their relative strengths. How come? If it is helpful in the other reviews, why not here?

Additionally, in the Top 25, are you limited to only one entry from each manufacturer? I would be willing to bet there are at least two to three cigars from the Padrón brand for example, that are worthy of being in your Top 25. Also,  is it possible to—when appropriate—list the wrapper type in your reviews? Many of the smokes have both a natural and a maduro version.
John Hoyt
La Mesa, California

Editors’ Response: In determining Top 25, rather than showing multiple cigars from one brand, we choose the top-scoring cigar for candidacy. This is for two reasons: Firstly, it avoids redundancy. But secondly, it allows for the strongest, highest-rated contender to enter the Top 25 tournament. We are focused on pitting the best of the best against each other in order to truly determine which cigars are deserving of holding a spot on that list.

As per wrapper type, if no distinction is listed than that means that the cigar being tested was made with the company’s “natural” wrapper. If the cigar has a maduro wrapper, we say maduro.

And lastly, regarding the strength levels of our Top 25 selections, you are correct. They are not specifically called out. This is something we can perhaps add in the future to improve our list.

Dear Marvin,
I struggle every winter with keeping my humidor to the correct humidity. I own one humidor that can hold up to 50 cigars. I find myself using almost four Boveda packs at 72 percent, along with the sponge that came with the humidor. Yet I still can’t break 65 percent humidity.
Douglas Thomas
Granite Springs, New York

Editors’ Response: In the winter where you live, it becomes more difficult to maintain proper humidity levels in the humidor due to the dry, cold conditions. Also, not all humidors are created equally. A mediocre to poor humidor might be able to maintain humidity in warmer months, but will show its flaws in the winter when you need it the most. So, the quality of your humidor might be something for you to consider as well. That being said, an extra Boveda pack or two in dryer, colder conditions is an acceptable solution until spring. If this still doesn’t work, we suggest buying a better humidor.