Yesterday I lit up with executive editor Gordon Mott, European editor James Suckling and senior editor David Savona. We had already smoked dozens of cigars, rating each on our 100-point quality scale, but now we had to choose a winner.
After reviewing the top scores of the year from Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider, we selected the best of the bunch, coming up with about 45 cigars. Each had scored 90 points or higher. Our tasting coordinator, Greg Mottola, then went shopping, and bought all 45 at retail—we want the cigars we rate to be as close to what you can buy as possible—and he re-banded them to disguise their identities, then passed them out to six members of our tasting panel, including myself, for another round of analysis. At the conclusion of that blind test, we selected the very best of that bunch, they were re-banded yet again with a new code, and Mott, Suckling, Savona and myself sat down together to figure out which one was the very best.
Let me tell you, it was an amazing group of cigars, and there were some very strong contenders. We all enjoyed our work thoroughly. I brought along my new video flip phone, to give you an inside look at the process. Take a peek:
We’ve chosen a winner, but we’re not ready to tell you yet. Cigar Aficionado’s No. 1 Cigar of the Year will be unveiled in January—and for the first time ever you’ll be able to follow the countdown online. Stay tuned for more details.
What cigar do you think will win?