Cigar Aficionado magazine’s Top 25 is the ultimate challenge for a cigar, and an opportunity for the reader to discover the finest smokes we tested in the past 12 months—the result of rigorous tasting, re-tasting and careful analysis that leads to the Cigar of the Year, the industry’s highest accolade.
When regarding our Top 25, it’s important to remember that the rankings have never been generated by an arbitrary selection process. This isn’t an awards ceremony, but a tournament that rewards consistency and excellence. First, we take the top scores of the entire year, cigars that rated 91 points or higher in Cigar Aficionado or Cigar Insider, our twice-monthly cigar newsletter. We then disqualify brand duplications to eliminate redundancies. Once we’ve established our test group (it typically begins in the neighborhood of 50 candidates), we smoke them all over again putting the cigars through the same blind-tasting process used all year. The top scores become our Top 25.
Our first Top 25 was published in 2005, for cigars smoked during 2004. This is our 17th list, and if ever there was a time when smokers could use 25 fantastic cigars, it’s right now.