Take a look at our homepage, up near the top right-hand corner. The countdown has begun. In a little more than 19 days, we will begin to reveal the very best cigars of the year, Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25.
We’ve been puffing away mightily here in New York, trying to pick the cigars that deserve a spot on this year’s list. We begin by looking over the top scores of the year, typically 91 points and higher, and then create a buying list for our tasting coordinator. (That’s right—we buy all the cigars we taste here, which is a pricey endeavor, but it’s the only way to ensure that the cigars we review will be like the cigars that you buy.)
The coordinator creates a code, removes the identifying bands from each cigar, puts on a generic band with a number and passes them out to the tasting panel. When my tasting cigars reach the drawer in my humidor, all they have are plain bands with letters and numbers. And that’s where the blind tasting begins.
Sometimes a cigar that receives a high score during the year gets a higher score in our Top 25 tasting. Sometimes a front-runner runs away with it. Other times it’s a dark horse that comes from somewhere unexpected. We don’t know until we smoke.
The Top 25 has been an extremely popular contest since our very first list back in 2004. The readers love it, the cigarmakers embrace it and it creates excitement in the cigar industry as we showcase the very best cigars of the year.
Come to CigarAficionado.com starting on December 14 as we begin revealing the components of our Top 25. And on Thursday December 20, we will tell you the name of our 2018 Cigar of the Year.